Archive for the ‘Cuisine by Brian Schropp’ Category


August 8, 2017 Leave a comment

By Brian Schropp

“Joe-Joe, come in good buddy, this is ‘Steak and Cheeser One’ giving a shout out.”

Trucker Joe had been out in the Eastern Lankville Plains Region for weeks now, working on some sort of super secret trucking mission. Since my last article (sorry dear readers, the editors of ‘The News’ wanted me to take a small ‘mental health break’) I have done some extensive research on the so-called ‘Vegan Brothers’ and their push to corrupt the Deep Northern Suburban area with this so called ‘vegan food’. Yes, I’m sorry to say these fellas are very real. The brother’s mission you might ask? To replace any sort of real, tasty, delicious, hearty, full of fat, calorie-stuffed cuisine with their soulless, bland, vomit inducing, crud.

I was hoping Joe could be ‘my wheels’ while I checked up on a few leads I had. It seemed that he was still on that mission so I guess he was not an option.


Scott Pizzaman startled me coming out of my basement apartment’s bathroom brushing his teeth with my toothbrush. My former manager at ‘The Pizza-A-Round’, now timeless ‘pizza brother’ has a knack of being able to break into my basement apartment without my parent’s or, for that matter, my own knowledge. I never know when he will suddenly appear.

Scott saw me throw down my walkie talkie. “What’s the matter, bud?”

I explained my further investigation into the vegan situation and how I was looking for a ride. His eyes darkened when I mentioned the brothers. Scott hadn’t forgotten the near death experience we had together having a ‘vegan pizza’. Given the chaotic nature of the man’s soul I was hesitant to get him involved.

“Well Bri, you aren’t the only top notch investigator around. You know, hitting the back alleys, the dark streets, asking around about them guys. Remember that dude I was telling you about, the one who looks like you? That one who sells the shrimp?”

I remembered the blurry camera phone shot all too well. “Scott, he doesn’t look a thing like me!”

“He does!! Has that same purple shirt you always wear and those same fucked up looking glasses! Anyway, I hear he’s somehow associated with those brothers. Selling some sort of ‘vegan shrimp’. We should head over to the Deep Northern Shipyards and have a few words with this dork.”


Scott Pizzaman, my “pizza brother” for life.

My toothbrush dropped out of Scott’s mouth. “Yeah, you know, the Shipyards? The huge dock just a few miles down the road?”


“Bri, you have lived here your entire life, how didn’t you know you were right by this gigantic shipping facility which serves the whole Northern Lankville region?”

“Scott, please don’t get mad but I think I would know if this so called shipyard was even remotely around here.”

So, I would be damned if there wasn’t this mega dockyard right by me all along! It was everything you would expect in an area by the sea- ships from massive luxury liners to small wooden canoes circling each other in a tidal symphony. Seagulls blaring their own sea language. Sailors gutting mounds of fish leaving a certain rank in the air.

We pulled up to a parking area which gave a good overview of the whole yard. He pointed over to one of the piers. “There’s that dork, look!”

Off in the distance was some blundering fool pushing a cart. Even though he was some distance away, if I squinted really hard I guess he did sorta, kinda, in a very loose way, look like me.

Scott didn’t give me a long time to ponder. “You go down and talk to him. Now don’t be all wishy-washy with this joker, get on him like I would and find out about anything ‘vegan’. I’ll secure the rest of the area.”

The parking area was a good distance from this shrimp peddler. Not only was I building up a sweat getting to him but I had countless people/sailors stop and say, “hey, if you’re looking for your brother I think he’s down by the old pier.”

Shrimp salesman Bryant Shrope, who doesn’t really look like me.

I finally made my way down to him and stopped his cart’s motion with my foot. I didn’t say anything at first– just tried to stare into his eyes to get a good measure of this joker. He did have the same type of glasses as me for some reason, lenses which darken with sunlight so it made this task a tad difficult. He generally gave off a slow, not really with it, kind of vibe. In the whole time during this silent ‘showdown’ he just looked at me blankly without saying a word. I guess it would be me who would start.

“Just what do you think you’re doing?!!”

“Uh, selling shrimp.”

“Oh really,” I replied, keeping my foot on the cart. Looking at the side of this slightly rusted contraption, it bore the logo ‘Quick ‘N’ Tasty Seafood Stall’.

“Quick and tasty, huh? What’s your name?”

“Bryant Shrope.”


“So I hear from certain sources that you’re selling vegan shrimp.”


“You heard me, vegan shrimp, is it true?”

“I’m selling Popcorn shrimp.”

“Vegan Popcorn shrimp?”

This idiot had the nerve to laugh at me! “Shrimp can’t be vegan.”

“What?!! Is there something mentally wrong with you?!”

“It just can’t, I mean, it’s shrimp, you know?”

I knocked some cocktail sauce bottles off his cart. “Listen Mr. Smartmouth, I’m not going to stand here and play games. You are going to tell me who gave you this shrimp.”


“Excuse me? Do you know who I am?”

Delicious popcorn shrimp (file photo).


“Brian Schropp with The Lankville Daily News.”

“Oh, that paper interviewed me once.”

“Does it look like I care?!! I’m an investigating reporter who specializes in real cuisine.”

“Craig might have heard of you.”

“Who’s that?”

“My friend who gives me the shrimp.”

“Is his last name Vegan?”

The clueless joker laughed at me again.

“What’s so funny about that?!”

“Sounds like a stupid last name.”

I was about to try and get full ‘Scott mode’ on this poor soul but fate had other plans.

“Bri-Bri, where are you?!!”

It was Scott somewhere further in the yards. I couldn’t help but notice a slight nervousness in his voice.

I pointed at this ‘Bryant Shrope’. “Don’t go too far, I’m not done with you yet!”

“Hey, do you like video games? Do you want to be my friend?”

I had no time for this foolishness. I turned to find Scott, thought for a second, then turned back around.

“So, popcorn shrimp really isn’t vegan?”


I took one of his red and white striped cardboard containers and scooped out a generous helping. “This is on the house if you know what I mean. Remember, I got my eye on you!”


The dastardly Vegan Brothers.

Off I went popping popcorn shrimp in my mouth to pick up some strength. Now, I have to give credit where credit is due, this ‘Craig’s’ deep frying skills with shrimp was on point.

Scott kept calling for me but it was hard to find him in the hustle and bustle of this crowded area of the shipyard. I was able to pinpoint his location by a crowd which gathered around looking up at something. Following their fingertips I gazed on a sight which I thought I would never see.

Scott Pizzaman was duct-taped high on a pole, his arms and legs tangling wildly. “Bri, for Christ’s sake put down that Popcorn shrimp and get me down from here before they get away!!”

I heard laughter coming from the water and turned to see a group of twenty something douchebags speeding away on a small motorboat. They were all smiles, high fiving each other. I knew in my gut who these ‘brothers’ were.

It was a long process getting Scott down. Someone was nice enough to let me use a bunch of cardboard boxes and a really rusted knife. I built a wobbling tower and slowly cut through the tape. It didn’t help that Scott kept flinging around like a rabid mongoose caught in a trap.

Once down, the small motorboat was just a tiny flicker in the sea. This didn’t stop Scott from throwing random dock related objects in the water in some vain attempt to hit them. They also left their ‘calling card’ right by where their boat was docked. It was a tray of vegan cupcakes with a note which read, “With Love, The Vegan Brothers.” Scott kicked the tray full force into the water bouncing off the hull of a passing ‘Lankville O’s’ freight ship.

He turned to me and I saw it all in his eyes, in this war that was brewing between what was right with food and what was vegan, we had lost another battle.


July 5, 2017 Leave a comment

By Brian Schropp

“Gotta get there before ten, Brian, if we wait any longer we won’t have a good spot.”

The heat was already unbearable at this EARLY time (9:15) in the morning making it even harder to keep up with hobbled ‘Dr.’ Nickelbee. The poor man was limping harder and looking even more disheveled than last time. His ‘wild man beard’ gave the impression of him being twenty pounds heavier which may or may not have been the case.

My parents still drop me off in front of his current residence (a seedy motel in a very bad section of the downtown area) for my therapy sessions even though I’m pretty sure he isn’t a practicing therapist anymore. I even asked him a few weeks ago after spending half a day with the man in his filthy motel room with neither of us uttering a single word. “Say Nickelbee, are you still my doctor?” He didn’t say anything back but for the first time that day he turned to look at me and that alone said it all. His eyes were absolutely cold and uncaring yet screaming out all the pain and hurt of the universe of his soul. The slight twitch of his lip which wanted to develop further into the full motion of the mouth so he could express the emotions tormenting him. In fact, the next few times, we sat in total silence for my whole ‘session’ which made for an uncomfortable surprise today with his constant non-stop babbling since arriving.

“Come on Brian, gotta get there, gotta hurry, gotta get a good spot–”

Nickelbee at one point was selling cat related crafts online (I never saw a single order come through). This has taken a harsher, darker turn with him now selling cat (and racoon) carcasses at the local open flea market down the street. I figure he now spends his time wandering around looking for these dead, most of the time run over bodies instead on making crafts.

