“How are we going to handle this, sir?” Semolina asked nervously as he watched the Red Lobster and a dozen other pirate ships draw closer. “Even if the chickens were in fighting shape, there’s no way they could attack that many ships at once.” “I suppose that it’s time for us to do our share of the fighting,” Asiago replied with a calmness that disguised his growing anxiety. It was all well and good to stand aside and let the chickens do all the work, but the time had now come for him and his tiny flotilla to prove their mettle. Asiago had sent messages to the five other ships under his command, instructing them to prepare their crews for possible battle. He wasn’t sure just how many of the men possessed fighting experience. In fact, he wasn’t sure if even he was up to the challenge. He had spent much of his working life transporting food by sea. Now here he was in command of Dryvthru’s provincial navy, a navy that was currently outnumbered 2 to 1. Long John Silver and his ships had now fanned out and were beginning to circle Asiago’s fleet. Time was running out. “We do have three more ships on the way,” Semolina said hopefully. “Yes, but we may not be around by the time they arrive.” Asiago turned to Popeye who had remained silent up to this point. He was leaning against the mast; his large, tattooed arms were crossed as he keenly watched the enemy’s movements. “Any recommendations to offer, Popeye?” Asked the captain. Popeye shifted his gaze toward him. “We gotsta even the oddsk.” Asiago let out an exasperated sigh. “I know that much. What concerns me is how we’re to even the odds.” Popeye thought for a moment. “Me thinks me chickens has got one more fight in ‘em. We can knocks out one ship that way.” “That’s not much,” said Semolina. “It’sk a start.” “In the meantime,” continued Semolina, “what do we do about the rest of Silver’s ships? They’re not going to sit around while we attack them one by one.” “Fair point,” Asiago agreed, and Popeye nodded. “Hail, captain of the Crab Shack!” bellowed a loud voice. The three men turned to see that the Red Lobster had pulled to within shouting distance, the remainder of the pirate ships completing the circle around them. “Captain Asiago!” Asiago stepped to the prow of the ship and cupped his hands to his mouth. “I’m here!” He called back. He could see a pirate with a speaking trumpet standing at the Red Lobster’s prow. “I speak on behalf of Captain Silver,” shouted the pirate. “Bein’ the generous man that he is, the Captain is willin’ to let you all go free, providin’ that you turn your ships over to us.” “What do we do?” whispered Semolina.
“What do we do?” shouted Portillo, desperately fending off yet another attacking Vegetarian. The Burger King and his army had been battling all day with rarely a let-up. By dusk, everyone was exhausted, that is, except for the Vegetarians who continued to fight with a righteous ferocity. “Until In-N-Out returns,” replied the Burger King, slashing away with his spatula, “we continue fighting.” The former spy had vanished about an hour ago for reasons unknown to Portillo. “Why ain’t they gettin’ tired?” The Vegetarians nearby laughed. “Because we are healthier than you!” shouted one. “Because we are stronger than you!” crowed another. “And because you’ve been taking your supplements!” This voice had come from behind. Everyone turned as In-N-Out stepped into view. With a slight grin, he held up an unlabeled brown bottle and shook it. The rattling noise indicating that it was full of pills. “What have you brought us?” inquired the Burger King as the Vegetarians began to shift uneasily. “Nothing horrendous, your Highness, I assure you. It’s just some vitamin B12. I was just taking a stroll through the woods, and, lo and behold, I found a large stash of these bottles near some tied-up horses.” “There’s nothing wrong with taking B12!” bellowed the bearded Vegetarian defensively. I quite agree,” replied In-N-Out. “However, you need B12 for energy. As you don’t consume meat, you need these to sustain you.” He rattled the bottle again. “So,” said the Burger King, turning to the Vegetarian warriors, “it seems that we have a decision to make, don’t we? We can keep fighting until you drop from fatigue, or we can agree to disagree and go our separate ways.” The bearded man ran a hand agitatedly through his disheveled hair. “Don’t do it, man!” a Vegetarian called out. “Take the deal!” shouted another. “Meat is murder!” unhelpfully yelled a third. “Fine,” the bearded man finally said. “We’ll stop the fighting…”then added menacingly, “…for now. But we’ll be back!” “I’ll be waiting,” the King said with a smile. “We want our B12 back though,” the bearded man continued. “Of course,” replied the King, motioning to In-N-Out who stepped forward and handed the bottle to the man. “And the rest of it?” asked the man. “Ah, yes…” said In-N-Out slowly, “we’ve got a bit of a problem there.” “What problem?” “You see, there was this pond nearby, and as I was carrying your pill bottles, I tripped and over they went into the water. It was rather unfortunate that all of the bottles were open at the time…” At that, the Burger King’s army roared with laughter. The bearded man jabbed an angry finger in their direction. “This isn’t over!” With that, he and the Vegetarians melted into the evening shadows. The Burger King turned to In-N-Out. “Tripped, you say?” he inquired with a grin. “Actually,” In-N-Out replied with a comical shrug, “I tripped at least three or four times. There were a lot of bottles.”
There was a great celebration in Prince Carl’s camp that evening after Little Caesar’s former prisoners were proudly escorted in by the Hamburglar. However, not everyone was in a festive mood. Wendy sullenly sat in her tent, confined there by the angry Prince. Although her efforts in the rescue were appreciated, the fact that she had disobeyed a direct order could not be ignored or tolerated.
“I thought we had an agreement,” Prince Carl said through gritted teeth as he stood with his arms crossed at the entrance to the tent. Wendy, sitting on a cot, stared at the ground and nodded, unable to look at the Prince.
“Look me in the eye, Wendy,” he commanded. Slowly, she drew her gaze up to his face. It wasn’t so much the anger there that troubled her; it was the disappointment. Her eyes began to well up with tears. “I thought,” continued the Prince, “that with everything that has happened to you in the past several days, you might have finally outgrown some of your foolish behavior. Clearly, I was wrong.” With tears starting to fall, Wendy shook her head, unable to speak. “I forbade you from leaving this camp. I sent someone out of your own choosing. Yet, you thoughtlessly put your life at risk, not to mention the lives of others, to play the hero.” “But,” blurted Wendy, “the Hamburglar was in trouble, and…” “Be that as it may, it does not excuse you from your willful disobedience. It would have been unfortunate had the Hamburglar been captured, but according to him, it was you they wanted. The whole thing was a trap! They expected you to waltz into their camp to stage a rescue and, by heaven, you proved them right! It was by sheer good fortune that you weren’t taken.” “Yes sir,” Wendy murmured meekly. “Until further notice, you will remain in your tent,” Prince Carl then paused, and seemed to struggle with what he was about to say next. “As I’m no longer sure… of your ability to keep your word, I will have a guard posted at the entrance.” With that, he turned to go. “I’m sorry,” whispered Wendy. “I really am.” The Prince turned back, his face losing its sternness. “As am I, Wendy.” He stepped out of the tent, only to return a moment later. “Just so you don’t think me completely heartless, I do allow visitors.” He gave a small smile as he left the tent and Baskin and Robin entered, Baskin carrying a large bowl of ice cream. “Chocolate ice cream?” Wendy asked, wiping away her tears and looking into the bowl. “Of course not,” said Baskin with a smile as she sat beside the red-head. Robin also smiled, producing a spoon and handing it to Wendy. “It’s a Frosty,” she said.