Posts Tagged ‘Brian Schropp’

OPINION: It’s Brian Schropp’s Birthday and Shit

February 14, 2016 Leave a comment
By Scott, Manager of the Pizza A-Round

By Scott, Manager of the Pizza A-Round

There’s a lot of people already calling up, asking for heart-shaped pizzas. I guess it’s Valentine’s Day or some crap.

But I’m here to give you a better reason to pick up a Pizza A-Round pie.

It’s Brian Schropp’s birthday and shit.

That’s right. My main man turns, like 38 or 43 or whatever, today. And to celebrate– the Round is dropping a deal on you, Lankville. You order a Mid-Morning Breakfast Snack Pizza (available all-day, today ONLY), mention Brian’s birthday, and we’ll deliver it FOR FREE. Even though I gave Big Bri the day off today, I kept him here at the Round until about 4AM last night, prepping these bad boys. So, we got a shit-ton of ’em.

Call now.

And Happy Birthday, my man.

Gump Penetrates

February 2, 2016 Leave a comment
Meet the Columnists

Gump Tibbs

It’s time for another penetrating interview with Gump Tibbs. Today, Gump interviews UFOlogist Brian Schropp (not to be confused with Lankville Daily News cuisine writer Brian Schropp).

GT:  So, for awhile, everybody thought that you were the guy that wrote those delightful articles about food. You’re not?

BS: (deep sighing for 45 seconds): Anybody who is remotely familiar with Dr. Stephen Altbright’s seventeen volume series ‘History Of The Schropp’s In Modern Day Lankville’ knows there are two distinct yet totally separate Schropp bloodlines. That other Brian Schropp belongs to the lesser more primitive bloodline which messed around with all those Hill People. I can assure you Mr. Tibbs, I am in no way connected with that so-called cuisine writer. And quite frankly I’m getting sick and tired of strangers coming up to me asking for my opinion on which pizza pouch would best suit their needs. I AM NOT THAT WRETCHED LOATHSOME MAN!!

GT:  You look a little like him.

BS: Please do not insult me any further.

GT:  What a delight! Do you like food?

BS: In the respect that everyone needs food to survive, then yes. You might say I have what is called a  ‘delicate stomach’ so most foods, even with just a hint of spice, will give me a major case of ‘the runs’. Most of what I eat is very bland and pasty.
GT:  Do you prefer flying saucers over food?

Brian Schropp 2

The other Brian Schropp

BS:  What a silly question! Yes, of course. Food is just a boring constant in our lives. But UFOs, especially on the topic of how gravity relates to them, is so endlessly fascinating. I was a little shocked to find that I was the first to write about this subject matter.

GT:  Really fabulous. What is space?

BS: Depends on what you mean by ‘space’. There is the space around us, here in this room. Space between the atoms of each thing in this room, including us. Then you have the space above us which surrounds the room and atoms. So you might ask yourself, ‘How does a flying saucer factor into all these spaces?’ I don’t mind telling you if you’re curious.

GT:  Just super. What is gravity?

BS: Depends on what you exactly mean by ‘gravity’. You see, you have the gravity which is holding us down here in our seats. We also have the gravity which holds not only our planet but other mighty celestial things in the cosmos in place, almost like a super dark matter gravity. Now you might ask yourself, ‘How does a flying saucer factor into these different types of gravities?’ I don’t mind telling you if you’re curious.

GT:  A lot of people are seeing flying saucers lately. Why?

BS: Well that really depends on what is meant by ‘seeing’. What does the human eye really see? Can our eyes really see the true reality of things, like gravity for instance? Then you need to ask yourself, ‘How does a flying saucer factor into us not seeing the things around us?’ I really don’t mind explaining any of this if you’re curious.

GT:  Just remarkable. Do you think aliens have guns?

BS: Oh hell yes! Big huge laser monstrosities which can rip a man’s soul apart. If you have any guns maybe we can pretend to be aliens and then maybe pretend or not so pretend to kill some people.

GT:  I have some guns.

(There was a pause and then Tibbs and Schropp ran off with each other).

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.

Schropp Guest Chef at Distant Island Foods Festival

November 2, 2015 Leave a comment
By Brock Belvedere

By Brock Belvedere


Lankville Daily News columnist Brian Schropp was the guest chef this weekend at the 14th Annual “Distant Island Foods Festival” held in the basement of the Casa Montecristo (an elegant reception hall).

Brian Schropp, shortly after his nervous collapse.

Brian Schropp, shortly after his nervous collapse.

The festival, designed to promote the cuisine of the distant islands, drew a lusty crowd of gastronomes.

Schropp kicked off the event with a strange speech that ended with his nervous collapse. After a short nap and a case of strawberry milk, the writer felt better and made a “Distant Island Spring Loaf” to the delight of those attending.

“My Mom has been trying to get me to cut back on the breakfast sandwiches– I had only had three that morning. I think my blood sugar was just down,” Schropp explained.

The only notable criticism of the event was an obvious case of ageism against one unfortunate elderly woman who was not permitted to sit in a lobby chair for eight hours while her son handled some important business.

“Overall, I think it was a great success,” said festival co-founder Jerry Bigpupps. “Any promotion of the wonderful cuisine of the distant islands is a big giant shiny puffy gold star in my book.”

The Battle of the Bra Buffets

October 28, 2015 Leave a comment
Brian Schropp on Cuisine

Brian Schropp on Cuisine

Looks like there is a fierce war brewing between two local restaurateurs both using the cutting edge concept of the lunch bra buffet. It turns out there is a large, if somewhat silent, community of bra-wearing men in Deep Northern Suburban Lankville. With this area being known for its ‘hard workingman’ roots (mainly from all the factory jobs at the ‘Lankville O’s’ processing plants) there is a certain stigma associated with the ones who come out as ‘bra wearers’. To me, being of course of a more liberal, tender mind, I see no reason for this shame. These tough, rugged men are just like you and me- somewhat straight, God-fearing, Small Motel Girls Wrestling-watching lads who just happen to like the feel of a nice tender bra caressing their man boobs.

On one side of the fight you have my friend Eddie who happens to be the originator of this genius idea. You might remember him from previous ‘Schropp On Cuisine’ articles, one in particular in which I tell of his struggling restaurant and how the concept of the bra lunch buffet turned it around. It was to my shock upon a recent visit (his place was located at the ‘Double-Headed Moose Strip Mall’) that I saw how things were going downhill again. What had once seemed like a very upper middle class bra-wearing clientele was now more of a lower if not downright homeless crowd. These unkempt men showing off their unwashed torsos and secondhand bras were also making what was called a ‘hobo food bra’ in which the cup sizes were bigger so they could get more grub for the buck.

​My friend Eddie, the originator of the bra buffet.

​My friend Eddie, the originator of the bra buffet.

Eddie who was bringing out a huge tin foil tray of off-colored macaroni and cheese from the kitchens was not happy. “This is very bad Bri. Those hobos bras are eating into my profits. I have no other choice but to let these street men do it, the other cleaner clients are now gone.”

“Where did they go ?” I probed.

Eddie took me outside and pointed across the street. On the other side of the tracks (there are literally train tracks) is another strip mall which looks exactly like the one I was at…how I never noticed it before was beyond me. On the far right corner was a place called ‘Dan Ming’s All Day Lunch Buffet’ in glowing red neon. Under it was another smaller neon sign which read ‘Males Only’.

My bra-wearing friend shook his head. ‘Dan used to be a good friend of mine. Met him at a bra-wearers support group many years ago. Came to try my buffet and then stole the idea for his own. How could a fellow brother in a bra betray me like that?” His eyes welled up a little. “Say Bri, can you go over there and check it out? I have too much pride and I need to know what is making the more cleaner, well-off customers go over there.”