The burlap sack which was being used to drag the goods to the market was leaving a red streak across the parking lot. If the smell wasn’t bad enough the random bloody cat paw or twisted racoon head sticking out of the sack made matters almost vomit-inducing. There was almost a light at the end of the tunnel with the faint speck of the flea market on the horizon but the the unforgiving sun, blazing brightly in the blue sky, was proving too much. The pavement in front of us turned into rolling waves which made the way impossible to navigate.

Dr. Nickelbee in happier times.

‘Dr.’ Nickelbee wiped his forehead with his wrinkled, grimy jacket sleeve and muttered, “here’s a good spot, Brian, I found us a really good spot–” Being nowhere near the actual flea market, he unfurled his flea-infested blanket and sat down next to the burlap sack. “GET YOUR CAT AND RACOON PELTS.” His voice was so loud and unnerving that the few folks who happened to be in the far corners of this empty parking lot were taken aback, tripping over themselves or dropping what they were carrying. He patted the burlap death bag like it was his best friend. “COME GET YOUR FUZZY WUZZY CAT AND RACOON PELTS.”

I was at a crossroads on what to do. I really didn’t want to leave my former therapist here by himself though the thought of staying here with the smell and the heat was unthinkable. I figured my best bet was to head up to the flea market and try to locate some kind of delicious, delightful snack. I felt like I certainly deserved it after putting up with all this crap. I promised myself if I had any money left over I would buy Nickelbee some type of drink to keep him hydrated. If worse came to worse I could probably find a first aid stand and bring him back one of those paper cones with water.

He took no notice of me as I ventured forth through the blacktop waves towards salvation. My imagination began to run wild on the snack possibilities I might find. Maybe a fried little weiner sandwich since we were just outside of the Deep Northern Suburban line? Or maybe a seven or an eight or if the Gods were kind, a nine layered burrito. My mind continued to spin out of control thinking what could be in each of those layers.

I knew these sweet thoughts and dreams weren’t going to live up to expectations when I neared the place. The brightly colored tents, the endless noise of some loud jam band, the wretched smell of sweat and incense (which was almost on par with Nickelbee’s sack). I wandered upon some sort of hippie community instead of the flea market. Did the relentless heat make me walk up the wrong side of the parking lot? I was already running on fumes and couldn’t fathom turning back now. I was just going to take my chances here.

I soon became lost in the mist of hippiedom. The swirl of colors, the men and women scantly clothed yet equally as hairy, those faces giving me nasty looks with some muttering, “who brought the narc?” Weren’t these people suppose to be the loving, non-judgmental type?

My hunger pangs became too much after a short while. I held out my arms, my face sweating profusely. “Please, please doesn’t anyone know where a nacho cart is? Maybe a hot dog vendor of some type? You can’t tell me that a hippie doesn’t enjoy a mid morning snack?!!”

These heartless so called ‘humanitarians’ could do nothing but laugh at my plight. Finally some dirty hippie with a little sliver of a conscience came over to me. “Hey dude, hold out your hand.”

He took some packaging from his cargo shorts which looked like it came from a supermarket, how bad could it be? Into my innocent, slightly shaking hands was poured what looked like brown seeds. What was this abomination? I looked to the dirty hippie. “Don’t worry man it’s a snack we eat.”

Again I was fooled by the packaging, if it was from a commercial food chain, maybe it was some kind of candy.

Much like the ‘pizza’ I had a few weeks ago I knew instantly once the seeds were in my mouth that I was in for a hell ride. The flavorless bitter taste sucked all moisture in my mouth making it a dry wasteland. The texture of coffee beans rolling over and over again on my sensitive tongue.

I used my hand to get this disgustingness out of my mouth and wiped it on the front of my shirt leaving a foul brown streak. Most of the free-minded onlookers found their inner tolerance meter and decided they had seen enough.

“Dude, what the fuck is wrong with you?” The dirty hippie asked.

“What-what-in President Pondicherry’s name did you give me?” I was on my knees with my arms held wide open, tears streaming out of eyes.

“Just chia seeds, man take it easy.”

What the hell was I given?

“How could you–” my mouth was becoming too dry to speak “-give me something out of a plant to eat? What sort of people are you?—so dry—my mouth–becoming so faint—”

At this point I fell into a fetal position which is not only my standard defense but the position I feel you would fall into so close to death. Eventually a much larger man with his gut sticking out of his dye tie shirt came over with a garden hose and started to hose me down. Maybe, just maybe, I would live to write another article–

The dirty hippie shook his head in free love disgust. “When are people like you going to wake up and realize there is a new dawn rising? Get a clue and listen to a little ‘Unappreciative Living’, the vegan lifestyle is where it at!!”

My mind perked up from the ice cold yet refreshing hosing, ‘vegan’. Did he mean like ‘The Vegan Brothers’ who almost killed Scott Pizzaman and myself with that pizza? Did they have something behind this? Just who were these brothers? I needed to keep my mind (and mouth) open at all times now.



June 9, 2017 Leave a comment

By Brian Schropp

Anybody who lives near the Deep Northern Suburban area knows that ‘little weiners’ are strictly banned here. This goes back to a time well before I was born when the then Mayor choked on a little weiner at some public function and nearly died. The city council was swift to act and issued an order making them ‘illegal contraband’ in the Suburban limits. Now, all weiners, packaged or made at home to be sold, have to be measured to meet local government standards. Me, like many other liberal-minded weiner connoisseurs in the area, see this as a ridiculous outdated order. I understand that a public official almost kicked the bucket but that was a long time ago plus I heard that this particular Mayor wasn’t the brightest to begin with.

My folks for some reason put up with this ridiculousness just because it’s the law. “That’s just the way it is,” my Mom usually barks when I wave a petition in her face to sign. “You can go to other parts of Lankville if you want weiners that small.”

Which is true, it’s just such a pain in the booty to travel when I could just enjoy the little devils in the comfort of my own basement apartment. And let me just tell you, I’m a very very big fan of little weiners. Pile those diminutive delights on a paper plate or put three or four on top of a fork. It’s just plain deliciousness all round. I LOVE LITTLE WEINERS!!!

Sure, there have been trailblazers in the past few years who have tried to push this door open. Ms. Swanson for example, who at the summer bake off laced the bottom of her apple pie with those guys. The ‘LWEA’ (The Little Weiner Enforcement Agency-WHICH OUR TAXPAYER MONEY PAYS FOR) was swift and harsh, barging in and taking Ms. Swanson and her whole family away from the bake off (who knows where they are now, no one has seen them since last year). Luckily I was able to get a piece that an agent accidentally dropped in the ruckus. And let me just tell you that slice was pretty damn good. After wiping off the dirt and ants (and maybe a little blood from one of the Swanson family members), I was treated to the sweet taste of apple mixed with the squish of the little weiner in that baked crust. Such a shame-such a shame.

It was the other day when I answered the phone in my basement apartment. “Hey, are you that kid who writes for the paper? You know the really good one?”

“Uh-yes-I think.”

“Got a tip for your new article, it’s what I think you guys call a hot one.”

“Something is hot? Is it on fire?”

“No Bri, a hot tip, you guys use that lingo.”

“Do I know you? You sound familiar.”

Delicious little weiners (file photo).

“Don’t worry about that shit. Remember that jack off who owns ‘Mr. Pizza Slice’? You know the place that can’t roll out their dough worth a damn? I think they are selling little weiners on the sly. Can you believe that? Where is The LWEA when you need them?”

“Scott, is that you?”

“Hey Bri.” It was indeed my former manager and still top dog at ‘The Pizza-A-Round’, Scott Pizzaman. Not sure if he was trying to be clever using a fake voice (which sounded like a high screeching old lady) or if he was just joking around. Either way I’m just glad he stopped.

“So is true about ‘Mr. Pizza Slice’?”

“Damn straight it is. Selling little weiners left and right with no regard for the law.”

“How do you know?”

There was a slight pause where I could only hear his breathing, I thought maybe I crossed a line and he was going to explode. The Gods were kind. “I just know, it’s common knowledge all around the pizza trade. PLUS the fool has been spreading coupons on my turf. How dare someone who makes a pie so poorly try and take my business.”

I felt myself at an ethical crossroads. My gut (which was rumbling because it was time for my mid-morning snack) told me that Scott was fabricating this story just to get back at ‘Mr. Pizza Slice’. Yet that little voice in the back of my head– yes, the new investigating reporter voice, was saying if there really was some backroom weiner selling going on I could have the story of the year!!

An hour later I was in Scott’s ’87 Neptune across the street from the establishment. Scott was using oversized, almost comical in size, binoculars to stare into the place. He was also leaning halfway out of the window not giving a damn who saw him. “Don’t see anything shady going on at the moment-eh-doesn’t seem all that busy for it being lunchtime. What losers.” He fully got back into the car “Say Bri, why don’t you walk down the block then come back up the other side and go in. See if that fool in there will sell you some little weiners.” I guess my face said it all. “Come on, I’m right across the street, if anything starts going down I got your back.”

It was a real gut check moment for me (and yes, Scott was nice enough to stop and get me a couple fried fish sandwiches plus some strawberry milk for my mid- morning snack). I had to step it up now, I was a reporter for ‘The Lankville Daily News, a real investigative reporter. After a deep fish smelling belch I nodded and was ready to go.

The block was longer than I realized and I almost didn’t make it. Being hassled by the more ‘street wise’ citizens of the area, I had lost all my money, my belt and pants (luckily I had large shorts on), my sports jacket and one of my shoes. I thanked the Gods I left my camera on loan in the car with Scott. When I walked into ‘Mr. Pizza Slice’ I was a right mess physically and mentally.

