Fast Food Fairy Tale, Part Fifteen


Disclaimer: As the title implies, fast food will be involved (health food nuts, you have been warned!). Many restaurant franchises are personified as characters in this story; some are good guys and some are bad. If you happened to be employed by any of these chains, please know that your character’s role is not a reflection upon the quality of your employer. In short, this is just a silly little story that I have been writing for the amusement of friends-try not to take it too seriously…and please don’t sue me…

~Chapter 22: Change of Plans~

It was approaching dusk when the two armies pulled back for the evening. Despite the early chicken attack, Jersey Mike’s men had held firm all day. Prince Carl’s army had also stood their ground, which surprised Little Caesar. He had expected to wipe them out with ease. He hadn’t even bothered to order up the pirate flank attack. Fortunately for the pizza dictator, the Burger King’s army had yet to arrive. He hadn’t heard any news since the initial attack by the Vegetarians. With luck, the two groups will have destroyed each other. Little Caesar had no love of the Vegetarians and he was sure that the feeling was mutual.

However, not all of the news was good. After the sixth pirate messenger had come to the command tent bearing bad reports about Long John Silver’s ever diminishing fleet, Little Caesar was in a foul mood. Long John Silver, equally piqued, had departed two hours earlier, determined to personally lead an attack against Asiago. Jersey Mike had arrived at the tent a short time later, and was now silently eating a Sub in a Tub, a meal of his own creation.

“You’re unusually quiet,” Little Caesar noted.

“Just thinkin’,” muttered Mike in between forkfuls of food.

“There’s a first.”

“Very amusin’…”

“And, pray tell, what exactly are you thinking about?”

“‘Bout how to beat them bums tomorrow. They’re tougher than they look.”

“Yes, well, perhaps we underestimated them a little,” Caesar conceded. “However, we’ve got our pirates in reserve. First thing tomorrow, we’ll send in…

“What pirates?” Mike grunted.

“What do you mean ‘What pirates?’ The pirates sitting at your flanks.”

“They’re gone.”

Little Caesar stared at him.

“What do you mean gone?”

Jersey Mike slammed down his fork.

“What, am I stuttering here? They’re gone, vanished, bye-bye. Silver took them all.”

“What…he…” Caesar sputtered, “…that IDIOT!”

“Tell me about it,” mumbled Mike.

“HE was only supposed to go, not his entire army!”

“He said he wanted to have as many of his ships in action as possible.”

“And what does he expect us to do with half our force gone?”

“He said he would try be back before morning.”

“Oh well, if he’s going to try…” snapped Little Caesar.

“Look, I ain’t happy about this either.”

The two fell into silent brooding. Caesar paced back and forth while Mike sat picking at his food.

“So,” Jersey Mike spoke after a while. “What’s the plan?”

“We stay the course for now. If Silver returns in time, we’ll have the force needed to make a breakthrough.”

“What if he ain’t here on time?”

“How long do you think you can hold?”

Jersey Mike thought for a moment.

“We can hold for a while. Not all day though.”

“You won’t have to,” Little Caesar replied, “Silver should be back well before then.”

“And what if he don’t come back?”

Caesar stopped pacing and moved to the purple curtain. He yanked it back to reveal his cowering prisoners.

“Then at some point, you will bring our friends out onto the battlefield and demand that Prince Carl pull his troops back. And if he refuses…” He looked down and smiled wickedly at his captives, “…kill them.”

~

From his perch in a tree, the Hamburglar waited for darkness to descend upon Little Caesar’s camp and the clearing that surrounded it. The thief had been a bit surprised to find the command tent pitched outside of the protection of the encamped soldiers. There wasn’t so much as a guard in sight. Either Little Caesar was very foolish, or extremely confident in his security.

For the past several hours, the Hamburglar had watched a steady stream of frantic pirates entering and exiting the command tent. Close to dusk, Long John Silver had stumped out, looking none too happy. Then as night began to settle and a light blazed from within the tent, the large silhouette of Jersey Mike stepped to the entrance, stretched, and turned around to say something to Little Caesar before sauntering off towards the camp. Now it was just a matter of time before the commander-in-chief would turn in himself. Once all was quiet, the Hamburglar would…

“When are you going in?” Piped a voice from above.

Startled, the Hamburglar nearly fell out of the tree, but caught himself in time.

“Robble!” He swore, righting himself and readjusting his black wide-brimmed hat which had slid over his eyes.

“Boy, you were hard to follow,” said the voice. “I almost lost you a couple of times.”

Climbing down from her hiding spot, Wendy joined the Hamburglar on his branch.

“Robble robble?!” Hissed the thoroughly annoyed thief.

“Don’t be angry,” said Wendy sweetly. “You might need my help.”

“Robble!” He shook his head vehemently and jabbed a finger in the direction of Prince Carl’s camp.

“I can’t go back. I have to help my friends.”

At that moment, the light went out in the command tent.

“Time to go,” said Wendy hopefully. The Hamburglar crossed his arms and shook his head.

“Oh, come on,” pleaded the red head. The Hamburglar shook his head, pointed to Wendy, then pointed down to their branch.

“Oh…all right!” Wendy spat out. “I’ll stay here.”

“Robble?” Asked the thief.

“Yes, I promise.”

With a final nod, the Hamburglar climbed out of the tree. Silently and expertly, he slid from shadow to shadow, making his way toward the tent.
From her place in the tree, Wendy tried to follow the Hamburglar’s progress, but found it difficult. For long moments, he would vanish without a trace, and only the slightest of movements would indicate where he was. Wendy was impressed by the Hamburglar’s skills. She wondered what he was planning to do once he reached the tent.

~

Careful not to make a sound, the Hamburgler slowly approached the tent. He put his ear against the tent wall, but he heard nothing. Little Caesar must be asleep by now. Getting down on his hands and knees, the thief slowly crawled to the tent entrance. He gradually lifted a corner of one of the flaps and peered in. All was dark and still. Glancing back around the camp, he saw no one around. Yes, Little Caesar seemed very confident in his security. The Hamburglar lifted the tent flap a little higher, took a nervous breath, then crawled inside.