There was no reason to bring out the waterworks. I didn’t want to say it but I was actually excited about looking into another person’s concept of the bra buffet. If this place had cleaner bras and food that was not leftovers from the local food bank I might even try some. So I took my time crossing the tracks, I had forgotten that the newly reelected President Pondicherry had promised the area a ‘light rail’ if voted back in office. The problem was these trains were more like powerful steam engines than commuter trains. Plus they ran at a very frequent schedule jam packed with people– I wondered (aloud as it turned out) why it was suddenly so popular with only a quarter mile of track completed. It would take more time waiting for the trains than simply walking that distance.

Anyways, soon I was entering the establishment of ‘Dan Ming’s All Day Lunch Buffet’. What struck me at first was how clean the restaurant was compared to Eddie’s. Next the place was jammed pack with bra-wearing men. Government workers, academics, poets, philosophers, retail workers all sitting at tables enthralled in discussions while enjoying their food.

I was greeted warmly by the owner himself, Dan Ming. He knew who I was right away and was pleased to see me. “It’s a great honor to have a cuisine writer of your caliber join us. Please, let me take you over to a special booth where I will have a waiter bring over a sampling of what we offer.”

As he lead me further into the establishment, I saw he had three different buffet stations, one for hot food, one for cold, and a salad bar. All looked well-stocked and clean with plenty of lean bras at each. It was at this point I saw fellow Lankville reporter, Brock Belvedere sporting a pink lace bra at the salad bar. He seemed quite embarrassed that someone recognized him so I didn’t wave.

Dan Ming

Dan Ming

Dan sat across from me at a small table near the kitchen. A waiter came over with a glass of strawberry milk without me even asking! Mr. Ming had sure done his homework and knew how to impress! “I hope you are not mad at me, Bri” he said. “I am not trying to put your friend Eddie out of business. I just saw the potential in what he was doing and knew I could pull it off. Take a look around you Bri, the whole bra-wearing community is out enjoying themselves.” He paused for a second. “Would you like to–you know–”

Like I said earlier in this article I am a very liberal person but the idea of wearing a bra doesn’t usually float my boat. I mean, sure, we have all had those times when you might sneak a bra out on a nice peaceful afternoon while you’re alone in your basement apartment. But out in public? It definitely wasn’t my thing.

“As you can see, I don’t really have much of a bust so my bras are pretty small which gives the customer a smaller serving size. But with the quality of food I have been charging slightly more than Eddie, $12.95 to be exact. So far it seems to be working but I don’t know if I can keep them at that price no matter how good it is. If Eddie got his act together his bigger bra size alone could spell trouble for me.”

Dan looked down at the table, deep in thought.

“Why don’t you just buy bigger bras for the customers to use?” I asked.

Dan Ming shook his head. “The one thing Eddie and I agreed upon is if you are opening an honorable lunch bra buffet in these parts, no matter how good or bad, you must only use the bras that you yourself wear. It’s a sign of honor and respect. And if anybody dared try to, well let me just tell you, there are a lot of folks tied to the mob who come in here–“.

A waiter brought over a sampling in a frilly purple number which Dan said he used to wear when he had ‘more of a nightlife’. He was exactly right, the food was spot on just as the serving size was small. After a few more minutes of conversation I decided to head back to give Eddie my thoughts. As I was leaving, Brock discreetly came up to me and asked if I could keep quiet about seeing him at Dan Ming’s. Even though he recently deleted his social media profile he didn’t want me to write anything in my article. Well Brock, for the sake of the ‘great leap forward’ I have decided to put you in this article so maybe it will be the catalyst for you to come out (at least to your mom) on this subject.

I again carefully crossed the ‘light rail tracks’ back to Eddie’s. He was upset by what I had to tell him but I pleaded with him to get somewhat better food and maybe clean up a little and now and again and you might see some success. As if right on cue, one of Eddie’s dirty customers in a large teal granny bra came over holding his stomach, his face turning the color of the mac and cheese he just ate from his other makeshift hobo bra. The man opened his mouth to speak but nothing came out but vomit, off-colored mac and cheese vomit for at least two minutes. Yes, my readers, Eddie has a very uphill battle ahead of him.

Until next time, please keep your mind and mouth open to new ideas. Happy Eating!!!-Bri

Clown Hamburgers: Part II

October 20, 2015 Leave a comment

Schropp Logo

By Brian Schropp

By Brian Schropp

Yes, I know how many of you are anxiously awaiting the second installment of ‘Clown Hamburgers’. It’s a tale that would blow the minds of anyone with just the slightest interest in hamburgers, demonic psychic clowns, possessions, gun battles, giant grease fires, the deep metaphysical secrets of ‘Highway 71’, and so much more. The gut- wrenching horror of how I endured the ‘Six Foot Special’ (actually it was a double so it was more like a ‘Twelve Foot Special’) with extra bacon and cheese. How it looked, tasted, how it felt rumbling through me, the subsequent visions I had. Even in victory over the soul/artery-clogging special, the sickest most twisted man I have ever encountered, Mack Milford, going back on his word and not giving up the knowledge Scott needed to find Lizzie Starlight. What Scott’s sister did to get someone so sinister and just downright evil to get that information. The blowing up of the restaurant causing true Hell to be unleashed. An article truly of epic proportions, one that would, hands down, have been the finest piece of cuisine writing/journalism ever seen in the pages of the Daily News. But alas, something more pressing, something far greater has impacted me in the past few days, torn my mind into a thousand tiny pieces, making everything before seem like a jumbled mess on the cutting room floor of my mind. You have one man to ‘thank’ for all this my dear readers and that person is interim manager of the ‘Pizza A-Round’, Davis ‘Bud’ Huggins.

​Davis 'Bud' Huggins

​Davis ‘Bud’ Huggins

I’m just going to say this outright- does this man have any idea how a pizza place is run in Deep Northern Suburban Lankville? The answer is of course an astounding NO!! Sure, he may be a successful ‘no nonsense’ pizza manager from the Southern Plains Area, good for him. Did he ever think that maybe our area is a special somewhat unique place which might differ from the drab tastes of the Plains area where all they want are basic simple pizzas? The place which I hold dear in my heart is in a state of chaos. This is the pizza nadir, friends, the pizza nadir.

Fixtures of the establishment who made the place run like Charlie ‘The Nugget Guy’ and ‘Big’ James are now gone. Fired in fact because ‘we need people who can work all stations not just one item.” I will be the first admit that ‘Big’ James wasn’t the most hygienic employee nor the nacho cheese station in any shape for passing the simplest health code standards but if you don’t have a specialist in something how can you be giving the best product possible?

Chet Cameron, ‘the master of the prep line’– I was not his biggest fan yet I knew what he brought to the excellence of ‘The Round’. Huggins kept insulting Chet on his handling of toppings (especially the green peppers) which drove Chet to the breaking point. He got up in the interim manager’s face causing a fierce shouting match. ‘The Bud’ picked him up in a bear hug and threw poor Chet right out into the street telling him never to come back. I’m not a fan of Hank Cameron, who is Chet’s uncle and manager of ‘Foodville’, but if he has any sway or power in local Lankville politics he might call in some favors to have Mr. Huggins forcibly removed from our Suburban area- that would be great!!

Chet Cameron, one of the greats, now gone.

Chet Cameron, one of the greats, now gone.

Some of the other mind numbing ideas, getting rid of hot menu items like ‘The Pizza Eggwich’ and ‘The Mid-Morning Snack Pizza’. Yes I know those were two of my own ideas-I don’t take it personally- OK, maybe slightly, I just can’t stand it when people don’t recognize genius. And this goofball is far from a genius. We had a ‘back to basics’ weekend where all we served was pepperoni, sausage and cheese pizza. Who the hell just wants that boring stuff? People around here want a little nacho cheese on top. Oh. what’s that? Right, we don’t have a nacho cheese specialist to put that on anymore!!! Sales were miserable and this guy had the nerve to continue to blame us!!! Oh I must not forget the fact that he has decided to move up our opening time to 10:30 instead of 8. Doesn’t this clod realize we make money off the ‘lonely high schoolers’ who want to stuff a pizza (maybe even a $19.95 Mid-Morning Snack Pizza) in their face before first period? The phones were ringing off the hook the past few mornings and he wouldn’t let us answer them!! Yet another money earning demographic for us, the confused older folks coming in looking for the dialysis center next door– we now have to treat them with ‘kindness and respect’. How can we get as much as possible out of them without adding a little threatening tone to our voice? All they want now is a glass of water.