Mr. Pizza Slice (photo by Scott Pizzaman).

The guy behind the counter looked me up and down quickly. “You gotta get out of here.”

I hung my head low and turned to leave. NO, I told myself, I can do this!

“Uh, can I get a free sample?”

“What are you mumbling about?”

“Your sign out front says a free sample.”

“If it gets you out of here. You wanna try a cheese or a meat bits slice?”

“Oh no my friend.” I leaned on the counter, the confidence surged in me all at once. I tipped down my ultra cool reporter glasses (which you can see in my photo at the beginning of this article) “I’m talking about the other type of ‘free sample’.” I gave him my most wicked schoolboy grin in hopes he knew what I was talking about.

The man paused for a moment and then grabbed one of the biggest pizza peels I have ever seen, wasting no time hitting me over the head with it. I stumbled out the door with the guy close behind. I would have fallen over on the gum encrusted sidewalk but I was able to balance myself on the huge pizza man statue they have out front. For some sorry reason the locals called the statue ‘Mr.Slice’.

“Don’t you ever come back here you freak, you understand?!!”

And to see if I fully understood he took one home run swing at me with the peel. With my reporter instincts back on track I was able to duck making him take off the head of ‘Mr. Slice’ instead. Then, my dear readers, it started to rain– rain little weiners!!. They were in the statue!

I turned to Scott who was already running across the street. “I think I found the–”

That was all I remembered, putting my back to the pizza peel dude he gave a good thump on my head. When I came to, ‘The LWEA’ was swarming all over the place. They were not only in ‘Mr. Pizza Slice’ but the businesses around it taking out people in cuffs. Like I said, these folks do not play around.

I was lying on the hood of Scott’s Neptune– for some reason they neglected to call any medical services. Scott was sitting next to me taking a swig from his flask and watching the chaos go on around him. He saw I was awake. “I did–I mean you did it Bri! Those goofs are going to jail for life!!” With the laugh of a madman he took a longer swig.

I closed my eyes happily, some fine investigative work done.

Editor’s Note- After a thorough investigation by the LWEA, there is no proof that ‘Mr. Pizza Slice’ was selling little weiners. We are also not sure if Brian ever completed the second part of his ‘Vegan Pizza’ article. We have left numerous office voicemails and when we called his residence someone hangs up immediately. Brian, if you are reading this please come by offices tomorrow at 2 PM for a performance discussion.


June 1, 2017 Leave a comment

By Brian Schropp

It was a few nights ago around bedtime, I was in my ‘basement bachelor pad’ stirring up my strawberry milk nightcap when I heard whispering by the window. “Hey Bri, are you up buddy?” Of course it was none other than my former manager, now ‘pizza brother’, Scott Pizzaman.

“Sneak around the backdoor and I’ll let you in.” Scott is always real respectful when it comes to dealing with my home and parents which you, my dear readers, might find hard to believe given he is a being of total chaos. Why this is I could not tell you, I’m just glad he hasn’t drunkenly driven his car into our house like a certain other individual whose name appears frequently in this paper.

Once I was able to hustle him inside (careful not to wake my folks) and down the steps to my pad, he slammed a funky-smelling pizza box on my table. My curiosity and stomach rumbled over what lay before me, I started to lift the lid but Scott quickly slammed it back down. “Be careful Bri, it’s not what you think.” He answered my questioning gaze quickly. “Remember the rumors going around the pizza industry recently? Something that was brewing on the fringes of society, something so radical, so fucking crazy, it was going to change the life of every pizza worker in existence? Well, I think it’s here–”

I remembered these rumors well. In fact, I recalled one of Scott’s old pizza buddies who came into ‘The Round’ right before I left and the look of horror on his face and fright in his eyes. It will be something I won’t soon forget. “I have seen it” he muttered, his face sweaty and pale, “I have tasted it–“. Then the guy collapsed right there in front of everybody! Scott dragged his buddy into his office and was able to get him to come around after pouring huge amounts of vodka down his throat. The conversation they had afterward was long and tense.

I stared at the funky-smelling box in front of me before whispering “So this…this is the anti-pizza?”

Scott wiped his forehead with a well-used pizza rag and took a long swig of vodka from a hip flask. “Sure is. I forget it has some real name, begins with a ‘V’ or somethin’ like that.”

“A pizza that’s supposed to be a pizza but yet it isn’t,” I whispered before saying, “Where did you get it?”

“If you can believe this shit, some new restaurant in the Middle Northern District. You know that cleaned up area where those rich liberal types now live?. Supposed to be a group of hippie brothers or somethin’ who are running it. Hippie but for some fucking reason they look clean as a whistle. I think their last name is ‘Vegan’ or some shit like that.”

The monstrosity– the “Anti-Pizza”.

I was pretty sure this ‘type’ of pizza was called vegan not the name of the brothers but I wasn’t going to correct him. “So what are we going to do with it?”

After a dramatic pause– “Taste it, we need to know what we’re up against. That’s why I came to see you, if there was a stomach that could handle this monstrosity, it’s yours.”

“But if what they say is true–with no real cheese, no real crust, how can it–how can it–?”

“Just open the box slowly, Bri, ever so slowly–”

Of course the first thing that hits you is the smell, some rank foul odor which was a cross between rotting vegetables and a sewer. I have included a picture of this ‘pizza’ so you can witness the horror with me. The bland, unappealing color palate which hurts not only your eyes and stomach but your very soul. I did my best not to vomit immediately.

“What type of toppings are those?”
Scott was taking an extra long swing from the flask. “Dirt? Grime? Looks like it’s from another dimension. Haven’t they heard of black olives, that’s a type of veggie, right?”

I went to get my extra sleek pizza cutter from the half-kitchenette. “No Bri, you can’t risk using your utensils. I bought a plastic cutter from the dollar store.”

It was almost impossible to cut through the so called ‘crust’ (it was like a hardened crater from a distant planet). Scott kept muttering that the crust was made from ‘dark magic.’ Somehow using more physical effort than I prefer, I had two slices ready.

We looked at the slices sitting rigid and firm on paper plates (also from the dollar store) for a long while. “They don’t even sag on the plate” Scott noted. “No grease, I guess.” It was agreed both of us were just stalling and the time had come. We each grabbed a plate and prayed for the best.

Looking back it was probably not a wise idea to down a whole slice at once. I remember the hardness of the crust almost breaking my teeth. That horrid smell enveloping my senses from the inside. The taste of the so-called toppings which had the consistency of wet slimy bread left out in a rainstorm. The ‘sauce’ which was beyond describing, the best I can do is to say it was something along the lines of using a moldy bottle of ‘Thousand Lankville Island Sauce’ mixed with a stinky egg. I was overwhelmed– my mouth became instantly dry, desperately crying out for some sweet strawberry milk. I went to grab my plastic cup on the table but was totally disoriented, I knocked the cup off the table and onto the floor. As the vile slice slid down my throat the very air around me became hot and uncomfortable. After an intense flash of light where all the colors around the room became bright and vivid, I myself joined the spilled glass on the floor.

I’m not sure how long I was down for, the noises coming from my small half bathroom must have brought me around. The cries and howling coming from Scott Pizzaman made me shutter. It was like a fierce wild wolf being made to taste dog food for the first time. The other sounds made it clear that the ingredients were not agreeing with his stomach, I cringed thinking about the mess my mom would have to clean up tomorrow. I sat up, putting the nearby plastic cup on my forehead to help me from sweating. Soon the bathroom door opened and Scott came crawling out with his pants half on. Vast stink trails raced past him and into the air. He crawled halfway to me before saying ,”Bri, Bri, I think those damn Vegan brothers are trying to poison us!”

Some time later after composing ourselves, we snuck out of the house and headed for the Northern Suburban Landfill to dispose of the rest of this ‘pizza’. We thought the landfill was the best place– it would be safely away from others. After climbing the fence (with some help from Scott) the perfect spot was found and the bonfire was soon blazing. Under the somewhat starry night the box was thrown in with a silent prayer that the fire would destroy the thing that dwelled inside. Scott and I sat for a long time around the firelight before he turned to me with what I call ‘The Scott Look’. “Bri, I really think those dudes tried to poison us. Who knows what they might try and pull next. We can’t have this so called pizza in the community destroying lives. We gotta do something.”
But what could we do against such evil? Find out next week in Pt.2 of this amazing story!!

Brian Schropp won a trophy for this report.


May 25, 2017 Leave a comment

By Brian Schropp

After a very, very long absence it’s good to be back writing for The Lankville Daily News. Not only is this a full time gig (making a sweet $7.16 an hour) but I have been given a brand new column!! The fine folks who run this paper wanted a new perspective on cuisine- a more brash, harder look at the food scene. I promised them I was their guy for this sort of thing.