~

Wendy noticed the slight movement of the tent flap and knew that the Hamburglar had gone inside. What was he looking for exactly? Papers? A map? Perhaps he was planning to kidnap Little Caesar. She wished she knew more about his plan, but Wendy found it difficult to discuss anything with a man who only said one word. She sighed and prepared for a long wait. Suddenly, a light flashed on in the command tent. Wendy wasn’t sure, but she could have sworn she heard the startled cry of “Robble!” coming from within. Whatever Hamburglar’s plans were, they were now out the window. Knowing that she could no longer remain where she was, Wendy slid down the tree and began a roundabout approach to the tent.

~

Little Caesar was calmly sitting at his table, a lantern shining brightly beside him. In shock, the Hamburglar had frozen in place, still on his hands and knees in the middle of the tent. The pizza dictator smiled coldly.

“Ah, I knew it was only a matter of time before I received a visitor. However, I didn’t expect it would be you, Hamburglar. Are you now in the employ of Prince Carl?” The Hamburglar grimly rose to his feet but said nothing. Little Caesar continued.

“I have heard great things about your talents at thievery and reconnaissance. I must confess, however, that I’m a little disappointed that you were so easily caught tonight. Not your best effort, I’m afraid.”

Just then, Jersey Mike appeared at the tent entrance.

“So, someone did come, huh?” Mike asked with a grin. “Just like ya said, L.C.”

“Were you expecting,” asked Little Caesar, directing his question to the Hamburglar, “that I would leave my tent, and my bargaining chips, unattended?”

“Robble?” Asked the captured thief. Bargaining chips? Did that mean Little Caesar had the prisoners here? He glanced around and his eyes fell upon the large purple curtain. His captor nodded.

“Well spotted, my lucid friend. Yes, they are behind the curtain, and I can assure you that they are quite safe…for the time being. Of course, you will be joining them shortly.” Little Caesar turned to Jersey Mike and pointed to a corner of the tent that was filled with odds and ends. “If you can find us some rope, Mike, I believe there is some over there.”

“Ya know,” said Jersey Mike as he started to rummage around the various piles, “I kinda thought that Wendy kid would show up.”

“As did I. I was rather hoping that I’d get a chance to meet her.” He looked at the Hamburglar. “From what Jersey Mike has told me, Wendy is quite a…spirited little girl. Would you agree?”

“Robble,” replied the Hamburglar, rolling his eyes.

“She tried to pick a fight with Smashburger, if that tells ya anything,” Mike piped up, pulling a coil of rope free.

“Indeed. And how is Smashburger doing?”

“His hives are ‘bout gone and he’s breathin’ pretty good now. Man, I didn’t know an egg allergy could mess a person up like that.”

“It’s a rather unfortunate malady considering the circumstances. It can’t be helped though.” Little Caesar stood, stretched, and motioned to Jersey Mike. “Will you do the honors?”

With a wicked grin, Mike turned to the Hamburglar.

“Wanna see your new home?” He jeered as he walked up to the purple curtain and yanked it back to reveal…nothing. Nothing but a scattering of unused ropes and discarded gags. Jersey Mike gaped.

“What…?!”

Little Caesar, who had his back turned to the curtain, spun around.

“How…?!” He rushed to the tent wall and knelt. It was clear from the marks on the ground that the prisoners had slipped out from under the tent. He picked up a rope and examined it.

“These have been cut…” He turned to confront the Hamburglar, but he too had vanished in the midst of the confusion.

“Mike!” He roared. Jersey Mike looked up.

“What?”

“You let the Hamburglar escape!”

“Me?! I thought you was watchin’ him!”

Little Caesar flung down the rope in disgust.

“Get some men and go after him! The other prisoners will probably be with him too.”

Without another word, Jersey Mike left the tent. In a rage, Little Caesar turned and gave a vicious kick to his chair, belatedly remembering that he was wearing sandals. With a string of Latinized swear words, he hobbled around the tent until the throbbing began to ease. What a fool he had been! The Hamburglar had let himself be caught. It was now apparent that he had merely been the bait while the real escape plan was taking place. But who was his accomplice? Little Caesar took his lantern and limped out of the tent and around to the back. He scanned the ground along the tent wall, finally stopping at a patch of dirt where he noticed some markings. He bent down for a closer look. Within the glow of the lantern light, he noticed that a word was scratched into the dirt. The word was “Wendy.” Despite himself, the Little Caesar grinned.

“Well played, Wendy,” he murmured, “well played.”

Fast Food Fairy Tale, Part Fourteen


Disclaimer: As the title implies, fast food will be involved (health food nuts, you have been warned!). Many restaurant franchises are personified as characters in this story; some are good guys and some are bad. If you happened to be employed by any of these chains, please know that your character’s role is not a reflection upon the quality of your employer. In short, this is just a silly little story that I have been writing for the amusement of friends-try not to take it too seriously…and please don’t sue me…

~Chapter 21: The Tide Turns~

“That makes five then,” said Captain Asiago as yet another captured pirate ship, commanded by a select group of his crew, was piloted away in the direction of Port Pleez-Comagin. He had given each of the five skeleton crews the same command: return to the Port, pick up as many volunteers as possible, and return to the Crab Shack’s side in preparation for further battles. Already the first of the captured ships had returned, bristling with eager sailors, displaced restaurateurs, and citizens thirsting for revenge against Long John Silver.

“How many more before Silver gets the message and comes out himself?” Asked Semolina, now off crow’s nest duty. “We sent off that lifeboat full of pirates hours ago.”

“I’m sure they have reached him by now,” replied the Asiago. “The question is, can he break away from whatever he is currently doing?”

“Which is what?”

“I’m not quite sure.” The Captain had heard rumors of an approaching land battle from his new recruits, but nothing further. “I’m sure Silver is confident that he has the waterways pretty well buttoned up.”

“He clearly didn’t anticipate an air attack,” Semolina grinned. Popeye’s chickens had managed to wreak havoc on every ship without showing any signs of fatigue. With the exception of a few lucky hits from the pirates, nearly every bird was still in peak condition and ready for more action.

“Ship sighted!” Came the cry from above. Asiago and Semolina stared out to sea, watching the little black speck on the horizon.

“Shall I do the honors, Captain?” Inquired Semolina.

“Proceed,” replied Asiago.

Semolina walked to the hatch, opened it and called down:

“Popeye! Number six is on the way!” He couldn’t be sure exactly, but Semolina could have sworn he heard the chickens below deck growling with pleasure.