And please don’t get me started on that huge green chair he brought in for Brock Belvedere’s mother which everyone keeps tripping over. It takes up so much space in the dining area!!

Now for the biggest insult to me– my once highly prestigious role of being in charge of the cleaning team with even my own ‘managerial sink’ now reduced to cleaning cracks in the front sidewalk with a toothbrush and walking up and down Fairland Rd (which is very DANGEROUS by the way) with a ‘pizza billboard’ around me. No matter how many people drive by insulting me or throwing things in my direction I must smile and wave (With ‘The Bud’ checking up on me and yelling at me if I have the slightest hint of a frown).

I could go on and on but now I am overwhelmed again just thinking about all this. I’m sitting in my basement apartment at home trying to get myself together with a tall glass of strawberry milk and a plate of breakfast sandwiches. How much longer my readers, how much more can I take of this? it’s almost been a week—

Clown Hamburgers

October 15, 2015 Leave a comment

Schropp Logo

By Brian Schropp

By Brian Schropp

I was hot and heavy into a mid-day trash run at the ‘Pizza A-Round.’ The newest round of management (in Scott’s absence) was cracking down on some of our ‘lackadaisical habits’ and four days worth of used pizza goods were heading to the dumpsters. It was turning into a one man job, the new manager needed all other help for the lunch rush and said I was the most expendable. This guy for some reason was really cracking the whip expecting correct addresses on phone orders, correct toppings on pizzas and even following all cleaning procedures to health code standard, EVERY TIME!!! He said that ‘once the ship was righted’ he would look into what I really do here and see how I can fit into ‘the new grand plan’ (whatever that means). Anyways, there I was dragging one over-bulging bag after another across the back parking lot hoping none would rip open causing an even greater mess. The new manager was giving me a time frame on getting this enormous task done (which was very short) PLUS expecting no follow-up clean up. So instead of hitting my normal groove (with my headphones jamming away to 102.9, the ‘kooky’ oldies station), I was sweating bullets making myself overly-anxious.

The heat of the afternoon sun started to feel like the sting of my new boss’s metaphorical whip. I stopped to wipe my brow and took a good hard look at the dumpsters– they were filling up fast. Would there be enough room in them? How would this new guy react if there were still trash bags left in the kitchen? More importantly, would he give me a lunch break after this? Would I still be able to make free food now? I didn’t pack a lunch!! I felt I was about to faint from the heat, hunger, and worry to all these unanswered questions.

Scott's sister

Scott’s sister

The screech of tires pulling into the back parking lot brought me back to reality. Once my eyes came back into focus I saw it was Scott’s sister in a bright pink 87′ Neptune! She turned down the volume on the stereo (she was listening to 103.5 ‘The Hammer’). “Hey goofball, Scott needs your help again, get in.” She paused for a moment grabbing something from the backseat. “Put this on, Scott said you would need it.”

Without questioning her, I picked up the adorable pink kitty one piece pajama set (with footies) and put it over my work clothes. It fit like a glove. Opening the car door, I took a look behind me at the open back door of ‘The Round’. I babbled something about making the new manager upset.

“Well Scott is still officially your manager, right? Just let that a-hole know that once you’re back.”

I saw the logic in this and got into the pink Neptune which was already speeding off before my butt hit the seat.

She tapped the glove box with a half-drained whiskey bottle. Inside, I was delighted to find a plastic bottle of strawberry milk from my favorite convenience store. Twisting the cap off, I was about to take a swig when Scott’s sister leaned over to pour some whiskey in making it spill all over my now pink kitty lap. “You’re going to need this once I tell you what’s going on.”

“How crazy is this going to be?”

She took a BIG swig from the bottle before replying. “Pretty damn crazy Bri. Have you ever heard of a place called ‘Clown Hamburgers’?

“That place is real?!!”

The lore of ‘Clown Hamburgers’ is legendary. I thought the place was just a made up urban legend from some school blacktop. Located somewhere on the Western and Southern Lankville border (not far from Highway 71 where real crazy shit happens), this was the place where people who knew they are going to die or just want to die go to have their final meal. Supposedly everything on the menu is so unhealthy that it will help speed up or at times even cause instant death.

It is said the clown idea originated to help the dying have a fun and somewhat joyous final passing but over the years (probably due to being so close to Highway 71) the clowns became more twisted and demonic. I was surely stunned learning this place existed.

“Well we gotta go there because the owner may have information on this bald-headed freak lady Scott is looking for–”

“Lizzie Starlight!!!” I interrupted. I didn’t mean to but I got worked up– I went into the story on how I thought Lizzie was bald from the first time I laid eyes on the woman. Scott’s sister flashed me her version of ‘The Scott Look’ so I took the cue and let her continue.

“Scott and the dude who owns it now, Mack Milford I think is his name, a real sick twisted fuck. Well they go back a long ways, grade school and all that shit. You can say they have a history with each other, some good, most not so good. For whatever reason Mack knows some stuff which will supposedly help my bro but the shit is not willing to give it up so easily. He told Scott the only way he would share this news is if someone he knew came down and endured the ‘Six Foot Special’. This person had to be somewhat close to him but could also either live or die and it wouldn’t matter. Some sick price to pay, huh? Scott said there was no other person alive who could possibly survive that ordeal but you. Scott is in the deep, deep South fighting some cult shit so I am here to take your goofy dumb ass. So, now you know there is a real risk involved, are you up for the challenge?”

​Clown Hamburgers, a place of death

​Clown Hamburgers, a place of death

Indeed a very high risk!! This ‘Six Foot Special’ was just as big of a legend as the place itself. A meal so bad, so filled with heart-clogging fat and mysterious preservatives, it could kill you after only a few bites. Did I have a chance of overcoming it? Imagine if I did, I would become legendary myself!! To me, there was only one answer and the answer was YES.

“Good.” Scott’s sister gave a slight smile. “You really didn’t have any choice in the matter.”

With the place being still a few hours away, we had plenty of ‘down time’ in the car. Pretty much after she said her peace, Scott’s sister turned the radio back up and was content drinking her whiskey along with smoking some sort of foul-smelling cigarette. Her flip phone rang incessantly but she ignored it. The scenery of the Northern Lankville super-highways passed by quickly.

After the buzz of my strawberry milk wore off, I turned down the volume for some much- needed small talk. “So, how is Grandma, and your folks?”

“Grandma sends her love.” She paused for a second before cracking up. “Just kidding, she probably doesn’t remember who the fuck you are. Daddy had a few days of acting ‘normal’ then decided he needed to be all crazy again.”

“Is he hiding a cake?”

“No, this time its Ma’s recipe for her ‘Tuna Surprise’. Shit was hitting the fan right when I was leaving but this thing for Bro’ was a more pressing matter.”

There was a long awkward silence before she spoke again. “What the fuck is that smell?”

“Oh, I think it’s my Pizza A-Round clothes.” I went on to explain how I was doing the trash run before she came and how I thought this new interim manager was being unfair about a few things. I think she lost interest quickly because she soon turned 103.5 ‘The Hammer’ back up to full blast. For the sake of my sanity she did produce another strawberry milk and with a nice touch of whiskey I was good again.

As any alcoholic will tell you, with a good buzz on, time flies quickly. Soon enough we were pulling into the parking lot of Clown’s Hamburgers. We were greeted by a pretty creepy clown named Sydney (we would soon learn he was Mack’s ‘main clown’). I will admit, I was pretty taken aback by the large axe he was carrying. Scott’s sister didn’t seem so phased, she turned the radio off and rolled down the window. “I’m Scott’s sister, where the fuck is this Mack douche.”