The other big change was saying good bye to my full time position at ‘The Pizza-A-Round’. I knew it was going to be a striking loss for the place, me, being one of the most innovative employees ever to work there. I thought, Scott, my manager, would be very understanding, especially since I was making sixteen more cents a hour. Well, I was very wrong about my assessment of the situation and not only feared for my life at various times during my two week notice but also the safety and well being of my fellow co-buddies and the customers (not to mention the various holes made into walls and pizza-related equipment destroyed). Everything worked itself out my last day there. After a very hellish eight hour shift in which Scott seemed to peak in his fury (not going through one but TWO Assistant Managers in just that shift) he came up to me very calmly with tears in his eyes my last hour there. “Hey Bri, I just wanted to say–” he almost broke down at this point “sorry I couldn’t match the extra sixteen cents the paper is giving you. It’s been a real pleasure having you here.” At this point he grabbed my right shoulder. “And if you ever need any help, I mean- ANYTHING, you come see me–pizza brother.” By now he was squeezing my shoulder a bit too hard causing extreme pain and wetting myself a little. But I knew his sentiment to be true, we had some amazing adventures together, little did I know at the time we weren’t done just yet!!

Scott Pizzaman- a great friend and ‘pizza brother’

So the next day it was time to get down and dirty and start my first article for my new column. A pressing question soon arose after my 10 AM breakfast- what should it be about? After being kicked out of the house by my folks (who have NO IDEA that a reporter can work from home) and riding my motorized mini scooter (oh yes, dear readers, another bit of news, I was able to secure a Lankville mini scooter license which I can use only around the Deep Northern Suburban area) the idea hit me all at once. In recent weeks the Deep Northern community has been talking about folks among us getting terribly ill after eating. No one has quite been able to pinpoint exactly what it is making people sick but one common thread seemed to be cottage cheese somewhere in the meal. Well, being an investigative reporter now, I had a hunch on who might be to blame. That’s right, Hank Cameron, the so called General Manager of the grocery chain ‘Foodville’. I parked my mini scooter a few blocks away from the store and crept my way up and into the establishment. Lady Luck was on my side when I saw ‘Mr. Cameron’ already by the cottage cheese and pulling them off the shelves with assistance from his low-level flunky, Benny. Hank seemed pretty animated and upset so I crept behind a display of Vitiello Decorative Hams to get a closer look.

Cameron- “This whole cottage cheese thing is going to ruin the business!”
Benny- “Yup.”
Cameron- “These dolts that live in this godforsaken area use it in everything-fruit salad, taco salad, shrimp salad, any type of salad really.”
Benny- “Yup-yup.”
Cameron- “What disgusting people. I’m just going to return this to the factory and get credit for a new order. No one is even certain it’s the cottage cheese anyways–”

Hank Cameron– so-called manager.

This was all of the conversation I caught as I suddenly fell forward and toppled the Decorative Ham display. I was promptly removed from the premises.

So maybe, but highly unlikely, this fool has nothing to do with selling bad cottage cheese. I knew the factory he was talking about, it was right on the outskirts of the Deep Northern area but I had no way of getting over there because my license didn’t go that far. What could I do?!! I rode around on my mini scooter until the battery ran out (by then, it was early evening). Then the answer came to me, it was right there all along, I had a ‘pizza brother’ I could call on.
Scott was more than enthusiastic to help me out. After explaining the situation he grabbed the keys to his ’87 Neptune and a handgun from the top drawer of his office desk. “Come on Bri, the damn Cottage Cheese Industry has done enough not only to this fine community but to my family personally, it’s time to get answers. Don’t worry I’ll explain on the way.” We were leaving a pretty busy dinner rush at ‘The Round’ but that was no concern of my mine anymore! (And even though it had only been a day it looked like the cleaning standards had gone totally downhill).
On the way over Scott tried to explain to me the personal reasons behind his hatred for the industry but honestly he had the radio up way too loud on his new favorite radio station 103.5 LDNS ‘Home Of The Heaviest Of Metal’ so I couldn’t hear. It seemed to be just incoherent babble between bottle swings of vodka but who knows- he might have had a legit gripe.
The radio was turned off as we made our way up to the factory on the outskirts of town, the sun was setting picturesquely behind it. After parking in the employee lot, I questioned how we were going to get inside. “We are just going to walk into the processing part and take a look around” Scott said while checking his gun and then putting it in his waistband. “And God help any fool who tries and stops us!”
I also had my camera on rent from the paper. I checked to make sure the film was in properly and then joked, “I’m locked and loaded as well!”
Scott just grunted and off we went. The employees leaving their shift for the day gave us some weird looks while we advanced into the processing plant but no one stopped us. Maybe because Scott was wearing his slightly tight ‘Pizza-A-Round’ shirt and they thought it was perhaps pizza related?
Both of us were taken aback by the huge machinery pulsing and humming through the plant once officially inside. It reminded me of some sort of 50s science fiction movie set.
Scott leaned in close, I could smell the vodka on his breath. “This all looks like some weird shit, Bri, how much does it take to make cottage cheese anyways?”
We decided not to be as bold and crept along crouching (which really really hurt my legs). After wondering through what seemed like a complicated maze of walkways and the such we finally spied some ‘factory workers’. It struck us that these ‘workers’ were wearing protective face masks, lab coats, and gloves. “Christ, Bri, why all the get up? Aren’t they just making some cottage cheese? Can’t they just wear overalls and use their bare hands? Something is wrong here, try and take a shot.”

​The only picture I was able to get!

Not sure if it was the click of my camera or Scott talking too loud but one of the workers turned around.
“Hey! Who’s over there, come out!!”

Scott stood up in full panic mode and drew his gun. “Bri, we gotta get out of here! If they catch us God knows what they will do- I never saw my Uncle again!!”
What??!! Was that what Scott was babbling about in the car? They did something to his Uncle?  Scott fired a few shots to give us cover to escape. I think we didn’t hit anyone, those workers hit the floor pretty quick and I could hear the bullets whizzing off all the machines. I was in full panic but somehow was able to call upon my investigating skills to navigate the way back through the maze. We didn’t waste anytime hightailing it to the parking lot and speeding out barely escaping what was called ‘The Cottage Cheese Industry.’

Editor’s Note- We at the paper would like to mention we have no definite proof of any wrong doing by The Cottage Cheese Industry or if even cottage cheese is to blame for the ill in Deep Northern Suburban Lankville.

Scott Answers Your Pizza Questions

August 10, 2016 Leave a comment
By Scott, Manager of the Pizza A-Round

By Scott, Manager of the Pizza A-Round

Scott is the manager of the Pizza A’Round.

How can I make a quality pizza at home?
Dr. Nickelbee
Deep Northern Suburbs

Dear Doc,

Listen, as a pizza professional, I sure as shit don’t recommend that. No matter what kind of oven you got at home, it just ain’t going to match the stainless steel motherfucker we got at the Round. Plus, the stuff you buy from the grocery store is garbage, man– second rate. Hell, third rate. I’d get that idea out of your head, Doc.


Where did pizza originate?
Carlton Zupo
Lankville Standard Sand Beach

Dear Carlton,

Good question. The history of pizza is very interesting. The word “pizza” shares its origins with the word “pita” and as we all know, the pita comes from Great Puddly Island. It’s about the only thing that place has produced worth a shit. I had a couple of Puddly Islanders working at the Round back in the day– man, those two wouldn’t have been able to find their own asses if they had sleigh bells tied to them. Anyway, in the late eighteenth century, the word “pizza” was a kind of pie, cooked in olive oil by the Puddly’s in a primitive brick or stone oven. It’s unclear exactly when the pizza migrated over to Lankville but it was probably something around 1900. That’s when you started to see little carts and kiosks pop up and then, ultimately, shops like the Round.

Now, I didn’t know any of this shit– my boy Bri researched your question on his Mom’s computer. You should see this thing man– it’s tan and has this screen that’s one of those huge alien head motherfuckers. Thing weighs like fifty pounds. It’s hysterical.


Is pizza bad for your health?
Leonard Kings
Snowy Lake Region

Dear Leonard,

Let me ask you something. You plan on living to be 100 and shit? You want to be one of those sad motherfuckers sitting in a bed in some nursing home? You want it to take twenty minutes for you to walk ten steps?

Life’s about taking risks, man. And there ain’t no more enjoyable risk than eating pizza. So, get up out of your baby crib, man. Grab life (and pizza) by the balls.



Scott will continue to answer your pizza questions in further issues.

Cuisine Scribe Schropp Wins Singing Contest

August 9, 2016 Leave a comment
By Lloyd Byas-Kirk

By Lloyd Byas-Kirk


Lankville Daily News cuisine writer and Pizza A’Round employee Brian Schropp has won a Deep Northern Suburbs singing contest, sources are confirming.

Schropp Island

Brian Schropp was the winner.

“Contestants had to submit a sample video of their singing,” said contest moderator Jennie Departments. “The panel felt that [Brian’s] song was the best. We will be presenting him with his $100 gift certificate for a Vitiello Decorative Ham in the next few days.”

The panel later noted that of the sixteen submissions received, Schropp’s was the only video which was not completely lewd.

“Still, we feeled [sic] that the video showed great promise,” Departments averred.

“I was trying to express in song the workings of my advanced taste palette,” noted Schropp, who was interviewed during a short break from his shift at the Pizza A’Round. “Fortunately, the phone manager at the Round, Stephanie, was able to bring her camcorder and edit the video. I think it came out really nice.”

Schropp was asked if Stephanie was a possible love interest to which the writer and singer became visibly red-faced and embarrassed and eventually collapsed into a bush.