~

“So let me get this straight,” Long John Silver said menacingly. “Ye lost yer ship. A ship armed and fully-manned. A ship under yer command…to a flock of chickens?!”

Jersey Mike let out a laugh.

“I guess I ain’t the only one with chicken problems, huh?”

“Sir,” the former captain pleaded, “these warn’t yer ordinary type o’ poultry! These were huge, vicious killers!”

Little Caesar let out a sigh.

“Gentlemen,” he said, “granted these attacks have been rather…unforeseen. However, when we pause to look at the big picture, we ought to realize that THESE ARE JUST CHICKENS!” Everyone around Little Caesar jumped at his outburst. “Chickens!” He began to pace back and forth angrily, waving his hands as he spoke. “How are we supposed to conquer Dryvthru with men who are afraid of a bunch of stupid birds!”

“But Little Caesar, sir,” said the now-cowering pirate. “The beaks on them…”

“Get out!” Roared the Roman pizza-maker and the pirate gratefully exited the command tent. Caesar rounded on Silver.

“Well, what do you have to say about this?”

“That man be a fool. Unfortunately, I ain’t got enough qualified men to command all me captured ships. Whoever attacked them got lucky.”

“So just who was it that attacked them?”

“The ship be the Crab Shack. Joe and his mates had command of that one.”

“But no longer?”

Silver looked slightly uncomfortable.

“Arrr…it seems not.”

“It seems not…” Little Caesar repeated. “Tell me, is Joe another one of your…under-qualified pirate captains?”

“Aye, it would appears…”

“And so I return to my original question: who…attacked…your…ship?”

“According to my man, the Crab Shack was being captained by a man named Asiago.”

“Do you know this Asiago?”

Silver thought for a moment, then slowly shook his head.

“The name be familiar, but I can’t place it.”

“So what are you going to do about it, now that you have apparently lost two ships?”

“I’ll summon my fleet together and snuff Asiago out. Maybe he can fight ships one-on-one, but not if a dozen are after him at once, chickens or no chickens.”

Little Caesar nodded approvingly.

“That’s more like it.”

~

“Let me go find them!”

“No.”

“Please…”

“Absolutely not.”

Jersey Mike’s men had withdrawn 15 minutes earlier to regroup. In the meantime, another battle was raging. Wendy was determined to find her friends. Prince Carl, however, was more realistic.

“Do you honestly expect me to let you go wondering off in the middle of a war?”

“I can take care of myself!”

“You don’t even know where they are. They could be halfway across the kingdom for all we know.”

“I’ll find them!”

Prince Carl heaved an exasperated sigh. He had forgotten how stubborn Wendy could be.

“Look,” he said, throwing his hands up, “we’ll compromise. I won’t let you go…” This time, it was Wendy’s turn to sigh, “…However,” he pressed on, “we’ll send someone out to search for them. Once we have an idea of where they are, then we’ll plan accordingly. Are we agreed?”

Wendy grumbled and kicked at the dirt.

“Are we agreed?” Prince Carl repeated, this time a little more sharply.

“Ugh! Yes!”

“Fine, then. Now that’s settled,” the Prince let out a long breath.

“So who’s going to go out to search?” Wendy asked glumly.

“No one comes to mind as yet. We’ll need someone who is good at sneaking about unnoticed.”

Wendy brightened.

“I think I know of just the right person!”

~

He couldn’t believe his luck. One moment, he was sweltering in a stuffy prison cell; the next, he was being ushered into the presence of Prince Carl. On top of that was the incredible offer being made to him. In exchange for tracking down several missing people, his criminal record would be expunged, AND he would be given his own restaurant.

“So,” said the Prince after explaining the proposition, “do we have a deal?”

“Robble, robble!” The Hamburglar agreed enthusiastically.

~

The sun was just beginning to set. The sea water glowed fiery orange as far as the eye could see. A perfect ending to a perfect day, thought Captain Asiago as he watched the progress of the sun. Nine captured pirate ships, he marveled. It had to be some kind of a record. And now, six of those ships had returned from the Port, manned by tried and true sailors.

“Well, we’ve waited all day for Silver to come out of hiding,” the Captain said, turning to Popeye who was contentedly smoking his pipe beside him. “Now that we have a fleet of our own, perhaps we should go find him.”

Popeye nodded.

“How are your ladies?” Asiago asked, gesturing to the lower deck.

“Theys pretty pooped,” Popeye replied with a grin. “Me thinksk they’re finishsked for today.”

“They did their species proud.”

“That they did, matey.”

“I suppose we can wait until morning to begin the hunt.”

“Ship sighted!” Came Semolina’s call from the crow’s nest.

“Then again…” amended Asiago.

“There’s a second ship! No, three…four! Captain, there’s a whole fleet coming our way!”

“I guessk we don’t gets the night off after all,” murmured Popeye, moving toward the below deck hatch.

“Will your chickens be able to fight?” Asiago called after him.

“I don’t thinksk we have a choice,” he replied, disappearing into the hatchway.

“We can stop looking for Silver, Captain,” Semolina called down as he trained his spyglass on the growing forest of masts approaching. Spearheading the advance was a familiar red ship.

League of Unknown Presidents, Part Five


(There is a knock at the door)

Hayes: Now who is it?

Harrison: Come in.

(The door opens to reveal 23rd President Benjamin Harrison)

Benjamin Harrison: (To William Henry Harrison) Is this a bad time?

W.H. Harrison: (Sighing) Ben, it’s always a bad time here.

Pierce: What is he doing here?

Tyler: (Looking at his notes) Actually, this is next up on our agenda.

Pierce: What is?

W.H. Harrison: (With a hint of pride) The initiation of my grandson into the group.

Pierce: Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! Since when are we accepting family members?

W.H. Harrison: Since Ben is the 23rd President. Besides, we never get to do anything together.

Pierce: Then take him fishing. He’s not joining.

Fillmore: What are you getting so worked up about?

Pierce: It’s nepotism, that’s what it is!

Hayes: I don’t see a problem with letting him in. He’s got a nice beard. Besides, we’re in the market for a new treasurer anyway.

Fillmore: I…hey, wait a minute…

Hayes: (To B. Harrison) Tell me, Mr. President, would you trust President Harding with any sum of money?

