Sweet Addiction. By @Ned400 (498 words)

"We're closed." Carl didn't look up as he heard the door bell chime a flurry of knocks at the shop door.
After a moment heavy footsteps signalled the callers departure.
The tall man squinted through his oval framed glasses and carefully carried with his work on the counter top, pausing only to mop his soaking brow.
Roses were the hardest to sculpt, the stems were easy but the petals needed precision cutting to avoid ruining the sugar paste. All this work and it would probably remain half eaten. Still, it was nearly finished.
He jumped down from his stool to admire his work. His mother would say that a toddler wielding a sledgehammer could do better, but in Carl's mind it was perfect. Spraying the cake with edible glitter mixed with a sugar solution gave it a polished glaze.

For years he'd been making cakes imaginative cakes for those with a sweet tooth. Painstakingly spending hours on his trade had not led to his till overflowing with profits.
The business which had been so successful in his father's day had fallen behind in the world of home baking and cookery programmes.
After a horrendous winter, and a harsh review with his accountant, Carl had been suicidal.
Coming back to the bakery drunk, hadn't been the best idea, nor had boiling up jam with an old lead weight at the bottom of the pan.
Carl preferred a cowards way out and it was fitting if he died eating one last poisonous cake.

As always he made a batch of several but before he could eat,  weariness and  bottle of 10 year old Glennmorangie induced premature slumber.
Waking up in the back room in the morning, he had been shocked and surprised that the cakes had been sold to his customers, to rave reviews.
That day Carl read that,Romans used lead as a sweetener, boiling grape juice in lead pans.
So he made a larger batch with more lead. Again they sold out and the till was full.
That had been 2 years ago.
Now people came from far and wide to buy his cakes, strangely addicted. The sweetner Aspartame was much better than lead and his bakery "The Sweet Tooth" became a huge success.

Most of his customers came back unable to resist his cakes moreish flavours.
Adjusting a rose that was threatening to fall off he wiped his hands down his apron front.
This was the seventh celebration cake in a year that the Gregor's had ordered, the quality of Carl's "Divine lemon sponge" drawing them back.

The first cake had been ordered for Mr Gregor's birthday party and it was slighty ironic that Mrs Gregor was now ordering the same cake for her husbands funeral.
It was only when Mr Gregor was diagnosed with terminal cancer did Carl read about the effects of the  Aspartame sweetener, but there was no way he was going to stop using it.

'After all there was a recession on.'

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