“Ah!” Sydney gave an evil grin while pointing his axe. “Mr. Milford is expecting you. Just drive around back to his personal residence. And please, have a very merry death!!”

“Go to hell you stupid fuck.”

Pulling around back, we found that his ‘personal residence’ was just a broken down trailer attached to the restaurant. Scott’s sister checked her guns before getting out. “Come on Bri, let’s go show this shithead who’s the boss.” I still had a good buzz on so I was strutting slightly, feeling a little like a ‘bad ass’ even though I was wearing the pink kitty pajamas (which I knew by now was her own personal joke). Sydney was slowly creeping around the corner humming a show tune with the axe over his shoulder. Scott’s sister gave off much the same confidence as her brother so I wasn’t really that afraid.

​Mack Milford and family plus Sydney his 'main clown'.

​Mack Milford and family plus Sydney his ‘main clown’.

Not even knocking, she kicked open the screen door and walked right into the living room. Mack Milford was with his family enjoying a game of wall checkers.

Mack gave a warm smile. “Welcome!! Come on in!”

Scott’s sister was taken aback slightly by the cheerful greeting. “Do you know who I am?”

“Of course!! Sydney and I can communicate telepathically.” He said this like it was no big deal. Sydney came in behind us still humming his show tune. The room was filled with a deep, dark presence. How did I keep ending up in these metaphysical food-related situations?

His kids started tugging on his pant leg. One asked, “Who is that big silly stinky pink kitty?”

“I think that thing is here to try the ‘Six Foot Special’ at Daddy’s restaurant. Do you think the stinky kitty could survive that?”

The kids giggled and shook their heads. Mack turned to his wife. “Get their highchairs ready dear, they will want to see this.”

Scott’s sister was trying to regain her composure. “So we got a deal, right? This goofball eats the special and you spill the beans on the bald chic.”

“How do I know this fool in the outfit is close to Scott anyway?”

“The goofball works for him at the pizza place.”

Mack squinted his eyes “Wait a sec, you’re Brian Schropp, that food writer.”

I nodded my head in pride. My name was really getting out there!!

“I love your stuff.” He turned to look at Sydney. “Guess since we have THE premier cuisine reporter on our hands we will have to double the special plus add some extra cheese and bacon to the mix.”

The main clown dropped the creepy act and became all too human. “Wait a sec—listen Mack– you can’t do that, there’s no way the kid is going to make it!!”

“Oh, I’m serious.” He gave a little wink to his kids. “I’m DEADLY serious!!” Mack and his offspring were getting a good evil giggle out of the comment. “Come on gang, there is no more time to waste!! Let’s head over to the restaurant and get this show on the road!”

Scott’s sister turned to me, shrugged, and mouthed, “I’m sorry.”

How, my dear gentle readers, how was I going to make it through this?!! Well, check back for my next thrilling article for all the exciting details (and no, I’m not ‘clowning around’). Until next time my faithful, keep your mouths and minds open to new ideas, Happy Eating!!-Bri

Brian Schropp on Cuisine

October 8, 2015 Leave a comment

Schropp Logo

I was giddy with anticipation after receiving the invitation via Electronic “Snappy” Mail. Arnold and Dotty Blake, family acquaintances who lived a few streets over here in the Deep Northern Suburbs, were opening their first restaurant and wanted me to come over to try a few recipes. I was brimming with pride– it was nice to think the Blakes thought highly enough of my ‘advance taste profile’ to want my opinion. My mom, however, was pretty skeptical of the invite. “Why the hell are they opening a restaurant?” she said, looking at the fancy engraved note on the kitchen table. “They have been retired for years.” She then proceeded to yell in the direction of the living room- “Honey, aren’t Arnold and Dotty who live down the street retired?!”

By Brian Schropp

By Brian Schropp

“I think so dear!” my Dad shouted back. He was in his armchair solving the daily ‘Word Jumble’ in the paper.

My Mom was shaking her head. “Doesn’t make sense. I remember the few times we went over there for neighborhood functions that the food was really bad. I think your dad got sick once eating a hamburger.” Again my mom shouted over- “Honey, didn’t you get sick one time eating a hamburger over there?!”

“Yeah, it was pretty raw in the middle, I think I threw up in their grill!” I heard my Dad give a slight curse, he must have messed up on a letter in the jumble.

“I just don’t get it.” It felt like my Mom was trying to solve the mystery of the century. “Dotty stayed at home even though they had no kids, God knows what she did all day. And he was some type of salesman—“Honey, what did Arnold Blake do again?!!”

Arnold and Betty Blake

Arnold and Betty Blake

“He was a salesman for ‘Nuts, Ah!’ Used to sell nuts all over Lankville, that was back when nuts were a big business, now I think all they’ve got is that kiosk in the mall!” I heard my dad turn on the TV, clearly the jumble was tough today and he didn’t want to be disturbed any further.

“What could a former nuts salesman and his more than likely alcoholic housewife possibly offer anybody in the way of food? And why are they asking you to try stuff? Are they just microwaving breakfast sandwiches?”

I tried to tell my mom that maybe she was being a bit too cynical and even though the Blakes might not be the most skilled chefs, an open mind was needed until the food was tried. This led into a little tangent about how I felt that they (my Mom and Dad) didn’t really respect my work at the paper nor realized how others in the community valued my critical look at most food-related things. But after my rant was done, I looked up to find my Mom had left the kitchen and was in the laundry room folding some sheets. She must have realized I was done ‘standing on my soapbox’ “Well if you are going over there I hope you know you are going to wear something halfway decent. Not any of your ‘Pizza A-Round’ garb, I won’t have Dotty talking about us to others.”

So a few days later I was practically skipping out my front door on a cool crisp evening eagerly awaiting the feast ahead. I had had a few days to dream about the possibilities of the culinary delights, putting my creative mind into overload. Knowing my articles and rep as a food writer, they undoubtedly had some dishes which were geared towards my “advance taste profile”. Maybe real cutting edge fancy stuff like my ‘Deep Northern Meat Bits Loaf Topped With Sweet Southern BBQ in a Green and Yellow Butter Sauce’ for example.

I was greeted by Mr. Blake almost as soon as I had turned into his street. It was almost as if he was waiting in the bushes for me. He shook my hand vigorously while guiding me quickly to their house. “Thanks for coming out Bri. We really appreciate you trying this food.” I tried to ask him which articles he and his wife had enjoyed that made them select me for this task. “Oh, you write for the Daily News? That’s great, you will really enjoy this then” all the while walking me with a steady pace and still pumping my hand ebulliently.

I thought that was pretty odd but really didn’t have time to inquire– we were now at the front door where Dotty Blake was waiting with a big smile on her face. “Good to see you Bri, thanks for coming. Did you bring anyone with you?”

“Oh no. Your invite clearly stated I should come alone. So Mrs. Blake, what do you have in store for my taste buds? They are ready to be tickled.”

“Step inside and see.”

I guess I didn’t have a choice, the momentum from my escort sent me straight through the door. Once everyone was in, the door was closed quickly behind. The Blakes lived in a smaller older northern suburban ranch style house, one that has both the living room and kitchen together in the front. I saw the pan on the stove top and quickly went over to investigate, truth be told I hadn’t had a bite to eat for quite a few hours, saving my appetite for this visit. “I’m keeping my mind open to anything,” I said. “In addition to this dish, if you have a breakfast sandwich or two you can microwave as well, my stomach is really growling–”

Advancing to the stove top I was in for a very bitter disappointment, the only contents in the pan were a few ‘southwestern wieners’ on top of some corn. My first thought was to of course keep the thoughts open, maybe the wieners were stuffed with something. I took a bite and then quickly spat it out, the wieners weren’t even cooked!! Nothing is worse my dear readers than putting a cold southwestern wiener in your mouth. I nibbled a bit of the corn which turned out to be your typical (probably from Foodville) canned corn.

I turned around. “What’s going on guys?”