B. Harrison: What? That’s crazy!

Hayes: You’re hired!

Fillmore: (Standing) Now just a minute!

W.H. Harrison: (Shouting over Fillmore to Pierce) If this were a government position, I’d agree with you! But this is just a club! I have no special treatment to give him!

Pierce: Well then, maybe I should just invite my grandkids to join too. Oh wait, I don’t have grandkids…

W.H. Harrison: And how is that my fault?

B. Harrison: I think I’ll go check out the Cool Facial Hair Society. (Leaves the room)

Fillmore: (Pointing at Hayes) Look, I’m the League treasurer…

Hayes: (Sarcastically) And you’re doing a splendid job! By the way, how much money don’t we have right now?

Fillmore: It wasn’t my fault!

Hayes: I swear, you’re worse than Congress!

Fillmore: Take that back!

W.H. Harrison: (To Tyler) I have a feeling that this meeting is about to come to an end.

Tyler: Just about…

(Fillmore picks up his chair in preparation to throw it)

Tyler: …Aaaaand now we’re done.

W.H. Harrison: (Slamming down his gavel) Meeting adjourned!

Tyler: Duck!

(Harrison and Tyler drop down as Fillmore’s chair goes flying)

Fast Food Fairy Tale, Part Thirteen


Disclaimer: As the title implies, fast food will be involved (health food nuts, you have been warned!). Many restaurant franchises are personified as characters in this story; some are good guys and some are bad. If you happened to be employed by any of these chains, please know that your character’s role is not a reflection upon the quality of your employer. In short, this is just a silly little story that I have been writing for the amusement of friends-try not to take it too seriously…and please don’t sue me…

~Chapter 20: Ambush~

“Scouts report that my son is holding off the enemy,” said the King to Portillo and In-N-Out as they guided their horses from a clearing into a lightly wooded forest. The army followed behind them in quick-step. “We’ll be on the field of battle within a matter of hours.”

“Little Caesar must know that we are getting close by now,” commented In-N-Out.

“I’m rather surprised he hasn’t tried anything to slow us down.”

“Yes,” the King mused. “I have wondered that myself.”

“He’s not stupid,” continued In-N-Out. “He won’t have left the rear of his army exposed.”

“Perhaps we are walking into a trap.”

“Sire,” piped up Portillo.

“Yes?”

“All this foreshadowin’ is makin’ me nervous.”

The Burger King cracked a smile.

“I suppose we are laying it on rather thick, aren’t we?”

“All the same,” said In-N-Out, “it wouldn’t do to let…”

He was interrupted by an ominous rustling noise coming from the treetops above them.

“I suppose,” said the King dryly, looking upward, “that at this point it would be foolish to assume that that was an innocent rustling of leaves.”

Before anyone could respond, there came several shrieks from above, followed by several objects dropping down. The objects turned out to be a number of wild-eyed people. One landed on top of the King, causing his horse to rear in panic, knocking both men to the ground. A wiry woman with long, tangled hair managed to unseat In-N-Out from his mount. Another man made a grab for Portillo, but received a face full of Sonic instead. By now, many more screaming men and women had joined the fray, attacking the King’s army with unchecked ferocity.

In the midst of the confusion, Portillo ran to In-N-Out’s aid as the spy desperately struggled against the surprisingly strong woman. Portillo grabbed one of her arms and managed to pull it free from In-N-Out’s neck. Sonic, finished with mauling his opponent, joined the battle, sinking his teeth into one of the woman’s ankles. As she howled in pain, In-N-Out wrenched free of her grasp. Stepping back, he reached into his left sleeve and drew out a small spatula from a sheath strapped to his forearm. Expertly, he twirled the spatula in his hand.

“Who are these people?” Portillo shouted as he hurried to join In-N-Out’s side.

“Vegetarians,” In-N-Out replied. They’re vicious and take no prisoners. Here.” He quickly reached into one of his boots and pulled out yet another spatula. He tossed it to Portillo.

“How many of those do you have?” Portillo asked.

“How many do you need?”

The Burger King, brandishing a large silver spatula hurried forward. He looked disheveled, but his face was alight with the thrill of battle.

“Quite a spirited lot, aren’t they?” The King hollered as he pivoted to face a bearded man who was coming at him with a very large and pointy carrot. He deflected the carrot with a dull thud.

“Meat is murder!” Cried the man as he prepared to strike at the King again.

“And you plan to prove your point by killing me?” The King once again blocked the Vegetarian’s thrust.

“The world would be better off without you and your barbaric eating practices!” Their weapons clunked again. Although the King was a skilled fighter, his opponent seemed to be equal to the challenge. They continued to spar for some time.

“We’ve never bothered you,” shouted the King over the growing din of battle. “We leave you in peace. We even offer salads with our meals. Why do you persist in causing problems for us?”

“We will never be happy,” grunted the bearded man, “until the entire world is converted to Vegetarianism!”

“Our brother and sister animals will live in a world without fear of being eaten!” Shrieked the woman who had shaken off Sonic and was once again grappling with In-N-Out.

“And how do you propose,” In-N-Out said while banging the woman’s grasping wrist with his spatula, “to get this information out to animals who eat meat?”
Portillo and Sonic were now facing three Vegetarians, each armed with buckets of tofu cubes. The boy and his dog nimbly dodged their barrage of cursing and bean curds.

“Our wayward carnivore cousins are brainwashed!” Yelled one.

“They are corrupted! But we will show them the error of their ways and they will join us!” Shouted a second.

“Has anyone ever told you that you are all crazy?” Portillo hollered back as he swung his spatula and connected a tofu cube.

“What I really want to know,” the King said, still battling the bearded man, “is how Little Caesar convinced them to join their side.”

The bearded man barked with laughter and stepped back.

“That dim-witted meat-eater? He thinks that he has bought us off with promises of unlimited vegetable supplies and the creation of a line of specialty vegetarian pizzas.” The Vegetarians around the man guffawed. He continued. “We are allied to them only for as long as it takes to destroy you.”

“You seem awfully confident in yourselves,” replied the King.

“We have every reason to be,” laughed the wild-eyed woman. “Once our true allies accomplish their mission…”

“True allies?” Queried In-N-Out.