When Schropp was revived, he commented, “I’m sorry about that Lloyd. I…”  Schropp began to giggle sheepishly and the interview was ended prematurely.

The winning video may be seen here:



July 20, 2016 Leave a comment
Brian Schropp

Brian Schropp

Beloved Lankville Columnist Brian Schropp is not to be confused with UFOlogist Brian Schropp or ‘The Power of Tolerable’ Brian Schropp or the Brian Schropp who was trying to sell those berries or the Brian Schropp from Pineapple Town Island.

Yes my dear sweet readers, I have seen it. I still shake looking at the picture of this man on the disk cover– this “other” who happens to be named Brian Schopp but is not me. Come on folks, are you really fooled? Do you think he even looks like this handsome devil? I guess if you hold it up at an angle and squint very VERY hard he may sorta resemble me in a vague way. Personally, I think the UFOlogist Brian Schropp looks more like me than that fool. Anyways, that is not the point here– I need the readers of this paper to understand that I DID NOT PUT OUT THIS ABOMINATION OF A MUSIC PROJECT CALLED ‘A LITTLE PIZZA IN THE NIGHT’. This is a total scam by that no good EASTERN Lankville guy trying to use my name to make a few bucks. Really folks, you think I would come up with a title like that? You know the creative juices that run through this half bumpkin fueled mind– please, give me a little credit!! And the disk just sounds horrible, anyone with ANY working knowledge of the pizza business would be able to tell this dude has no clue. It’s called a ‘Pizza Eggwich’ not a ‘Egg Sandwich with Pizza Sauce’. Then you have track 5 entitled ‘That Snack Pizza Would Look Better Rubbed On Your Body’. Is that supposed to mean a ‘Mid Morning Snack Pizza’? COME ON– AT LEAST GET THE TERMINOLOGY CORRECT!!



How an ace reporter like Bernie Keebler could be fooled by this spectacle is beyond me. I guess it just shows how good of a scam artist those Eastern Lankville lowlifes can be. So please, if you have bought this despicable piece of trash in whatever format please return it for a FULL refund. And if you bought it from that record store where Larry Klacik works, please give him some extra grief. That bed wetter should know better. I understand that all downloaded copies on a ‘Reckoner Exactra 2.0’ can be returned using the code ‘SASSYBOY22LIKES!!!{%$#}LIPSTICK’ (you may need to type it in your Reckoner a few times).

I guess in light of this whole mess I will share some news which I was hoping to keep under wraps for at least a little while longer. I, meaning yours truly the cuisine writer Brian Schropp, have actually been working on a concept pizza album!! The MUCH better name for the project- ‘Hey Buddy, Can You Spare Me A Slice?’ is truly a visionary endeavor into the world of the pizza business. As always, the ideas are coming fast and furious so this might even turn into a double album or a series of works to come out monthly!! My ultimate aim is for you the listener to understand not only the joy of eating something so cosmically wonderful as a pizza pie but also understanding the passion and hard work which goes into making it. Not any of this lovemaking nonsense– any true pizza maker doesn’t have time for that! Like any piece of art which is wayyyyy ahead of its time, my words can not do it justice. The quality of this masterpiece will speak for itself.

The true work of genius.

The true work of genius.

The following link: is a little sampling to wet your appetite- please remember take into account that this is in the very early development stage.

So, please keep your ears peeled to the streets to hear about this exciting release from the REAL Brian Schropp. My hope is to at least get it out in some sort of cassette-type format very soon!!

Until next time folks, you know what to do with your mouth and mind. Happy eating!!-BRI

Greetings from Pineapple Island

July 15, 2016 Leave a comment
By Brian Schropp

By Brian Schropp

Brian Schropp is not to be confused with Lankville Daily News columnist Brian Schropp or UFOlogist Brian Schropp or ‘The Power of Tolerable’ Brian Schropp or the Brian Schropp who was trying to sell those berries.

Is it such an easy life living on one of the many Lankville Islands? Folks from the ‘main land’ have dreamed of island life as living on the beach all day, chopping up pineapples to put in a delightful fruit salad and receiving deep relaxing massages from beautiful island women in coconut bras and grass skirts. Well, actually it is all those things, who the fuck am I kidding, I live a great life.

I was abandoned as a baby on this isle, left in a giant pineapple shell for the natives to find and raise as one of their own. Now, some of you might find it wrong that from an early age I learned to manipulate these folks into thinking I was some sort of God. To wait on me hand and foot with any silly whim I may have. I see it as turning a possible dreadful situation created by neglectful parents into the finest glass of lemonade one could have. However, as of late I have found my perfect island life being disrupted by various other Brian Schropps and the chaotic beings who follow them.

The first Brian Schropp came floating in on a raft earlier this year. He must have been on that wooden makeshift monstrosity for many a month because the poor soul was out of his mind. He babbled a fantastical yarn of pizza cults, oceans made of pizza sauce, and of reality being nothing but a giant pizza oven. His tale was so crazy that it sent the natives running to their huts in fear. After giving this crazed mound of flab a few glasses of pineapple juice (he whined for strawberry milk which I didn’t have) I was able to have a more ‘normal’ conversation with the lad. He was trying to visit each and every island (which is an impossibility) to learn the true origins of pizza sauce. I told him we really didn’t enjoy ‘pizza’ per say– instead we make a pizza dough crust with nothing added expect pineapple on top. He was instantly taken aback by this and frankly became quite a bit rude about the fact we didn’t enjoy the more traditional pizza fare. Well, needless to say, I had to send him off on his raft quite quickly. If word had gotten around to the tribe that he insulted our great pineapple flatbread, he wouldn’t be living for long!!

There was another Brian Schropp who showed up on the island not long ago (not sure how he got here, my people just found him wandering in the rain forest). This one was looking to take any sort of fruit or plant life back to the mainland to sell as a sort of fake ‘cure all’ to the desperate. I didn’t like this one from the get go and had two of my finest warriors, Samu and Tonga, take this wretched soul over to our only Lankville Postal Office on the island and ship him back in a box. Now, I here there is mention of him telling folks he had chanced on some ‘magic berries’ off this island. I can assure you this is completely and utterly false. If this mountebank should ever come even close to my island again, I will send my warriors out in their war canoes and strike down the fiend with spears.

Dr. Nickelbee- the LAST person I wanted to see.

The chaotic Dr. Nickelbee creature.

I have to say the worst of the worst was one of these ‘chaotic beings’ I mentioned earlier. This one came looking for the first Brian Schropp not long after I sent him packing. And much like that one this monster came floating in on a poorly built raft. Once near shore he rolled off his raft and like a fool tried running to shore (with waves constantly knocking him down) yelling my name. Once here, my warriors had to hold the loon back as he tried to hug me.

I told him I had no clue who he was and that sent him into a tailspin. Thrashing to and fro in the powerful grip of my warriors with his face turning an unnatural shade of red, this yob called me a lair and then attempted to spit in my face. Well, that was the worst thing he could have done; I will not stand for such behavior. Once he recovered from his tremendous beat down, I was able to get more sense out of him. Turns out his name was Dr. Nickelbee and he is some sort of therapist for this other Brian Schropp. He mumbled an ungrateful apology for trying to hug me in a case of mistaken identity. I let it go, I can see how after many months on a raft he might mistake me for this other, we have a few vague similar features.

Our short civilized conversation soon turned South again after I told him the story of ‘Pizza Sauce’ Brian Schropp and how I sent him away.


Thus started yet another yelling tirade worse than the other which ended with this ‘Doctor’ trying to spit on me again and then wetting himself. It took both Samu and Tonga to strap this demon from the mainland down to his raft and send him back out to the ocean. I hear tales from other islands that at night, once the quiet sets in, you can hear this Dr. Nickelbee screaming somewhere out in the ocean. Who knows if this is really true? All I can say is if this one tries to enter my waters again much like the ‘Berries’ Brian Schropp, he will be met with war canoes and spears.

Until next time with another story from Pineapple Town, keep your thoughts open to all the possibilities of pineapple. Warm regards- Brian

Brian Schropp on Cuisine

July 11, 2016 Leave a comment
Brian Schropp

Brian Schropp

Here it is folks, the second part of my exciting car ride with Ronnie La Hoyt. Can one person feel the thrill of a lifetime in a simple pizza delivery ride? Read and find out!! We left off with me struggling to resist the temptation of another man’s pizza while Ronnie was in a house with a woman named Shelly for some reason—

We’ve delivered plenty of pizzas that were missing a slice or two, I reasoned to myself.  I’m sure it’s happened at some point somewhere. With all my willpower and pride gone, a slice was in my hand. A slice of Heaven!

My food haze was cruelly interrupted when a huge shiny black sixteen-wheeler advanced upon the parked car and came to a screeching halt inches away from the back bumper. Shelly’s husband, Dale, jumped out of the rig heading towards the house with all the fury of the four winds. I tried to wave to him but he paid me no mind. Yes readers, I suppose I would be just as mad if meatball sharing was going on under my roof without my knowledge.

The slice in my hand wasn’t even finished when I heard shouts and what sounded like furniture being broken. Then Ronnie came crashing through the living room window, executing one of the most stunning frontward rolls I have ever seen. With the swiftness of an alley cat he was on his feet buckling his belt and running towards the car.