​Fell for the ol' 'southwestern wieners' with corn in a pan trick

​Fell for the ol’ ‘southwestern wieners’ with corn in a pan trick

Mr. Blake spoke first. “Sorry Bri, the whole opening a restaurant invite was just a ruse to get you over here. We had our orders, there is someone who wanted to talk with you in private.”


My heart thumped with fear when two men entered from an adjoining room, they wore white robes with pizza slices on them. The Floating Baby Pizza Slice Cult!!!!!!

“Follow me into the rumpus room. The leader of the’ Deep Northern Suburban Sect’ wants to see you.”

I hesitantly followed. How could there be a deep northern sect? How deep did this cult go? And more importantly what horrors could await me in a place called a ‘rumpus room’?

I was made to sit down in a nice comfy armchair (much like my Dad’s). Mr. Blake was grumbling how that was his chair but the cult members told him to be quiet. There was a little ceremony involving candles, a bunch of yelling, interpretive dancing, and pizza slices. Both Arnold and Dotty Blake joined in, so they were definitely in this mad cult. Once this foolishness was done a cult member (with pizza smeared on his face) shouted “All hail The Deep Northern Suburban Sect Leader!”

Then from a back room this person walked out. At first I couldn’t tell who it was– their robe was very fluid, covering the face and body. Was it a man or woman? Could it be Lizzie Starlight (who is really BALD btw)? Slowly advancing, the figure stopped before me and pushed back the long hood. And I shit you not dear readers, it was a Lankville reporter, THE SAME LANKVILLE REPORTER WHO IS ALSO THE HEAD OF THE BSU (Breakfast Sandwich Underground). The ‘sect leader’ stood before me with a sinister grin taking in my dropped jaw. “Startling you again I see.”

I wasn’t sure if the comment was a reference to the time I was brought to the grocery store or just the other day when this person innocently knocked into me in the crowded paper bullpen. “You sure keep yourself busy, with the paper, terrorist attacks, cult stuff–,” I said.

“Shut up, we don’t have time to talk about me.” A real Jekyll and Hyde personality. This reporter, whose articles you read everyday, who you bump into on the streets and have a quick talk and laugh– you would never guess the true insidious nature that boils deep within. “I brought you here to talk about one thing, that manager of yours, Scott–”

“Where is he?!!” I hadn’t heard a word from Scott since the curious note he had left me (see my last two thrilling articles!!).

“Somewhere in Southern Lankville.” The cult leader/dear reporter shook their head. ” We thought he really was a chump but this guy is proving us wrong. He’s hell bent on finding Lizzie Starlight and is tearing through all the’ Southern Baby Pizza Slice Sects’. He’s a one man wrecking crew!! We need to find something to stop him, some kind of weakness. Only a person close to him will have the answer–.”

From one of the long robe sleeves a piece of sparkling glass in the shape of a pizza slice was produced. It was lifted in front of my face slowly where it was waved back and forth. “Now watch the glass and tell me how to stop him!”

I watched the pizza slice swing back and forth and its brilliant glow. After a few moments all I saw was the glowing pizza slice with the soft yet evil laugh of the Floating Baby Pizza Slice in the background. Yet with all this metaphysical trickery it could not compel me to reveal anything about Scott.

I wish I could tell you who this reporter is!!

I wish I could tell you who this reporter is!!

“Damn must be the bumpkin in him,” my fellow reporter muttered. “Come on Bri, just tell us something-anything. I mean, we put all these scary robes on and everything.” This in a goofy comical tone. much like what you would expect.

“No way, Scott is my friend.” I clutched the sides of the armchair ready for the cult to do their worse. Mr. Blake briefly complained that I was ruining his chair but yet again he was silenced by the cult members.

The reporter’s face turned from comical to evil again (maybe bi-polar?) “I wish we could torture you, slowly grind this information out of your mouth here in this rumpus room. Yet I am forbidden to harm you for reasons which I won’t go into. Just remember this, if you hear from that manager of yours you tell him ‘The Floating Baby Pizza Slice Cult’ will find a way to stop him. Now go—”

“Do you mind if Ms. Blake heats up some of the southwestern wieners and corn? I haven’t had anything to eat since early afternoon and don’t know if I have the strength to get home.”

“JUST GO!!!”

Once safely back at the house I alerted The Pizza Cult Division of what had happened. Racing over there, they found the Blake’s house empty. The force (along with my folks) were pretty doubtful about my story until one officer pulled out the stove and found one of the wieners lurking in the space behind.

I will not reveal who the reporter was for two reasons- first and foremost the safety of my family. Second, even if I told the Pizza Cult Division who the person was I doubt they would believe me. I swear it would blow your mind!!

So with a heavy heart I can not give you the food review I was hoping for. I sure hope this cult business is cleared up soon and things can get somewhat back to ‘normal’. Until next time my gentle readers, please keep your mind and mouth open to new ideas. Happy Eating!!-Bri

September 30, 2015 Leave a comment

Schropp Logo

By Brian Schropp

By Brian Schropp

So there I was, dressed pretty as a picture in a pink dress with makeup on. Scott’s Grandmother was leading me around the trailers (in their traditional Eastern Lankville ‘F’ formation) to where Scott’s Dad (Daddy) was being held. My knees were shaking in the adorable white stockings with rose prints I was wearing. Supposedly these were the actual stockings Daddy’s sister had been buried in (exhumed to help me play the part of the dead woman. I could hear the rantings and ravings of Daddy before we even reached his trailer.

“I sure hope the loon tells you where that infernal birthday cake is,” Scott’s Grandmother was muttering while twirling around the gun she held on me not so long ago. “Sure looked like a damn fine cake.”

We were in front of the trailer door far sooner than I had hoped. I was shaking all over now, the screams were a mere trailer wall away. I’ve dealt with some loonies in my time (one is even running for President currently) but this one seemed on a whole new level.

Scott’s Grandma was making last minute adjustments to my makeup while trying to calm me down. “Now just go in there and try not to talk too much. Hopefully in his crazed state he won’t question your voice. Be direct as possible and just try to find out where Ma’s cake is. I’m hoping with just the shock of seeing ‘his sister’ he will blurt it out. Once you get that answer, you get out as quick as possible and lock the door behind you. We don’t need him running loose again.”

After a few deep breaths, Scott’s Grandma unlocked the door and slowly opened it.

Scott's Dad (Daddy).

Scott’s Dad (Daddy).

“Daddy-Daddy? We brought someone to talk to you. Just calm down, now. It’s your dead sister—.”

There was an eerie silence coming from the trailer, a complete contrast to the madness a few seconds ago. Grandma nodded her head and I slowly crept past her. “Now just be direct and find out about that cake.” With a slap on my butt she closed the door behind me.

Daddy was across the room in a corner by the window, his hands were tied behind his back and he was breathing heavily. The man’s eyes were red with tears which glistened off his cheeks but for the moment his face was the picture of calm. “Thelma? Is that really you?”

I smiled sweetly, giving a little wave.

“Talk to me girl. Why did you come back from the dead again? Why are you here?”

I giggled a little before speaking. “I was hopin’ you could tell me where that birthday cake might be hidin’. The family is sure pitchin’ a fit about it.”

His eyes narrowed. “It doesn’t sound like you Thelma.”

I had to think quick on my feet. “Well I’ve been dead for so long. Bein’ buried in the ground changes you.”

“Step out more in the light so I can see ya.”

I stepped out a little more and gave a quick twirl, giggling again. “See, just plain ol’ me!!”

“You’re still a beautiful sweet thing even after all this time.” He paused and nodded over to the corner opposite of him. “See that over there? That hot dog costume was your favorite thing to wear. Remember when we got it at ‘Sir Frank’s Medieval Hot Dog Park’? Now if that’s really you Thelma you will go on over there and put it on.”

I walked over, dusted off the costume and even though it was a few sizes too small I squeezed myself into it. My stunning cosmetic face popped out of the front. “See Daddy it’s really me.”