“They’ve been waiting for an opportunity to avenge themselves upon the Dairy Queen for a long time now…”

“The Hellthnutt tribe,” The King said solemnly.

The Vegetarians around him laughed.

“They should be approaching the White Castle very soon,” said the bearded man with a wicked grin. “Maybe you can defeat us, but then you’ll have to choose between two more enemies attacking at opposite ends of the kingdom. So yes,” he concluded, raising his weapon, “we are awfully confident.” With that, he charged the King.

League of Unknown Presidents, Part Four


Harrison: (Turning to Tyler) What’s next on the agenda?

Tyler: (Looking down at his papers) The League Treasurer President Fillmore’s report on the progress of our fundraising campaign.

Fillmore: (Clearing his throat nervously) Ah, yes, the fundraising. Well…it hasn’t quite been as, um, fruitful as I had hoped…so far.

Harrison: What happened to the President’s Day bake sale two weeks ago? Didn’t we get anything from that?

Fillmore: We did at first…

Harrison: At first?

Fillmore: We were doing pretty well actually. But I had been drinking a lot of coffee that day, and well…I needed to use the little president’s room. So I found another President to cover the table for me.

Harrison: Which President?

Fillmore: (Sighing) Warren G. Harding.

(Everyone around the table collectively groans.)

Harrison: You should have known better! You can’t trust that man around money.

Fillmore: Look, I knew he was a bit shady, but I didn’t think he’d walk off with the entire till!

Hayes: He took all of the money?

Fillmore: All he left was a note saying that he had an emergency poker game to attend.

(Another round of groaning by everyone.)

Harrison: Did you make any more money from the rest of the baked goods?

Fillmore: (Hanging his head) They were all gone too.

Harrison: What?! Why would Harding…?

Fillmore: I don’t think Harding was responsible for that.

Harrison: Then who was?

Fillmore: Well, when I returned to the table…President Taft was standing nearby with a satisfied smile on his face…

Harrison: (Shaking his head and muttering to himself) I don’t believe this…

Fillmore: (Indignant) It’s getting to where you can’t even trust a President!

Harrison: So…does anyone have any new ideas on how to raise money?

Pierce: (with a smirk) Raise taxes?

Fillmore: (with a sneer) Oh, that’s hilarious…

Harrison: Will you two stop?

Fast Food Fairy Tale, Part Twelve


Disclaimer: As the title implies, fast food will be involved (health food nuts, you have been warned!). Many restaurant franchises are personified as characters in this story; some are good guys and some are bad. If you happened to be employed by any of these chains, please know that your character’s role is not a reflection upon the quality of your employer. In short, this is just a silly little story that I have been writing for the amusement of friends-try not to take it too seriously…and please don’t sue me…

~Chapter 19: Winged Warriors~

The approaching pirate ship never stood a chance. The spinach-enhanced chickens, fifty in all, launched themselves from the Crab Shack and circled above the ship, waiting for orders. Years later, Semolina, who had an excellent view of the chickens from the crow’s nest that day, would swear that they were some of the toughest-looking birds he had seen, then or ever. He wasn’t exactly sure, but Semolina thought that he saw some of the chickens actually flexing their muscles. “Now, me beauties!” cried Popeye from the deck below. He pointed to the pirate ship. “Shiver their timbers!” The chickens flew off in a mass of fluttering, clucking fury towards the unwary buccaneers. Their look-out was the first to spot the approaching attack. He lowered his spy glass and called for the captain to join him on the foredeck. Silently, he held out the spy glass to the captain, who took it and scanned the scene before him. “Do ye know what ship that be?” the captain demanded. He had always had trouble with seeing anything out of spy glasses, but he would never admit that to anyone, especially not to his eagle-eyed subordinate. “The name on the side says the Crab Shack.” “I ain’t never heerd of the Crab Shack. Be they one of ours?” “Not sure, Cap’n, but there’s something else.” He pointed to the dark mass moving toward them from the air. The captain directed the glass upward and tried to see what had caught the look-out’s attention. “Just birds,” he said finally, “gulls maybe.” The two continued to watch as the flock moved swiftly over the water toward them. “Cap’n,” the look-out spoke after a moment’s silence. “Should I be hearing clucking noises?” “Clucking?” “The gulls. I think they’re clucking.” “Don’t be daft!” said the captain. “Gulls don’t cluck!” The look-out reached for the spy glass and peered through it again. “Chickens cluck,” he murmured. “Aye, boy,” the captain said in exasperation. “Chickens cluck, cows go moo, pigs say oink…” “No sir. I mean those aren’t gulls coming our way. They’re chickens.” “That be ridiculous! Now why would…?” But there was no question now. The birds were much closer, they were definitely chickens, and they were coming at them at speeds no chicken should obtain. “Cap’n, what are your orders? Should we prepare for defense?” “Defense?” cried the captain. “Against chickens? What do ye suppose we do, arm the men with brooms?” Before the look-out could make a response, the first of the chickens arrived. They made a bee-line for the unfurled sails of the ship. With a fierce sound of ripping and squawking, the chickens managed to punch several holes in the canvas. The rest of the chickens followed suit, bombarding and virtually shredding the sails. “What manner of devil birds are these?!” the stunned captain managed to shout out, before the chickens swooped around for another attack. By now, the entire crew had clambered on deck to watch the melee. They soon began to run for cover when the chickens began a steady bombardment of eggs and poop all across the ship. The captain himself was pelted with a number of eggs, some of which he could have sworn were hard-boiled. When the aerial attack ended, the chickens landed on the deck and went after the pirates. Soon there were cries coming from around the ship: “Gettitoff! Getitoff me head!” “I’m surrounded!” “Arrr, she givin’ me the stink eye, she is!” “Blimey! This one’s got a knife!” While chaos ensued for the pirates, the Crab Shack had unobtrusively slipped alongside their ship and tossed over several grappling lines, securing the two vessels together. The captain, meanwhile, desperately fighting off three chickens at once with a belaying pin, was the first to spot his vanquishers. “Call ‘em off!” he yelled toward Asiago who was watching the carnage with horrified fascination. “Call off yer demon birds! We surrender!”