“Bri, move over and start the car. For Christ’s sake start the car!!”Schropp Logo

Did he just really say that? For a few seconds I was sorta’ stunned by the events transpiring. Then, like half bumpkin magic, the gears clicked in my head and I was in the moment. I threw the pizzas out the window and slid over to the driver’s side. I was about to start Ronnie’s car!! I have to admit a great nervousness came over me. Shaking, I turned the key in the ignition, the engine sputtered a few times but did not turn over. Channeling all my force I tried a second time with the engine roaring to life. It felt so good—I felt-so-so-ALIVE!!

Ronnie flew in through the window like some Buddhist master. “Come on, let’s go, get it into gear!!” I could now see Dale almost half way down the yard with something in his hand (I think it might have been a baseball bat).

Now dears readers, you know me, shaking as I was and under this great stress, you know fate was just setting me up to drop the ball. Instead of putting it into drive I somehow got it stuck on reverse. Pressing my foot all the way on the pedal we went crashing back into Dale’s rig.

“What the shit are you doing, Bri?!!!”

My mind was in full panic mode and I all I could do was keep pressing the pedal down to the floor, bumping the massive truck again and again. Somehow Ronnie was able to reach over and shift it to drive. With my foot still down on the pedal we lurched forward violently going from zero to sixty within seconds. The car raced ahead, coming off the curb, knocking out a mailbox, then advancing onto Dale and Shelly’s neighbor’s lawn. Ronnie was yet again able to grab the wheel making us avoid the house but with my foot braced tight still we were doing figure 8’s in the lawn (sorry again Mr. Pepperony for the damage). This whole mess ended with us speeding across the streets, taking out a few trash cans, then flipping the car over.

Yes, as you can believe, the whole post accident story is a mess. Dale, Mr. Pepperony, my folks, the lawyers, and Hell help us, Scott. Truth be told it was totally worth it for those seconds of feeling so so alive!!!

Anyhoo readers, I have babbled on enough for now. Remember to keep your mouth and mind open to new ideas. Happy eating!!-Bri

Feeling So-So Alive!

June 30, 2016 Leave a comment
By Brian Schropp

By Brian Schropp

Brian Schropp returns to the Lankville Daily News!

Yes my gentle readers, it has been awhile. Between the busy hours at ‘The Round’, my new part-time gig (mandatory by Scott) selling pizza pouches, and my recent excursion to the Lankville Islands to learn the true origins of pizza sauce, I have sadly had no time to write my famous cuisine article. The fine editors of this paper (knowing deep down inside that I have written some of the finest food pieces EVER) have left it open for me to write whenever the need ‘tickles my fancy’. And that time I am happy to say is now.

You might be wondering what an acclaimed writer like myself would write about after a long absence. A story about being on the road selling pizza pouches? Maybe a thrilling adventure in the islands which would lead into insights on the very mysterious occult beginnings of pizza sauce. Well, no sir, I have nothing of that sort. This pretty sweet tale just happened a few weeks back during an ordinary Friday night shift at ‘The Round’.Schropp Logo

There was the usual chaos happening. The good news for me was that I was scheduled off at 10PM. You got it, no closing shift for me! Hopefully a sweet rest at home maybe watching some well-deserved scrambled porn off the Lankville cable. The bad news was no one in my family would pick me up. This does occasionally happen with the end result of me riding my scooter home. But not tonight, it was pretty dark out and I had worked a double shift making my supple legs weak and wobbly. That meant only one alternative- beg/whine to Scott for a driver to drop me off.

“Fuck Bri, we’ve got too much shit going on for me to figure out who is going closest to your house.” Scott was in the ‘command center’ next to the pizza oven doing twenty things at once. It’s truly an amazing sight to see!!

“Hey Scott, I think my deliveries are going by his place,” chimed in Ronnie LaHoyt, one of the drivers who always seems to be screwing up and then trying to get back on Scott’s good side.

Scott flashed him one of his world famous looks while Ronnie was loading his pizzas into the delivery bag. “You better not be playing me Ronnie. Make your deliveries first, then drop off Bri as fast as you can. NO FUCKING AROUND!”

‘Yeah-yeah, no worries, Scott.”

With a cool tilt of his head beckoning me forth, I was running to catch up with Ronnie as he left through the front door.

Now let me say this, I think Ronnie La Hoyt drives a pretty cool car. Some say it’s just an old outdated sports car which could could be true, I know next to nothing about cars. All I do know is it’s super fast and handles real smoothly. I feel a certain thrill when I’m riding with him. His ‘devil may care’ attitude about speeding down residential streets, the hum of the engine, the blasting of 70’s arena rock. I feel so—so—-ALIVE!!

Noted pizza delivery man Ronnie La Hoyt.

Noted pizza delivery man Ronnie La Hoyt.

He sped into my neighborhood taking out a few super squirrels in the process. The car stopped with a sudden jolt and half parked on the curb somewhere on Crestmoor Ave. Ronnie turned the rear view mirror towards him so he could check his hair. “I’ll be back in a second Bri, just sit back and relax.”
With that he popped out of the car and headed up towards the nearest house. What’s going on? He didn’t even take the pizzas!!

The porch light turned on and a woman stepped out smiling. It took me a moment to recognize her. Shelly was her name, an attractive twenty something who’s husband, Dale, is a trucker (like Joe!!!) who is gone most of the time. There may be something wrong with Shelly’s joints since I have heard my Mom use the word ‘loose’ a lot when speaking about her with others in the neighborhood.

Both were mighty happy to see each other, smiling and laughing while going inside. I pondered for a moment what the stop was for– did she need help moving something because of her joint problem? Ms. Burgee lived a few doors down, did she receive some of her world class meatballs as a gift and was now sharing it with Ronnie (without me!!).

Looking down at the rapidly cooling delivery bag I knew a big problem was brewing. I had missed my second break at work because of the craziness and I was now very hungry. My stomach was rumbling as it took in the sweet aromas issuing forth. Seconds seemed like minutes, minutes seemed like days. What was taking him so long!!? I knew I was going to buckle under the pressure.

Slowly I opened the bag and slid the first box out. From the smell alone I could tell it was one of my own creations ‘The Mid Morning Snack Pizza’. Damn, damn!! I started to put it back in but then without stopping pulled it back out quickly. Who would miss a few fries off the top? I’m sure the customer wouldn’t even notice. Before I even realized what I had done the fries were in my mouth. What a sweet relief from the hunger pains!! The relief was all too brief, the pains were back in no time only this stronger.

To be continued?

A Christmas Story by Brian Schropp

December 17, 2015 Leave a comment
Brian Schropp

By Brian Schropp

I was lost in a mist of nacho cheese floating down a pizza sauce river to nowhere. Was I back on the raft? The hideous laughter of the Floating Pizza Baby Slice boomed around me. I curled further into my defensive ball position putting my hands over my ears. Was I having a nightmare or was this reality? I had a hard time telling the difference of late.

“Did you really think you could defeat me?” it said in its own horrific baby ga- ga voice. “I will always be here to bring about your downfall!! Take a peek through the mist Bri, you will see what I mean!”Schropp Logo

Do I really succumb to his madness? Even if you had the will of a thousand Scott’s, sometimes in a nightmare you have no choice. Opening my eye just a fraction I saw them. Just visible through the cheese on either side of the river were row upon row of giant dancing pizza purses, moving in unison like in some twisted animation movie. The pizza purses have been the bane of my existence and anyone who works at the ‘Pizza-A-Round’s’ existence for some time now. Seeing how we were late to jump on the ball, business has been in a downward spiral especially with us only being open now on Fridays 4-9 PM, Saturdays 11-6 PM, and Sundays 2-2:30 PM. We are on the verge of bankruptcy!!

Real or imagined, the baby pizza slice still haunts me.

Real or imagined, the baby pizza slice still haunts me.

This, of course, has sent me into a personal spiral of self-doubt and depression since Scott had put the pressure on me to find a solution to the pizza purse matter. I had rarely failed him or the company before but since our epic struggle last month with the Floating Baby Pizza Slice I haven’t been the same man. The nightmares are getting more frequent and more intense. Things have gotten so bad that my parents have hired Dr. Nickelbee (my whacked-out therapist and failed presidential candidate under the Green Sanity Party) as my ‘live-in roommate’ in my basement apartment. Needless to say this action isn’t helping matters and that mess is whole other article.

I tried to tighten myself further into my defensive ball, trying to stop the laughter, trying to stop the visions of the dancing pizza purses, trying to stop the hurt and pain!! It was all too much– even if this was a nightmare, this twisted pizza river was carrying me to end of the line. All hope was lost. Or was it?

I felt it before anything, a little light inside telling me they were near. Then the music (always so sweet) peaking again. I was the hurricane, small at first, then becoming bigger, whirling through the nacho cheese mist. From out of this wondrous spinning ray of hope came the bumpkins. They were not in their trailer but instead on what appeared to be some badly constructed cardboard contraption which vaguely looked like a sleigh. Either small dogs or large rats were pulling them along. Some of then wore jingly bell collars.