His face grew even calmer. For a few seconds I thought this kooky scheme might actually work. Then the rage quickly filled his eyes and spread to his face, finally causing his body to jerk up and tug madly at the bonds which held him. “YOU AIN’T MY SISTER!! YOU’RE JUST THAT DAMN FOOL BOY WHO WORKS WITH SCOTT!!”

With the rage of a thousand Dr. Nickelbee’s he rushed at me. And yes my life did flash before my eyes, I honestly thought this was the end. Sometimes it’s the simplest things that save you, this time it was a nail sticking just enough out of the floor. Daddy in his mad dash tripped right over it and with no hands to brace the fall he smacked the floor hard, knocking himself out.

Not sure what to do, I did my best making myself comfortable in the awkward suit until he woke up. Daddy wasn’t out for too long. He lifted his head up and with the look of a great philosophical master said to me, “You got part bumpkin in ya’, I can tell.”

I nodded my head. I could plainly see the madness was at least temporarily knocked out of him. Now if I didn’t have a heart I would just get the info on the cake and leave. But I knew Scott cared for his dad even if he didn’t really show it so if I could get to the root of the problem maybe I could help. “Why did you steal your wife’s birthday cake in the first place?”

The tears began to flow again. “That woman–that damn woman don’t deserve no cake. Nor do I deserve anything anymore. The way our son disgraced us, our family’s honor, the shame upon us. We will be laughed out of this hill before long, We were a family which was feared in these parts until—until…”

“The Floating Baby Pizza Cult,” I said softly.

“To be unknowingly involved in something so awful is disgrace enough but now my boy had to really screw it up!! He done gone and laid with that witch woman who was—-”

I couldn’t even say it for him, it was that awful.

Daddy jumped up yelling a roar only a member of Scott’s family could do. He hopped around howling before kicking a table of guns behind him. “SHE WAS BALD, THAT DAMN WITCH WOMAN WAS BALD!!”

So very true, Lizzie Starlight who turned out to be a High Priestess for the cult was completely and utterly bald (and I KNEW IT from the first day I saw her). It’s a very old code that stands in these hills of Eastern Lankville but still holds true even today. If a man unknowingly beds a woman who is bald it brings instant shame to that house which will never be forgiven.

Scott's Mom with her birthday cake.

Scott’s Mom with her birthday cake.

Daddy collapsed on the floor and rolled around with the unending pain. After a moment he looked at me. “Tell that damn family of mine I will just be crazy for a few more days, I feel it almost gone from me. Tell grandma to leave some water and an open can of ‘Lankville O’s’ inside the door. And if they really want to celebrate that woman’s birthday, well, then the cake is in the fourth rusted truck in the field.”

I left Daddy to his madness. Crossing the field in my hot dog suit and makeup, I reflected on how Daddy’s disappointment in his son almost reflected my own Dad’s dismay with me. Hopefully, if Scott survived his fight against the cult maybe this could bring us closer again.

Well, Scott’s Mom was over the moon when I brought the cake in. I was glad I could make her day and give this now damned family at least a little bit of enjoyment.

How would you, dear reader, imagine any festive occasion with Scott’s family turning out? Yes, of courses, it was soon a chaotic mess. Scott’s Mom decided she didn’t want to share any of her cake since it was missing for so long. The yelling and throwing of trailer items was soon replaced with guns drawn between Scott’s Mom, Scott’s Grandmother and Scott’s Sister. I quickly slipped out with ‘my outfit’ still on (the women had refused to give me back my clothes). The sun was setting fast over the hills and I somehow had to get home wearing this mess!!

Until next time dear readers, keep your mind and mouth open to new ideas.

Happy Eating!!-Bri

Schropp Book Filth Says Local Activist

September 23, 2015 Leave a comment
Buck Igloos

Buck Igloos


Some people don’t like Brian Schropp’s new bestseller Breakfast Sandwich Boy and they’re making their voices heard.

Self-proclaimed “morality activist” Amanda Jennifers says that the book is “filth” and should be banned from stores.

“The book contains bad language, sexual congress, bumpkins and pizza– all the things we are trying to teach our children to avoid,” said Jennifers, who gave a short speech before a small lectern this afternoon. “All of these things are decaying the moral threads of Lankville.”

“Kids are buying this filth, passing it around in locker rooms and by wooded areas and are becoming converted to this freewheeling pizza lifestyle,” Jennifers added.

Lankville University Press, Schropp’s publisher, issued a short statement.

Schropp's new book causing a rumpus.

Schropp’s new book causing a rumpus.

Breakfast Sandwich Boy is an honest depiction of an alternative lifestyle. We have no intention of censoring it.

The author, interviewed during a break from his shift at the Pizza A-Round, said he was saddened that some people were offended.

“I write from the heart, from a good place inside the heart, a place of brightness. I am lusciously sorry that anyone was offended,” said Schropp.

The 266-page collection, culled from stories originally published in The Lankville Daily News became a bestseller in its first week.

“It’s been on our “staff picks” shelf the whole time,” said Larry Pendleton’s Double Book Hut employee Larry Klacik, who was intoxicated. “Everyone always looks forward to a new book from Brian.”

Jennifers says she will take her argument all the way to President Pondicherry if necessary.

“This is a new moral movement in Lankville. We will prevail.”

Meeting Scott’s Family: A Very Special Brian Schropp

September 22, 2015 Leave a comment

Schropp Logo

By Brian Schropp

By Brian Schropp

The note came to me during a hellish mid-morning rush at the ‘Pizza-A-Round’.

Truthfully, all times have been quite hellish since Scott (my manager) has been away. He initially got wrapped up in the glam and glitz of community theater with his lover ‘Lizzie Starlight’ (not her real name, actually BALD!!). And now Scott is out seeking revenge upon her once it was revealed that ‘Lizzie’ is really a High Priestess of a whacked out pizza sect who tricked Scott into doing some of her evil dark cultish bidding.

No one at ‘The Round’ had heard from him since and it showed- the place was almost at its breaking point, teetering on full-blown anarchy. Rumors were running wild along the prep line that the owner was going to be bringing someone new in soon but who knew when that would be or what would Scott think when he got back?

I didn’t see who dropped off the message (one of the phone staff brought it back to me). I was too busy trying to help Big James clean up his nacho cheese station. Without the stern hand of Scott lording over him, he had really let it go and weeks worth of nacho cheese were encrusted on his work table. The Health Department (making a surprise visit) were giving us two hours to clean up the mess (along with a million other areas) so I was taking an industrial-size sander to it.

The note itself was just a folded piece of paper which either had blood or pizza sauce on it. Pulling up my goggles (safety first!!!) I took a look-

Bri- Need a big favor. Word has gotten to me that some ‘major shit’ is going down on the homestead. It was my Mom’s birthday a few days ago and for some reason, Dad hid her cake. This will not stand. I want you to go over, assess the situation, and find that cake. Be back soon-Scott

At the bottom were vague instructions on how to get to his house.

I was at a crossroads on what I should do. I didn’t feel right leaving “the Round” on the verge of possible permanent closure yet Scott wouldn’t have sent the note if it wasn’t urgent. I was going to ask Chet Cameron (who fancied himself ‘the big dude on campus’) but he was up to his eyelids getting pizza after pizza out of the oven. So I went to Charlie ‘The Nugget Guy’ who was crisping up the chicken delights for a ‘Mid Morning Snack Pizza’.

My manager, Scott. When was he coming back?

My manager, Scott. When was he coming back?

“Well Bri, Scott still is technically in charge so you would just be following orders. Anyway, this place is so crazy right now with the health department here that no one will notice you were gone. Just look over there, Big James has been snoring in that corner for hours without one fool giving a second look.”

So, taking Charlie’s advice, I crept out the back, unchained my push scooter and headed towards Deep Eastern Suburban Lankville. I never understood why people called this area ‘suburban’. Sure, there are houses (mainly trailer homes) scattered around but it’s mainly large rocky hillsides with a low-lying swamp region. It was taking all my strength to push my sleek scooter up the winding roadways (I had also been using an industrial sander not that long ago) and then the sudden mind-numbing descents marred by the semi-poisonous smell of  ‘swamp gas’.