~

The Chick-Fil-A squadron was a thing of beauty. Professionally trained, the 200 battle chickens rose majestically into the air at Colonel Sander’s command, and flew in formation toward Jersey Mike’s men. Prince Carl’s army cheered as the birds passed silently overhead. The ranks of suited men intently watched the progress of the chickens until the bombardment began. For the first wave of the attack, each chicken carried a large rock in their spinach-strengthened claws. One chicken, who was presumably the squad leader, let out a loud “Buck-CAWW!” At that, the Chick-Fil-A dropped their payload upon the heads of the enemy. Although the attack was not a devastating one for the Jersey Mike army, many of the rocks did find their mark, leaving a number of men dazed or unconscious. While the remaining men shouted in anger and made rude gestures at them, the chickens circled around and came at them again. This time, their payload consisted of eggs and chicken droppings. “Arrggh! It’s in my eye!” cried one man, ripping off his poop-smeared sunglasses and wiping at his face. “Arrggh! I’m allergic to eggs!” cried another. “Arrggh! I just had this suit cleaned!” From his scabbard, Prince Carl drew out a large silver spatula and raised it high above his head. “For Hardeeshire!” he cried, “for Dryvethru!”He spurred his horse and galloped toward the disorganized ranks of the Jersey Mike army. With a roar, his army followed him into battle.

~

Reports of the ongoing battle filtered into Little Caesar’s headquarters all throughout the morning. Along with Jersey Mike and Long John Silver, he waited inside his lavishly furnished tent, alternately pleased and chagrined depending on the news. The opening gambit of battle chickens upon Jersey Mike’s men did not please him. “Honestly, Mike,” Little Caesar said, turning a grim face to his cohort, “I would have expected better of your men. They’re just chickens.” Jersey Mike, seated in a plush arm chair, just shrugged. “Hey, ya know, things happen. Whaddaya gunna do?” “Well,” Caesar said dryly while trying to hide his irritation, “you’re taking this all rather calmly considering what’s at stake for you.” “Don’t worry ‘bout it,” Mike said, waving a dismissive hand. “I got this.” “I would certainly hope so.” Little Caesar then turned to Long John Silver who was also seated, his feet propped up on a table. “And what about your men?” Caesar asked him. “Are they in position?” “Aye,” Silver growled. “I got men hiding in the woods on either side of Prince Carl’s flanks.” “Good…good,” Little Caesar nodded. “And with the waterways behind them bottled up with your ships, it’s, ah…” he turned to Jersey Mike, “…how would you put it, Mike?” “Badda-Boom!” “Yes,” smiled Little Caesar. “Badda-Boom. What a colorful little phrase.” As the three villains laughed, a scrawny pirate entered the tent, sketched a salute to Silver, handed him a note, and exited. Silver gave a low whistle as he read. “Scouts say that the Burger King and his army be ten miles north of here.” He looked up with some concern. “They be movin’ faster than we expected. We should be sendin’ my men in to finish off Prince Carl before the King gets here.” “All in good time,” said the diminutive Roman calmly. “I have a bit of a surprise for the Burger King that will keep him out of our hair for some time. But if, for some reason, the plan falls through, well then…” he walked to the back of the spacious tent and stood before a large purple curtain. He drew it back to reveal Baskin, Robin, Papa John, and Arby, bound and gagged on the floor. “You think the King’s gunna stop the war to save ‘em?” inquired Jersey Mike. “For them, no,” replied Little Caesar, smiling wickedly at his captors. “For that little red-head I’ve been hearing so much about, however…” At this, the prisoners went into a frenzy of squirming and muffled shouts. Caesar sneered at them and drew the curtain back over them. “If what I hear about her is true, it won’t be long before she impulsively attempts a rescue of her friends. The King will reconsider his position once he discovers that we have the girl.” “Ahhh…I like it,” grinned Jersey Mike, “that’s pretty sneaky stuff.” “Well…” said Little Caesar with all the false modesty he could muster, “…it’s what I do.” At this point, a large suited man, spattered with raw eggs, entered the tent. “Hey Boss.” “How you doin’?” Jersey Mike replied. “Eh, could be worse. We’re givin’ it to ‘em pretty good, but we’re still havin’ problems with them…chickens.” Little Caesar let out a laugh. “Chickens, really?” Jersey Mike growled as he rose from his seat. “You havin’ problems…with the chickens?” “Um, yeah,” replied the embarrassed messenger. “Tony wants to know if you gots any new orders.” “Yeah, I got a new order. ‘Don’t be stupid,’ that’s my order. Ya got that?” “Sure thing, Boss,” the man ducked his head, turned, and left the tent. A squawk and a soft SPLUT was heard, followed by the angry cursings of the messenger. “‘Don’t…be stupid,’” mused Little Caesar. “Simple and to the point. I like it.” “Hey, ya know,” said Jersey Mike, with lopsided grin, “it’s what I do.”

Fast Food Fairy Tale, Part Eleven


Disclaimer: As the title implies, fast food will be involved (health food nuts, you have been warned!). Many restaurant franchises are personified as characters in this story; some are good guys and some are bad. If you happened to be employed by any of these chains, please know that your character’s role is not a reflection upon the quality of your employer. In short, this is just a silly little story that I have been writing for the amusement of friends-try not to take it too seriously…and please don’t sue me…

~Chapter 17: A Sailor’s Revenge~

At the precise moment that Colonel Sanders was revealing his shocking bit of plot-twisting information, Beauregard Sanders, that is, Popeye, was fuming. It was bad enough that pirates had destroyed his ship and his livelihood. Now they seemed to be overrunning Port Plees-Comagin. Worst of all, Sam and Ella’s was continually packed with the criminals. Popeye had listened to their talk and knew what was happening. Things were looking bad for the entire kingdom.

“Hey Squinty!”

Popeye tried to ignore the taunts of the pirates. He sat back in his chair, head down, large arms folded.

“How’s life, landlubber? Miss your ship?”

He chewed on the stem of his pipe, the agitation rising. He knew what he was capable of, the power he possessed. Still, once that power was unleashed, there would be no turning back. It would be all-out war.

“Hey,” one of the pirates said, turning to another who was seated next to him. “Ya ever hear him laugh?” The other nodded.

“Sounds like a seagull choking on a fish.” Both pirates guffawed and began making gagging noises that approximated Popeye’s own stuttering laugh.

At that, Popeye shot up. His pipe began to spin in his mouth, making an ominous whirring sound. He stretched out an arm toward the bar where Sam was watching with a stony expression.