The Floating Baby Pizza Slice ga-gaed in anger and raced up to the approaching group. It was like a cosmic game of chicken with neither side backing down from the challenge. And then, both sides collided at full force. I had seen this happen one time before and yet again there was the blinding flash which obscured my vision for a moment. When I was able to get my wits about me I was still on the raft but it had stopped floating. The purses and nacho mist were gone as well. Somehow the cardboard was now in front of me just a few feet away. It was so close I could see even see the white glittering teeth of those rat/dog things. A bumpkin got off the back of the ‘sleigh’ moving towards my huddled, quivering body. To my delight and amazement this bumpkin was the same ‘elf bumpkin’ I saw from a year ago (please see my exciting Xmas story of the previous years for details). And yes readers you need not worry, he was still dressed the same. Now by my side, he knelt down and in his light sweet voice whispered something in my ear. It was so faint I could hardly hear it—-

​Every man, woman and child seems to have a pizza purse these days.

​Every man, woman and child seems to have a pizza purse these days.

That’s when I woke up, almost hitting my head on the top part of my new bunk bed. In my sweat-drenched panic, I replayed this new dream in my mind. All the horror, seeming like it was the end, then the bumpkins—-what had the elf one said? At first I felt like it was totally lost, then again lightly and sweetly he whispered through my mind. It was the solution to this whole pizza purse problem. An idea so simple it was staring me in the face the whole damn time!!

I quickly got out of bed; I had to find Scott and fast. I knew this wasn’t going to be any easy feat, he was taking our woes very hard as well. Dr. Nickelbee heard me getting ready and hopped down from the top bunk. He wanted to have a ‘jammy time session’ to talk about my dream but I had to push him aside, there was no time for that foolishness. At the break of dawn I was on my scooter looking for Scott.

I found him in a back back alley in Downtown Lankville. After tossing the trash bags aside and the few loose women off him, I sat him up on a wooden crate to try and sober him up. I tried to relay my dream to him but he didn’t want to hear about it. “Can’t you see I’m living a nightmare of my own, Bri!!” he said through his whiskey breath with a crazy look in his eyes.

Pizza Pouches!!! Hoping this will be the 'next big thing'.

Pizza Pouches!!! Hoping this will be the ‘next big thing’.

“But it’s okay Scott, the answer has finally come. We don’t need to make edible pizza purses, we just need to make portable pizza pouches!! Dudes-and most butch women-don’t want to carry purses anyways. And if we make clear that people can show off the best looking slice they got! Well…”

I saw a gleam in his eye.

Getting him sober enough (which is about the best you can do anyways), we were at the Lankville Patent Office first thing when they opened. Well that was a few days ago and let me tell you things are already turning for the good. The first few test pouches are looking great and there is a new hot buzz going around about them!! This weekend will be the first big marker but we have high hopes. We are even going to set up a stall by the downtown Lankville cinema to hop on the hottest movie premiere of the year- ‘Star Battles In the Stars: Episode 27’. Even Big James is coming up with plans for a ‘nacho cheese pouch’ which will probably be him just taking the already existing pouch and just filling it with nacho cheese.

Well anyways, that is my slightly early Xmas time miracle this year. I hope you and yours find some of the same bumpkin magic this season!! As always, please keep your minds and mouths open to new ideas. Happy Eating!!-Bri

Brian Schropp on Cuisine

December 3, 2015 Leave a comment
Brian Schropp

Brian Schropp

Brian Schropp returns this week after a harrowing series of adventures.

“For Christ’s sake Brian! You gotta have something up your sleeve, it’s now or never!!” I could tell Scott was reaching his boiling point. What was I do to? Did he really think I could just summon my brilliant ideas on a whim? I sat in the slightly broken office chair like many times before, swiveling back and forth with all my might trying to shake the ideas out.Schropp Logo

Even with being on the verge of Scott’s mighty wrath it was good to have him back managing ‘The Round’. I should be telling you the awesome story of Scott finally defeating Lizzie Starlight and The Floating Baby Pizza Cult. It’s an epic tale indeed, sweeping up not only Scott’s sister but also yours truly in the hunt for this ultimate evil (hence why you haven’t seen any articles for a few weeks). This tale took us all over the map- the back roads of Western Lankville, the deepest darkest parts of Highway 71, on a makeshift raft to the mysterious Lankville Islands, and finally to a place that wasn’t even our own, another plane of existence so to speak. It was here, in this frightening world, that the fight with the hideous Floating Pizza Baby came to it’s climatic conclusion. All three of us were pushed to our physical and mental limit during this trial with each losing a bit of our sanity yet learning a little more about life. Yes, it’s a tale worth telling but alas since we have been back a greater, more pressing issue has arisen. Something so great it has taken the pizza industry and flipped it upside down. The issue is, of course, the newest craze. Pizza purses.

My manager, Scott. When was he coming back?

It’s great to have Scott back!

Since being gone this new found fad has swept all of Lankville like none before it. Everyone who is anyone (men included!!) wouldn’t be caught dead without toting one of these cheesy creations around. Not that I need to explain this but in case you are living in some remote area, where maybe the lunch meat wallet is still ‘the in thing’, let me explain- the pizza purse is an edible handbag (coming in all shapes and sizes) which you carry around during the day much like a normal purse. The difference is, of course, once you are through with your day, you empty it and then have a delicious dinner all ready for you. There hasn’t been any time for me to do any research about who started this trend since I have been busy trying to get ‘The Pizza A-Round’ on board with this. Believe you me, if you are a seller of pizza in Lankville (and there are hundreds just in the Northern Suburbs alone) nobody is calling for the standard fair. Even our personal ‘cutting edge ideas’ like ‘The Mid-Morning Snack Pizza’ and ‘The Pizza Eggwich’ are rarely spoken of. ‘The Round’, through lack of leadership, has really dropped the ball and now looks somewhat behind the times. The only person who even attempted to keep up, ‘Big’ James, went out and bought cheap dollar store handbags and filled them with nacho cheese. Hardly a suitable alternative. ‘The Nacho Cheese Sack’ just didn’t take off and made us look even more foolish.

​Delightful pizza purses!!!

​Delightful pizza purses!!!

So here I was with Scott trying to pick up the pieces. He took my sauce-stained piece of scrap paper (I had been jotting down ideas in a desperate hope of finding something in these scribbles and doodles). After ripping it in half I braced myself for what would be my very first ‘Scott punch’. Instead he just sat down in his nice office chair and sighed deeply.

“I know we’ve been through a lot recently. Neither of us are at 100%, especially you Bri, after those cult members kidnapped you and did all that brainwashing stuff. I remember holding you like a baby on that makeshift raft as we made our escape to the Lankville Islands. The nightmares and mental anguish you endured– well, they…are…are still enduring!! I know it’s hard but I need you to dig deep and come up with something. Maybe we are thinking too much out of the box, let’s just start with a simple pizza purse design and take it from there. Yeah, it might turn into an all night session but what choice do we got?”

My failed attempt at making 'The Round's' first pizza purse

My failed attempt at making ‘The Round’s’ first pizza purse

Scott was right, I was nowhere near the same tender if somewhat ‘kooky’ guy I was a few weeks ago. If I hear a baby giggle while walking down the street my mind instantly fills with dread followed by horrific visions of the Floating Baby Pizza Slice. I knew it was gut check time, I had to put all of that behind and get down to what I do best– crafting the most innovative, cutting edge, culinary ideas this place has ever seen.

‘The Round’ was closed for the night so we had no one to interrupt us. I threw myself completely into the zone, only hearing Scott’s voice as a whisper encouraging me on. I was taking his advice and keeping it simple. Just starting out with a simple pizza purse idea, nothing more. Like any good jazz improviser would tell you, get the basics down and work magic from there. Not putting too much thought into it, I was letting my creative mind guide my hands to make it happen. I was feeling good, like many of our other ‘late night sessions’ before I sensed a possible breakthrough. Sadly, after taking my result from the pizza oven the cold winds of reality hit me right smack in the face. Maybe I wasn’t the man I was before. Scott laid his head down on the counter and started to sob.

I will keep you informed readers of what we will do to try and compete in this new high stakes pizza purse industry. Until next time, please keep your mind and mouth open to new ideas. Happy Eating- Bri


November 5, 2015 Leave a comment
Brian Schropp on Cuisine

Brian Schropp on Cuisine

The cool winds of late Fall could not keep me comfortable in the huge rainbow pizza outfit I have been wearing this week. By mid-afternoon, my body was on the verge of collapse from the constant walking up and down Fairland Ave (with NO lunch break). My face drenched in sweat with the sparkling rainbow makeup (applied before my shift) running down like tears. The interim manager, Ms. Van Palmolive Verracut, would check on me now and again screaming from her car, “you need to be magical!! Let the joy of your heart SING!!!” That was her way of telling me if I didn’t pick up my game there would be a beating with the ‘rainbow stick’ waiting for me back at ‘The Round’. So, the prancing and dancing would hit overdrive causing deep foot blistering not to mention the mental anguish of all my fellow Deep Northern Suburban neighbors seeing me act the fool.

I can now tell you, for a fact, there is nothing more embarrassing than being knocked over by the wind of a speeding vehicle and then having other motorists throw bottles and trash at you while you scramble to get up. The two days have seemed yet again like two years with my limited, Mom-controlled intake of breakfast sandwiches not helping my mental state.

So I was up early this morning, extra early, the rainbow suit got quite dirty yesterday from all the trash-throwing so a deep cleaning was in order. Plus, Ms. Van Palmolive Verracut wanted to apply a new face paint design using some super strong acrylic which would stick to my skin longer but would possibly be more toxic. “Those are the risks, Bri,” she commented.