Up and down, up and down. I lost all sense of direction which really didn’t matter because Scott’s directions were so vague in the first place!! Not to mention all the natives in their huge trucks or rusted out cars flying around the corners almost knocking me off the roadway. The madness finally came to a head when one guy in his truck pulled over after almost hitting me. I didn’t really notice him (or his loud cussing) I was too busy in my haze muttering to myself, slowly pushing the scooter up the steep embankment. The next thing I knew I was flying off the hill with my scooter (broken in two) not far behind. The sweet hand of fate must have been looking out for me. I bounced off an Eastern Pine with minimal impact and landed in a heavy bed of pine cones that cushioned my fall. I rolled down the rest of the way. The big tumble shook me out of my fog and I dusted myself off while taking a look around.

Scott's grandmother

Scott’s grandmother

Before me was a group of trailer homes, three of them to be exact, in the classic Eastern ‘F’ formation. My heart beamed when I saw by the mailbox a spray-painted cardboard sign which read ‘Scott’s Domain’. I knew Scott was a popular name for the area plus it was known in these parts that last names weren’t used but hopefully I had just hit lighting in a bottle. I realized this was the correct port of call when a little further down the driveway there was another spray-painted sign which read, “I AM SCOTT”. Rubbing my hands together I thought, “let’s get down to this cake business.”

Approaching the first  trailer (which made the back of the classic ‘F’ shape) I was greeted by an older lady pointing a gun at me. This turned out to be Scott’s Grandmother.

“You better start talkin’ quick, why you’re steppin’ on Scott’s Domain.”

I waved the note in the air. “Hello!! Scott sent me here to help you guys.”

She aimed the gun and shot the note right out of my hand, it was quite a feat of marksmanship! “A lot of folks named Scott in these parts. A lot of folks bring notes too.”

“He-he said in that note that his Dad hid a birthday cake. I’m pretty sure I have the right place, I saw a spray-painted sign back there with ‘I AM SCOTT’, he yells that all the time.”

“Well, that is my grandson’s ‘calling yell.”  She eyed me up and down more carefully. “We did get a note from Scott saying he was sending some sort of simpleton who worked for him.”

“I bet he couldn’t reach that person so he got me instead.”

She eyed a pile of trash bags that were near me. “Scott said the person would know what to do with them sacks.”

Scott must have forgotten to include this detail in his note but I knew what to do anyway. I took off my clothes and made a trash bag poncho out of one.

“And the dance? The note also spoke of a dance.”

Again, not referenced on my side. I could only think of one thing, the popular ‘Pizza Whip’ dance which Scott would make employees do for a chuckle. So I gave it my best shot (so I wouldn’t be) flinging my arms and hips in that nutty rhythmic motion.

After a full minute she chuckled and told me to stop my gyrating . “Scott sent us no note, haven’t heard from that little shit since this damn pizza cult business. I guess any fool who goes through these lengths musta’ been sent here. Come inside and mind the waterworks.” I decided to leave the trash bag poncho on.

Inside their ‘living area’ there was a younger woman (Scott’s Sister) trying to comfort a middle-aged lady (Scott’s Mom) who had her head down on the kitchen table crying uncontrollably. The sister looked up at me and asked, “Who is this freak and why is he wearing a trash bag?”

“Says Scott sent him on down to talk with Daddy about the birthday cake.” The mention of the cake sent Scott’s Mom into a harder crying fit.

Scott’s Sister took a swig from a bottle she was holding before talking. “Oh yeah, I meant to say Scott sent a letter about him.” She nodded over to a messy area which had a few chairs and a TV showing a scrambled talk show, “Said if it was really him he would know what to with that outfit.”

I walked over and saw a pink dress haphazardly thrown over one of the chairs. I looked at some of the other dirty clothes laying about in hopes that it could possibly be another garment. “Nope said it was the dress.” Could Scott’s sister read minds?  Why didn’t he mention this in the note!!  I quickly took off the trash bag and got into the dress, then giving myself a nice spin around. I thought the pink ensemble actually fit my form quite well!

Scott’s Mother looked up through the tears. “And the make up, the letter also said make up—“. I had no idea how to apply any sort of cosmetics so with the unsteady hand of Scott’s Sister (I could smell whiskey on her breath) the bright blues and deep pinks were applied.

When all was said and done I stepped back for the three ladies to see. “Well–isn’t this proof enough?!!”

Scott's sister

Scott’s sister

There was brief silence. The silence was followed by hysterical laughing. Even Scott’s Mom who moments before was on the verge of a breakdown couldn’t control herself. After many, many minutes of laughter, things finally calmed down. Scott’s Grandmother led me over to the kitchen table and told me to have a seat. She got a glass of strawberry milk out of the fridge for me. “Start drinking this and we will tell you what’s really going on.” Scott’s Sister walked over and started to pour the contents of her bottle into my glass causing it to spill over. “You’re going to need this breakfast sandwich boy.”

Scott’s Grandmother spoke again. ” Now let’s quit all of the joking around, yes Brian, we knew you were coming. The situation with the birthday cake is all too real. Daddy has hidden it and won’t tell us where or why. We got him tied up in another trailer, no easy feat, still won’t give us any clue. He’s hysterical, ranting and raving like a mad man. At first we thought it was just a bender but the man has been sober for a few days now.”

Scott’s Mom, who was in good spirits, turned sour again placing her head on the table. “I just want my cake!!”

I was looking at my make-up job in the reflection of my strawberry milk glass. “Why the dress and the make up?”

“Well Bri, Scott’s sister has been staying in touch with Scott throughout his ‘pizza cult ordeal’. They have always been close, a little too close sometimes if you ask me. Anyways, since Scott couldn’t come back he came up with this crazy scheme. He said he always thought that in a dress and make up, you Brian would look exactly like Daddy’s long dead sister which in fact you really do!”

Scott’s Grandmother took out a picture and showed me-she was quite right!!

“It’s a long shot but we’re hoping if you go in and pretend to be the long lost spirit of his sister you will be able to get the whereabouts of the cake. A very risky plan though, if Daddy catches on even with his hands tied he will attack like a savage dog. We had to somehow get you in the dress and make-up in case you said no.”

“What about the trash bag?”

“Scott said you would fall for anything. That was me just having a bit of fun–”

Scott’s Mom looked up from the table again, a sobbing mess. “You gotta help me get my birthday cake!!”

What choice did I have now? Could I pull off playing the part of Daddy’s dead sister? Find out next article dear readers. Happy Eating!!-Brian

Is There an Evil Side to Pizza? Brian Schropp on Cuisine

September 15, 2015 Leave a comment
By Brian Schropp

By Brian Schropp

Is there an evil side to pizza? I know dear readers, pause, take a deep breath and really think about it. Of course, your mind automatically retreats to all the good- the anticipation of opening that delivery box to all the cheesy goodness inside, the way the pleasure zones of the mind sparkle when the mixture of cheeseburger and tomato sauce hits your quaking taste buds whilst enjoying ‘A Mid Morning Snack Pizza’, the joys of watching the hottest pizza play around ‘Ektar- Pizza Champion’. But could there be darkness lurking just behind all that light?

I was back from my somewhat enjoyable if rather disturbing vacation (please see my last article!!) and was shocked to find four daily showings of ‘Ektar- Pizza Champion’ at the Pondicherry Performance Center. Scott, my manager at the ‘Pizza-A-Round’ (now sporting a beret with pizza slices on it) was over the moon when he passed me at the front doors. “I can’t believe it Bri, this play is finally making me famous!! I never thought I could be what society deems a ‘somebody’.” I tried to ask him how things were at ‘home base’ (my silly nickname for ‘The Round’). “Don’t know to tell you the truth, been way to busy with this play to really deal with that place. Press interviews, hanging out in the coolest theater nightspots, getting my feet rubbed by beautiful groupies, it’s all so much!” I found this a little odd– even though he often talked about leaving the ‘pizza trade’ for bigger things I never thought he would just abandon ‘The Round’ so suddenly. I also took note of the nicer clothes he was wearing and some recent weight loss. “Quit drinking the beer and now I’m drinking this sparkling water sorta shit Lizzie gives me. Making me feel clear you know? Coming up with all sorts of shit for the follow up plays. Did I tell you I’m selling my guns?—”

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

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

At this point Lizzie Starlight (co writer of Ektar and my former stage partner) came up from behind and started to rub Scott’s shoulders. “Say sweetie, the next performance is going to start soon. We need to see if that actor playing ‘the fourth pepperoni stick’ is really up to snuff.” Scott took leave, grumbling under his breath about what would happen to the actor if he messed up. At least he waved a quick goodbye to me, Lizzie didn’t even acknowledge my existence!!