“That’s all I can stands, I can’t stands no more!”

Without missing a beat, Sam reached below the bar, produced a can of spinach, and hurled it toward the irate sailor. In one fluid motion, Popeye caught the can in his outstretched hand, squeezed it until it popped open, and emptied the contents into his mouth. All the while, the pirates were laughing hysterically at Popeye’s antics. Little did they know what awaited them next.

~

“Well, you made a right mess of my bar,” Sam said sardonically, as he looked over the wreckage of broken furniture, scattered dishware, and a room full of unconscious pirates. Popeye grinned.

“Ya didn’t have ta give me the spinach…”

Sam sighed. “True. So now what’s yer plan?”

“Well,” replied Popeye after a moment’s thought, “I guess I needs me a ship.” Sam swept his hand across the bar.

“I don’t think these gents’ll be needin’ theirs for a while.”

Popeye let out a cackle, and moved toward the door. Though no one knew it, the war had begun.

~

Popeye spent the rest of the afternoon recruiting sailors. He had no shortage of volunteers. Every displaced seaman in the Port seemed keen on vengeance, and none more so than Captain Asiago, formerly of the Panera.

“That be the ship, Cap’n.” Popeye pointed to the harbored vessel that at the moment appeared to be minimally crewed. He and Asiago were hidden behind a stack of crates on the dock, directly opposite their target of surveillance. An hour had passed, and none of the pirates from the Sam and Ella’s had returned.
Asiago read the crudely painted lettering on the side of the ship.

“‘Crab Shack,’ he muttered, “What a ridiculous name.” He turned to Popeye. “Do you know who captains this ship?”

“Joe sometin’. I didn’t gets a last name,” the sailor replied. The only other thing that Popeye actually knew about the pirate captain was that he did a terrible impersonation of his laugh; seagull choking on a fish, indeed. Asiago nodded.

“Ahh…so that’s Joe’s ‘Crab Shack.’ I heard Silver gave him his own ship. He must be really scraping the chum bucket if he’s giving ships away to riff-raff like Joe.”

The two men withdrew from their hiding place and heading back to an abandoned restaurant (soon to reopen as a Little Caesar’s). There, Popeye’s other recruits waited for further instructions.

“I suppose,” said Asiago, “that now would be a good a time as any to take the ship.”

Popeye nodded.

“It’s almosk dark, so no ones can sees us load our secret weapons.”

“You know,” Asiago wondered as they stopped at the door of the restaurant, “it’s been a while since you knocked out those pirates. I’m surprised that they haven’t turned up yet.” Popeye grinned.

“If I knows Sam, they’ll be outta action for as long we needs.”

~

It wasn’t Sam, however, that kept the pirates out of action. Ella had returned home from visiting her sister shortly after the brawl. She was not pleased by the state of the bar.

“Lady, we ain’t maids,” complained one of the groggy pirates as he continued to sweep up the barroom. He flinched as a thoroughly enraged Ella pounded up to him, a broken chair leg waving menacingly in her fist.

“You ain’t pirates neither if one man managed to lay out your entire crew!”

“Now lookie here…” blurted Captain Joe, slamming down a bucket containing non-broken dishes. “I’m…” Ella swung around and pointing her chair leg at Joe’s face.

“You’re…what?” She hissed at him.

“I’m…” he caught the look of fire in the proprietress’ eyes and gulped, “…going to take these dishes into the kitchen.” Meekly, he took up the bucket and turned to go.

“Too right, you are!”

“Gentlemen,” Sam piped up from behind the bar, “Hell hath no fury like a…

“You shut up!” Ella rounded on him. “Keep cleaning, Sam!”

“Yes, dear,” Sam mumbled contritely. Popeye would owe him big for this one.

~Chapter 18: The Battle of Dryvthru Begins~

It was not the most ideal setting for a reunion, in the midst of drilling and weapon-wielding citizen-soldiers, but Wendy didn’t mind. She gave a happy shout when she spotted several familiar faces in the military camp.

“Mr. McDonald!” Wendy cried, running up to the farmer and giving him a large hug.

“Well, hello there, little Miss! I wondered when I’d be seeing you again.” The two were quickly joined by Big Mac and Jimmy John.

“Long time, no see, small fry,” Big Mac winked, ruffling her hair.

“And I’m Jimmy John,” blurted Jimmy John happily. Wendy laughed.

“Am I right in assumin’ that you had somethin’ to do with…all of this?” McDonald said, sweeping an arm over the busy scene around them.

“What? Do you mean the war?” said Wendy with mock innocence. It was McDonald’s turn to laugh.

“Lass, if there was one person capable of turning this entire kingdom on its head, it’s you!”

“So,” Big Mac chimed in. “What have you been up to lately? That is, besides declaring war…”

Wendy then shared with the men the adventures she had since leaving McDonald’s farm, what she and her friends discovered about Little Caesar’s plot, her escape from capture, and the plight of Baskin, Robin, Papa John, Arby, and possibly even Portillo and Sonic.

“Do you think they’re all right?” Wendy asked McDonald, concern etched deeply in her face. “Maybe…maybe I should have tried to rescue them. I don’t know if…what happens if they’re hurt, or…or worse.” Tears started to form at the corner of her eyes. “What if I did the wrong thing?” McDonald looked at the girl and marveled. Was this the same silly little red-head he had met a few days ago? The one who destroyed his kitchen trying to make, what did she call it, a Frosty? Though she was still quick with a smile and a joke, Wendy’s personality had taken on a more somber tone now. She has been through a great deal in just a short time, McDonald thought sadly. He knelt down and took her small hands in his large ones.

“Listen to me darlin,’” he spoke gently as tears began to course down Wendy’s cheeks. “You did exactly the right thing by comin’ here. You alerted the Prince in the nick of time, and now he’s alerted the King. They’ll be ready for the enemy when he comes. You might have saved the kingdom by what you did.”

“But my friends…”

“They’ll be safe,” Big Mac said quietly. “I’m certain of that.”

“They will?” Wendy asked as she wiped at her eyes.

“It’s not in Little Caesar’s best interest to harm them,” he replied. “He’ll need them for bargaining purposes.”

“Bargaining?” inquired Wendy.

“In case the war doesn’t turn out the way he hopes. It’s his Plan B.”

“Can…can we rescue them?”

“Can’t say for sure, love,” said McDonald, getting to his feet and giving Wendy a quick hug. “But believe me, if an opportunity arises, we’ll go after ‘em.”
Jimmy John who had been silently watching the conversation, timidly stepped forward and stretched out a hand to Wendy.

“Don’t worry, little girl,” he said solemnly. “I will help you find your friends.” With that, a smile broke out through Wendy’s tears. She took his hand and shook it.

“I know you will, Jimmy John. Thank you.” Jimmy John ducked his head and gave a small bucked-tooth grin. “Oh! That reminds me,” Wendy said brightly to the farmhand, “I need to introduce you to Colonel Sanders. He has some chickens that you’ll want to meet.”

“Chickens,” whispered Jimmy John in reverent delight.

~

“This is takin’ too long!” complained Portillo. Sonic gave a sympathetic grunt.

“Well, I, for one, am glad that you are not in charge of this operation,” In-and-Out said dryly as he dismounted from his horse. “You’d drive us all into the ground.”

The King’s army had stopped for a rest in a tree-lined meadow. They had been on the march since dawn.

“The war could be over before we even get there,” Portillo huffed, as he dropped to the ground from his gray mare.

“I think you overestimate our opponent,” yawned In-and Out as he stretched out on the ground and placed his hat over his face.

“And I think you underestimate your King,” said another voice. Portillo spun around to see the Burger King strolling toward him, unsmiling but with a twinkle in his eye.

“Your Highness,” Portillo said, sweeping off his hat. “I didn’t mean no disrespect…”

“You must remember, my overeager friend, that this is not my first campaign.” He stepped forward and patted Portillo’s shoulder. “Son, no one is more concerned about the welfare of Wendy than I. I have messengers coming to me regularly with reports on the enemy’s movements. If a battle were imminent, be assured, that I would not have the army flat on its back.”

A low snuffling noise was heard behind Portillo. He turned around to see that, even at the approach of the King, In-and-Out hadn’t stirred from his spot on the ground. He was fast asleep and snoring. The Burger King considered the prone figure.

“Hmm,” he mused. “It’s usually my speeches that put people to sleep. Apparently, my very presence is having the same effect.”

~

The Crab Shack, now piloted by Captain Asiago, sailed along the coastline, looking for the whereabouts of Long John Silver and the Red Lobster. Although there were other pirates about, Silver was the key. Defeat him, and the vermin that polluted the waters would be rudderless.

“Any signs of the rascals?” Popeye asked as he emerged from below deck where he had been keeping watch over the secret weapons.

“There’s been no report from the crow’s nest yet.” answered Asiago. He looked upward and called out: “Semolina! Any sightings?”

“No, sir,” came the reply from above.

“He may be harbored in Hardeeshire by now,” suggested the captain. “Silver is probably concentrating on the land battle. He won’t be expecting anything from the sea.”

“Ship sighted!” called Semolina. “It’s not the Lobster, but it’s definitely a pirate ship.”

“Perhaps,” said Asiago thoughtfully, “we can draw Silver out. Taking out a few of his cohorts will do the trick.”

Just then, a deckhand appeared from the lower deck.

“Popeye, sir,” he saluted. “They’ve all been fed as you instructed, and they’re…anxious.” Popeye rubbed his hands together in glee.

“Well, Cap’n, shouldsk we give our weapons a try?”

Asiago smiled as he looked out to sea. He almost felt sorry for the approaching pirates…then he thought about his sunken boat.

“I think now would be the perfect time.”

Popeye turned to the deckhand, a wicked grin creasing his weather-beaten face.

“Releask the chickens…”

~

Prince Carl’s army heard the enemy before they saw them. It started as a faint rhythmic growl. As it grew louder, the growling noise had morphed into an indistinct chanting. By the time the enemy had been spotted, the chanting was recognized as a single phrase, repeated over and over as they marched:

“Fuggetaboutit!”

“Fuggetaboutit!”

“Fuggetaboutit!”

Forget about what? Wendy wondered. She had been with Prince Carl and Colonel Sanders in the command tent when they heard the approach of Jersey Mike’s forces. The three exited the tent to observe the coming enemy.

The Hardeeshire militia waited nervously in their ranks as row upon row of large men wearing black suits and sunglasses appeared over a rise at the opposite end of a field. Some were carrying baseball bats, while others were rubbing their brass knuckles menacingly. The monochromatic men came to a stop 100 yards from the Hardeeshire line. One of the men stepped from the ranks and walked forward several paces.

“Hey,” he shouted, “who’s in charge over dere?”

Prince Carl, now mounted on a horse, rode to the front of his own line.

“That would be me,” he said coolly. “And whom do I have the pleasure of speaking to?”

“Don’ worry ‘bout it,” sneered the apparently nameless man. “All ya got to know is that I’m in command here.”

“No you ain’t,” shouted a man from the front line of suited men, “Jersey Mike’s da boss!”

The man in front whipped around angrily.

“Well he ain’t here, is he? So I guess dat makes me da boss.”

“Sez who?”

“Sez me,” shouted the man, pointing at his antagonist. “Now shut your face Tony, before I come over dere and shut it for ya!”

“You, and what army?” Tony shot back.

“Gentlemen,” interrupted Prince Carl. “Will this argument go on much longer? I’d like to start the battle while the sun is still up.”

“A’right, a’right,” the man in front said, turning back around to face the Prince. “Why ya in such a big hurry? What? Ya gotta ‘nother battle to go to or somethin’?”

“Of course,” continued Prince Carl, “we could just skip the fighting and negotiate your surrender now.”

The man laughed.

“A real funny guy, huh? Well, let’s put it to a vote…” He turned back to his troops.

“Hey! Dis funny guy sez we should surrender. Waddaya say, boys?

“Fuggetaboutit!” They shouted in unison. “Fuggetaboutit! Fuggetaboutit!”

The man turned to Prince Carl.

“No dice, pal.”

The Prince shrugged.

“Have it your way,” he replied. With that, he returned to the line. “Colonel Sanders,” Prince Carl called out. Colonel Sanders, also on a horse trotted forward, and swept off his hat.

“At your service, sir.”

“Colonel, I could use some Chick-Fil-A right about now.”