​Van Palmolive Veeracut- now gone!!!

​Van Palmolive Veeracut- now gone!!!

Then, just like a few weeks ago, as I turned the corner of Lorain and Fairland, I felt the same sense of dread hit me when I saw the yellow police tape again. Everything almost played out like before expect for a few minor details. The policemen inside the front door tripped me up a little when I walked in and one muttered “rainbow pansy” which made the group snicker.

Detective Gee-Temple was still over at the prep station but this time he was building little stacks with the pepperoni. His words were still the same. “Looks like there might be an early shift in your future, Bri.” His arm went up to reveal a new set of invisible stairs. “She’s gone–”

Right on cue I mouthed the last word.

“Yup, seems like a giant bird swooped down the other night snatching Verracut while she was getting into her car. We’ve been having those problems with the big pelicans…” He trailed off strangely, then recovered. “Lloyd Byas-Kirk is out back. he’ll show ya.”

We made the same walk to the back parking lot. Lloyd was of course out there. He was leaning against the railing looking at a dirty, beat-up porn magazine which had been by the dumpsters for a few weeks. Gee-Temple and I were right upon him before he even noticed us.

My fellow reporter squinted up at the sky like he was staring into the sun even though it was a cloudy day. “Folks down the road heard her over their house around 10:30 last night. She was screaming about unicorns and pizzas, her voice got fainter and fainter as the bird took her up and then she was—–gone.”

He then motioned over to her car (which had rainbow and unicorn decals all over it).
The driver’s side door was still open which I guess was the only proof they needed.

“So no one saw the actual bird?” I asked.

Detective Gee-Temple

Detective Gee-Temple

There was an awkward silence before Gee-Temple spoke. “Giant birds come down from the Northern Hills every once in awhile and swoop people up. It’s a shame but it happens.”
“Plus the folks down the street heard her screaming OVER the house,” Lloyd chimed in looking at me like I was the biggest idiot in the world.

“What happened to her bodyguard?”

The Detective pointed into the woods. “Footprints leading into there are more than likely his. Probably became so distraught he ran into the woods, you hear that happening when people witness a giant bird snatching another person, it just happens. Probably get eaten by hill people if he wanders too far in like that other fella.”
Officially, no one really knows what happened to the other interim manager, Davis ‘Bud’ Huggins, since a search party never went after him.

So now I sit here in the office using my portable teletype wondering if we will open ‘The Pizza A-Round’ today. I can see through the office window ‘Big’ James and Charlie ‘The Nugget Guy’ making their way across the parking lot. I guess word is spreading quickly about an absent manager and they are coming to clock in. I have no doubt the others will be here soon and we will give it a go!! As always I will keep you updated!!-Bri

The Rainbow Pizza Woes: Brian Schropp on Cuisine

November 3, 2015 Leave a comment
Brian Schropp

By Brian Schropp

I was running late for my job which always sends me into a panic. The paper had called wanting me to do this ‘Distant Island Foods Festival’ at some dusty, beaten-down, kinda creepy looking reception hall. I know very, very little about the cuisine from those far-fabled islands (expect certain fried foods) so I was shocked ‘The News’ wanted me there. My editor assured me the whole shebang would be an easy affair with the recipe for my food presentation already prepared for me. I honestly don’t remember too much about the event, I attempted some half-hearted speech before falling off stage and into the laps of the horrified guests and representatives from the islands (I was pretty ‘light headed’ from the diet my Mom had me on). After downing a case of some of the most AMAZING strawberry milk I have ever had, I was able to rebound slightly by making a somewhat respectable ‘Distant Island Spring Loaf’ (Brock Belvedere at least seemed to enjoy it).

Thinking I did my own acceptable ‘C+’ standard I was off on my push scooter hoping no one at ‘The Round’ would be that upset. Word had leaked of yet another interim manager starting soon and after the horror show which was Davis ‘Bud’ Huggins I didn’t want to make a wrong impression. Securing my scooter with a big heavy chain and gigantic padlock to a light pole in the strip mall, I hustled as quickly as possible inside to join the craziness which should have been the early afternoon rush. The silence which greeted me inside was overwhelming, even the lights were turned off. Had my work finally sank into the bottomless pit of bankruptcy without our real boss, Scott, there?

That’s when I heard the faint humming coming from the darkened prep area behind the phone counters. I crept slowly forward bracing myself for whatever lay in the darkness.

“Hello-hello?” I called out softly.

The Rainbow Pizza that made everyone sick.

The Rainbow Pizza that made everyone sick.

The humming stopped and in the glare of the store’s blinking unanswered phone lines, a woman’s face appeared. She was an older woman with some sort of patch or wads of newspaper covering one eye. In the glare of the phones she looked somewhat menacing. I was about to scream when she put a finger to her lips. “Shhhhh, please be very quiet, your fellow co-buddies are trying to sleep.”

She took me gently by the hand and escorted me past the phones to the prep area. And in an image which will never leave my mind, I found all my fellow ‘Pizza A-Round’ employees laying on mats taking a nap.

“Lay down and join them,” she whispered in my ear.

I looked over at all the phones (she must have turned off the ringers) which still flashed with all the holds and incoming calls. “But shouldn’t we be taking all these orders?”

She lightly patted my butt. “No Bri. If our customers want the most wonderful, magical, unicorn-dreamed, pizzas available, we must have all our co-buddies rested to create that wonder. I want you to join them and fill your nap with sweet pizzas flying over rainbows.” I had no idea what she was talking about but I liked how she was using the term ‘co-buddies’ which I had invented earlier this year.*

So I took a mat next to Chet Cameron who was secretly trying to smoke one of his foul- smelling cigarettes. “What’s going on here Chet?”

“This new interim manager has been treating us like little kids all day. Can you believe she is letting us take a nap and we’re getting paid for it?!!”

“Have we taken any orders today?”

“A few early on. We can only make this weird ‘Rainbow Pizza’ which uses all this food dye. I think customers are getting sick off it, we had a few complaints before the phones were shut down for nap time.”

​Our 'Make A Pizza Exercise'

​Our ‘Make A Pizza Exercise’

The interim manager (whose name is Ruth Van Palmolive Veeracut, I later learned) walked up and down the napping rows lightly humming a sweet tune while chanting a stream of consciousness song dealing with ‘pizzas’ and ‘rainbows’. A few folks started to wander into the store, most looking somewhat ill and complaining about the pizza they received.

“You are disturbing nap time!!” she told them in a voice that only a lady suffering from the deepest Hell of bipolarism could muster. With the snap of her fingers a big guy wearing a ‘Pizza A-Round’ shirt (too small for his bulk) came out of the office to throw these people to the curb. He then locked the front door. I think this dude might have been a former bodyguard for President Pondicherry.

The lights gradually started to come back on, very slowly, almost as if they came on too quickly our marvelous dreams would be forgotten. “Ok everyone, UP-UP-UP!! Before we begin selling rainbow pizzas again we are first going to do a little coloring exercise to stimulate the imagination.”

‘Big’ James in particular seemed excited when the box of crayons were brought out. We were each given a sheet of paper with a black and white picture of a pizza.

“Now, you must color in and make your own fantastical pizza. Only ones which are truly magical and filled with the innocent joy of the heart will be acceptable!”

Some of my ‘co-buddies’ gave a good effort, others just a lukewarm attempt. Myself, having no idea what this lady was talking about, just attempted to draw a nice looking pepperoni pizza while staying in the lines. After everybody was finished she carefully looked over each pizza and placed them in two piles. Then she placed everyone in two groups which corresponded with the piles. I, for some reason, was left out of both groups and made to stand in the middle.

She looked at ‘Group A’ which was to her left. “Your pictures were delightful!! So filled with the early promise of a Deep Northern Spring it sends my heart in a flutter. You truly have good in your heart!”

She turned to ‘Group B’. That stern almost evil voice returned. “I really don’t know what to say about you lot. Obviously life has corrupted you in some way making your heart a foul, wretched place. The Pizza A-Round no longer requires your services, you can get out.”

Current interim manager.

Current interim manager.

This group had the likes of Chet Cameron, Charlie ‘The Nugget Guy’ and even ‘Big’ James. The last was almost in tears saying he really did his best. The group’s protest was cut short when a certain snap of the fingers happened again making the big guy reappear. My fellow brothers in arms were quickly shown the door.

While the remaining ‘co-buddies’ scrambled to get the shop back running for the evening dinner rush, Ruth came up to me. “To tell you the truth Bri, I was going to put you with the ‘B Group’.” Much like ‘Big’ James I was stunned– after all, I had stayed inside the lines!! “You just slightly, ever so slightly, managed to stay out of that group but your uninspired picture is not ‘A Group’ material. So I have the perfect position for you here…” She raised her hands and in a giddy voice said, “you will get to amaze and delight all your fellow neighbors by wearing a huge rainbow pizza outfit I ordered!!”

Now readers I ask you, how is Ruth Van Palmolive Veeracut any better than Davis ‘Bud’ Huggins? Are rainbow pizzas, which will more than likely make people sick, the answer to the turn around for the Pizza A-Round? I will of course keep you updated. As always, please keep your mind and mouth open to new ideas. Happy Eating!!!-Bri


*-Editor’s note: see Schropp’s article of 3/18/15.

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