Even though I was only gone a week I had a hard time getting into the performance center. Having a big part early on in the making of this play seemed to have no weight on getting me through the doors– I needed a ticket for the sold out show. My pleas of needing to check out what was new in the vending machines were falling on deaf ears when I suddenly heard, “don’t worry-don’t worry I have an extra ticket for him!!” I turned around to see none other than my whacked out therapist Dr. Nickelbee pushing past people and waving two tickets excitedly in the air. Just great, I thought, he is LAST person I wanted to see having just returned from vacation.

Why a freak like him had two tickets I will never know. He also spent the extra extra dough and got the really good front row cushy seats which he was all giggly about. Before the show started he kept asking me how my vacation was (while rubbing my leg). When I tried to tell him how strange my trip had been, he would just cut me off and start talking loudly (annoying the folks around us) about how much he was looking forward to the play. He had even bought fake ‘Ektar novelty horns’ (the character is half-man, half-buffalo) in the lobby and put them on.

Finally the lights started to dim (and he was gripping my knee tight!!). I was surprised to find the opening changed. The laser light show was now the opening scene followed by what appeared to be a bigger and much more realistic floating baby pizza slice. After a moment, the eyes of the baby lit up and it started talking in a weird voice that didn’t make any sense. I looked around and saw that the audience was totally mesmerized by this! It was then that I felt Nickelbee’s hand tighten on my knee–I turned to see his face twisted in pure horror. Before I had time to find out what was wrong he stood up screaming.


The Floating Baby Pizza Slice- true evil?

The Floating Baby Pizza Slice- true evil?

Then Nickelbee fled holding his head shrieking out the door. The lights came back on and the giant pizza baby floated back behind the drawn curtain. People were looking around at each other strangely. I was of course overly-embarrassed by the whole ordeal and with the dirty looks I was getting from the stage hands I knew it was best for me to go after Dr. Nickelbee.

I found his car open and abandoned in the parking lot and could hear his screams a few blocks away. The electric car must of broke down again, I thought. I walked slowly after him, following his loud howls in the night (which was one continuous stream) all the way through Northern Lankville to his offices. He left the office building and his own personal office door wide open. I heard him sobbing from under his desk. I walked over to where I usually sit on the couch and grabbed a few peanuts from a bowl on a nearby table. It took me a moment to find the right words. “So,—I take it something was bothering you?”


I had no intention of really staying but the peanuts were those sugary kind which taste like candy, they can be so addicting!! Before long he just started to babble from under the desk. He talked about having visions of the baby pizza slice ever since he was a little kid. The slice would tell him to do all sorts of bad things, things he didn’t want to talk about. This otherworldly slice would also haunt his dreams telling him that one day all of Lankville would worship the baby like a God. When he was a teenager ‘the evil’ (which Nickelbee was now calling it) was trying to get him to kill elected officials!

“It was then Bri that I knew there was only one thing I could do. In my dreams I had to eat the floating baby slice, swallowing that thing whole would end the horror. CAN YOU IMAGINE FORCING YOURSELF TO EAT A BABY WHO IS MADE OUT OF PIZZA?!! HAVE YOU EVER HEARD ANYTHING SO ABSURD?!!”

Supposedly, that did the trick for him until he saw it floating before him tonight.

There was a long silence and then he returned to a sobbing mess and I’m pretty sure I smelled urine. With the bowl of peanuts also finished I really had no other business here. Walking back, I started not only thinking about tonight’s events but the things that happened during my stay at the ‘Pizza Inn’. Could they somehow be related? Then it dawned on me- the beret which Scott was wearing tonight looked much the same style as the robed men I saw at the Inn– white with tiny pizza slices on it!

Paranormal Investigator Dexter Kornish.

Paranormal Investigator Dexter Kornish.

I desperately needed more answers. Instead of heading home I went over to the house of renowned Paranormal Investigator Dexter Kornish. I am a big fan of his books on the supernatural occurrences along Highway 71 and other like subject matters. He was very gracious letting me into house late at night and even offering me a large glass of strawberry milk. We sat down in his spacious offices which were located in the basement with some old exercise equipment.

“So Bri, how can I help you?”

I was nervous about relating the whole story so far. What if he didn’t believe me? I never read anything about a floating baby pizza slice in his books before. He listened attentively to everything I said then took a pipe out of his desk drawer and began puffing on it. He shook his head and muttered “absolutely fantastic.”

After another pause he turned directly to me. “I’m going to let you in on a little secret which I hope you won’t share (sorry Dexter but I have an article to do!!) Half the stuff I write about is pure BS. Total crap just made up for money.”

My heart sank to the floor “You mean the stuff about Highway 71?—”

“Oh that place is totally fucked beyond belief, you wouldn’t wanted to know the truth about what’s going on there. You see the money I make off writing about the fake happenings helps me channel funds into my real paranormal investigations- the things I share only with fellow investigators. If the real stuff got out your typical Lankville citizen wouldn’t be able to handle it. If their minds didn’t explode they would certainly go mad jumping off buildings and the such. I hate to tell you this but the Floating Baby Pizza Slice is far too real.”

Kornish took a large stuffed folder out of a messy file cabinet. “Have you ever read about the pizza prohibition and how it started?”

“Of course! In school they told us it was about criminals smuggling illegal cheese from the Lankville Islands to all the pizza places.”

“That’s what they what you to believe. The real reason, which has been covered up by the Lankville higher ups for years, has to do with pizza cults.”

He showed me photostats from the file folder with all sorts of articles and secret documents telling of the pizza-related societies who tried over the years ‘topping’ the current rule of law in Lankville. Several made references to a floating baby pizza slice who was either worshipped or came to people in visions. Dexter even had a whole separate folder on the slice which told about these demonic possessions since the beginning of recorded Lankville history!! In recent times it seems these particular stories have trailed off until last year when sightings came back full force.

He took out a picture from a top drawer, it a screen shot from some grainy VHS tape.

“This was taken only last week from a top secret Pondicherry home video. See that strange triangular shape in the sky?”

Actual footage of the slice!!

Actual footage of the slice!!

I looked really hard. “Not sure if I see anything.”

“Oh come now, really look hard. You’re no dummy!”

I squinted with all my soul. “Yeah-yeah I think I see it!”

“Recorded evidence of the slice, what further proof do we need that the floating abomination from the underworld is indeed back? So you say this play everyone is raving about has something like this in it?” I nodded. “And it’s being run by your manager at the ‘Pizza-A-Round and a woman named ‘Lizzie Starlight?’ Well I better go up there tomorrow and check this out. Until then DO NOT WRITE ABOUT THIS IN THE PAPER AT ALL!!”

Well readers, it’s been a few days since that conversation and I haven’t heard from Dexter Kornish at all. I know what he said but I am now publishing this in hopes someone has information about his whereabouts. If anyone does can you tell him to contact me via the paper. I tried tapping on his basement window a few times but his folks keep chasing me off. Can all of this be true? And how far is Scott wrapped up in it? I thought I knew him and not only thought of him as a manger but somewhat of a friend as well. I’m going to try find answers to all of this and will let you know dear readers what I uncover. Until next time- please keep your mind and mouth open to new ideas. Happy eating!!-Bri

%d bloggers like this: