Posts Tagged ‘Cuisine’


August 8, 2017 Leave a comment

By Brian Schropp

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


Scott Pizzaman, my “pizza brother” for life.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Uh, selling shrimp.”

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

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

“Bryant Shrope.”


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


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

“I’m selling Popcorn shrimp.”

“Vegan Popcorn shrimp?”

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

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

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

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


“Excuse me? Do you know who I am?”

Delicious popcorn shrimp (file photo).


“Brian Schropp with The Lankville Daily News.”

“Oh, that paper interviewed me once.”

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

“Craig might have heard of you.”

“Who’s that?”

“My friend who gives me the shrimp.”

“Is his last name Vegan?”

The clueless joker laughed at me again.

“What’s so funny about that?!”

“Sounds like a stupid last name.”

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

“Bri-Bri, where are you?!!”

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

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

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

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

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


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


The dastardly Vegan Brothers.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



July 5, 2017 Leave a comment

By Brian Schropp

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dr. Nickelbee in happier times.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Just chia seeds, man take it easy.”

What the hell was I given?

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

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

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

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



June 9, 2017 Leave a comment

By Brian Schropp

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

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

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

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

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

“Uh-yes-I think.”

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

“Something is hot? Is it on fire?”

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

“Do I know you? You sound familiar.”

Delicious little weiners (file photo).

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

“Scott, is that you?”

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

“So is true about ‘Mr. Pizza Slice’?”

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

“How do you know?”

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

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

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

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

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

Mr. Pizza Slice (photo by Scott Pizzaman).

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

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

“Uh, can I get a free sample?”

“What are you mumbling about?”

“Your sign out front says a free sample.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


June 1, 2017 Leave a comment

By Brian Schropp

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The monstrosity– the “Anti-Pizza”.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Brian Schropp won a trophy for this report.


May 25, 2017 Leave a comment

By Brian Schropp

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

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

Scott Pizzaman- a great friend and ‘pizza brother’

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

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

Hank Cameron– so-called manager.

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

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

​The only picture I was able to get!

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

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

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

Scott Answers Your Pizza Questions

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

By Scott, Manager of the Pizza A-Round

Scott is the manager of the Pizza A’Round.

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

Dear Doc,

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


Where did pizza originate?
Carlton Zupo
Lankville Standard Sand Beach

Dear Carlton,

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

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


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

Dear Leonard,

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

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



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

Cuisine Scribe Schropp Wins Singing Contest

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

By Lloyd Byas-Kirk


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

Schropp Island

Brian Schropp was the winner.

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

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

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

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

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

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

The winning video may be seen here:



July 20, 2016 Leave a comment
Brian Schropp

Brian Schropp

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

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



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

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

The true work of genius.

The true work of genius.

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

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

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

Feeling So-So Alive!

June 30, 2016 Leave a comment
By Brian Schropp

By Brian Schropp

Brian Schropp returns to the Lankville Daily News!

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘Yeah-yeah, no worries, Scott.”

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

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

Noted pizza delivery man Ronnie La Hoyt.

Noted pizza delivery man Ronnie La Hoyt.

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

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

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

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

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

To be continued?

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

SPECIAL REPORT: Pizza Man Disappears

October 22, 2015 Leave a comment
By Brian Schropp

Brian Schropp, Special Pizza Correspondent

So, it was a very early day for me at the Pizza A-Round, I had to be there at the crack of dawn to give the signboard a good wash. “Going to be walking up and down Fairland Road all day mister,” Davis ‘Bud’ Huggins had said to me the previous night. He chuckled faintly. “Going to work that chub off you once and for all.” He thought that remark was somewhat hilarious and looked to the local jocks from the high school (he just recently hired them) for approval. “Alright boys, throw him in the dumpster. His shift is over anyways.” NOW THAT WAS UNCALLED FOR!!! I pulled myself from the trash and did the slow walk home stressing over the next morning.

​Davis 'Bud' Huggins- where did he go?

​Davis ‘Bud’ Huggins- where did he go?

The dawn came calling far too soon, the alarm clock buzzing portending the doom and gloom that awaited me. My Mom was concerned about all the breakfast sandwiches I was eating, “you just had a plate full last night, you can’t be eating those all the time. Plus the ‘Shop ‘N’ Bulk’ stopped carrying those huge plastic containers of strawberry milk. I think it’s time you cut back on those too.” Didn’t she understand how stressed I was over all these changes at work? She countered that being an adult was to handle these types of work situations in a mature fashion unlike the time I had the major meltdown under the main display table at ‘Pete’s Slacks Emporium’ (a job I had a LONG time ago). I told her this was much different citing me winding up in a dumpster as an example. My dad looked up from his ‘Word Jumble’ and motioned to the baseball bat by the front door. “Son. Don’t take that crap from them, take that bat with you and set them straight.” I know my dad wants me to stick up for myself more but didn’t he understand my sweet and tender nature? My mom of course thought I was ‘over- exaggerating’, she didn’t think someone as wholesome and good-looking as ‘The Bud’ would do such a thing. If she only really knew!!

OK-OK, I know, dear readers I’m getting side-tracked, you guys want the juicy details of the main story. Anyway, I was on my push scooter trying to get my head around working a full godawful day. When I turned the corner by Lorain and Fairland Road I saw all the police cars at the Pizza A-Round. I pushed harder on my scooter cutting through traffic to glide right in under all the yellow police tape wrapped around the parking lot. Inside I found a bunch of officers at the front counter shooting the shit while drinking coffee from small styrofoam cups. Calls were already coming in early for orders, the cops were picking up the phones and pretending to take them as a joke. They didn’t seem to care that I was there so I went past them and found Detective Gee Temple by the main prep station. He was absently turning a ladle around in a pizza sauce can.

“Hey there Bri, might be having a short work shift today. “Seems like your boss (here, Gee-Temple removed a piece of paper from his pocket to make sure he got the name right) Davis Huggins is gone.”

My mouth dropped open and mouthed the last word he said.

“Yup, a co-worker came in earlier this morning to find the place had not been locked up. Lights on, pizza ovens still running with pizzas on the floor, you get the picture. The back door was left wide open as well, Mr. Huggins’s big obnoxious pickup truck is back there, just no him. Footprints which I believe are his go right into the woods. So yeah, looks like he is gone.” Gee Temple waved an arm in the air like he was revealing some invisible stairs Davis Huggins had stepped onto.

We stood starring at each other for a moment without saying anything. “So Bri, Lloyd Byas-Kirk is already out back. Let’s check to see what he has to say.”

Detective Gee-Temple

Detective Gee-Temple

Walking by even more policemen with tiny styrofoam cups we passed the cleaning sinks to the back parking lot. Huggins’s big obnoxious truck (with bull horns on the grill) stayed silent giving no statement on the events it had witnessed last night. Lloyd Byas-Kirk was by the dumpsters, he seemed enthralled by the poking of a dead rat with a stick.

“Hey there Lloyd, what do you make of all of this?” Gee-Temple asked.

Lloyd looked up with a slight vacant look in his eyes and then pointed the stick (which now had blood and guts from the rat on the tip) towards the woods. “Well the footprints match someone of his weight and height. Had to be him, just walked off in the middle of the night.”

“Think he coulda’ been blown into the woods and destroyed like that Nixon fella?” Gee-Temple asked excitedly.

“Nah, just walked off,” Byas-Kirk replied. Gee-Temple seemed disappointed.

​”Yup, just walked off,” the detective finally agreed. “Was just telling Bri here all about that. The co-worker also showed me what Mr. Huggins wanted posted on the social media site last night. Just snapped under the pressure and walked off—-gone.” He waved his arm in the air again.

Lloyd turned to me. “Didn’t you say once those woods lead up to the hill country?”

I nodded– hadn’t my fellow reporter read the articles I did earlier this year about my adventures in the Northern Hill Country?

Gee-Temple shook his head. “Well, if that’s the case and he makes it all the way up there then Mr. Huggins is a goner for sure.”

Lloyd went back to poking the rat.

A few hours later all the police hubbub died down and the yellow tape was removed from the parking lot. “Are you going to try and open?” the detective asked while both of us watched the phones ringing off the hook. A very ragtag crew had showed up, it wasn’t ‘The A Crew”, that was for sure. I decided it was worth a shot, I would put on my best Scott impersonation and give it a go. Well, my readers, let me just tell you, it was hell, chaos ruled the next few hours. I can’t remember everything– much like a soldier in the heat of some terrible battle the memories all blur together. I just remember we didn’t get much right, in fact maybe not a single order. There was a lot of screaming, lots of yelling, tears and then some more.

By early afternoon something quite magical happened. With the news of Davis ‘Bud’ Huggins departure, the ‘old crew’ started to come back in like they were never fired!! ‘Big’ James, Charlie ‘The Nugget Guy’ and finally by four, Chet Cameron!! With the ‘Master of the Prep Line’ at the helm the orders finally started coming together and going out right!! By late evening word had gotten down to us from the owners that a new interim manager would be coming in the near future. But when? How would this new person be? When would Scott be back?

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

UPDATE ON THE PIZZA CULT! Cuisine by Brian Schropp

September 17, 2015 Leave a comment
By Brian Schropp

By Brian Schropp

As I promised dear readers I’m updating you on the events surrounding my last article and, boy, there is a lot of ground to cover!

Lankville authorities descended on the Pondicherry Performance Center in full force the other day. Paddy wagons, helicopters, people in riot gear climbing down ropes, boats with guns trying to make their way up from the nearby shallow creek. I was watching all this from Dr. Nickelbee’s electric car in the parking lot (I was trying to get it started for him) so luckily I didn’t get swept up with all the other people being dragged out and beaten and then tossed into one of the wagons. A small tear did come to my eye when I saw Scott being brought out separately in cuffs and placed in a squad car. He didn’t seem to put up much resistance. I wondered if maybe it was the ‘sparkling water sorta shit’ he drank now instead of beer or maybe “the old Scott” was just a front to deceive people from his true cultish intentions.

When the authorities learned who I was they said a Special Agent from the ‘Pizza Cult Division’ wanted to speak with me. I was brought to their makeshift command center which was being set up on the other side of the parking lot. Inside the main trailer, I was introduced to Agent Spiffy. I have to admit I was getting pretty nervous– I was unknowingly involved in many aspects of the play. Agent Spiffy assured me I wasn’t under suspicion but that he just wanted to hear my version of events, unless I wanted to admit I was a part of the ‘Floating Baby Pizza Slice Cult’, then I would be thoroughly beaten and thrown in with the others. He was pretty upfront about the through beating part.

I told him what I knew about Scott, Lizzie Starlight, the play and even everything that had happened at the ‘Pizza Inn.’

Evil Abomination- The Floating Baby Pizza Slice!!

Evil Abomination- The Floating Baby Pizza Slice!!

Here is what I learned from Agent Spiffy– Lizzie Starlight is, in reality, a High Priestess for The Floating Baby Pizza Slice Cult and has been using community theaters all over Lankville to convert unsuspecting citizens into cult members!! Get this folks, Lizzie Starlight isn’t even her real name, just one of many aliases! And even crazier, THAT’S NOT HER REAL HAIR (I knew it was a wig!). Spiffy said that all High Priestesses are ‘bald as a cue ball’ (he giggled kinda weirdly after saying that phrase). The way the scheme went down was that Lizzie would attach herself to whatever production was going on in town, specifically the worst one possible (mine must have been an exemption), then slowly introduces pizza elements by adding in The Floating Baby Pizza Slice. Agent Spiffy wasn’t sure if the big slice was some sort of advanced machinery or the evil metaphysical being itself but the thing would ‘subtly hypnotize’ the audience. Not everyone would be affected, just a few would be brainwashed and would automatically know where to go after the show was finished. From that point on they were ‘easy pickin’s’ (again he giggled weirdly after saying the last two words) to become mindless cult members. He also admitted some didn’t fully turn but still went home and maybe stabbed a loved one or baked a pizza without knowing why.

I needed one thing cleared up. The Chairman from the Performance Center had told me Lizzie was a renowned screenwriter and a lot of people knew her.

“A very ‘easy peasy’ (again the giggle) answer for you Bri, we believe the Chairman was either being manipulated by Lizzie via black magic or an actual, converted cult member. Either way we will get the answer from him.” He motioned me over behind his desk and on a small B&W TV set (which had been placed on the corner) showed me a live stream from an windowless bleak interrogation room. The Chairman was in there and readers I will not describe (for your sanity and your lunch) the ‘interrogation techniques’ being employed. After a few seconds I had to turn my head. “Sorry you had to see that, we in the ‘Pizza Cult Division’ don’t mess around.”

I told Spiffy my fears of what they might do to Scott, I knew in my heart of hearts he couldn’t really be involved in all of this. He assured me no real harm would come to my manager unless it was proven he was a member– indeed, they had never heard of his involvement until a few days ago.

At this point another Agent came in and told Spiffy the Performance Center had been cleared but there was no sign of ‘Lizzie Starlight’ or any large baby pizza slice!! Spiffy shook his head and muttered “Damn,’slippery as a greased-up seal'(insert weird giggle). Then, to the other officer, “OK, let’s burn it down.”

I looked out the trailer window to see men in Biohazard suits race up to the venerable old building with flame throwers.

I begged– NO– I pleaded with Agent Spiffy to let me go inside first and save the contents of the vending machines. “Nope Bri, can’t take any chances when it comes to pizza cults.” And as the building went up in flames I fell to my knees with tears now flowing freely.

An hour or so later I was on my push scooter heading home. I was thinking of ways to ask my folks to loan me the money for Scott’s bail if he was going to be released. I knew it would be a long shot getting a single dime for Scott but it was worth a try. Of course my folks (and the rest of my family) were out when I got there.

I decided to prepare myself a mid-morning snack and wait. In the kitchen, I thought I heard some strange sounds coming from my ‘basement apartment’. Walking slowly down the steps and turning past the laundry room to my area, I found none other than Lizzie Starlight. She was sitting in a meditative pose inside a circle of pizza slices, then another circle of candles (no other lights were on). I wasn’t too surprised to find her in a white robe with pizza slices printed on them– she was also missing the wig and COMPLETELY BALD.

A steady creepy chant was coming from her which sent a slight chill down my spine. She opened her eyes and gave an overly sweet smile. “Brian dear, I’ve been waiting for you.” She got up and carefully stepped over the candles towards me. Every fiber of my being wanted to run yet somehow I was paralyzed. She got close enough to loosely put her arms around my neck, she smelled like pizza and the dark arts.

I muttered, “I cant believe this—what you’ve done to everyone—to Scott–‘.

She put a finger to my lips “There’s no need to talk about that fool. He was a minor puppet in a much, much larger game. You see Brian, for the glorious and mighty Floating Baby Pizza Slice to come back to our physical world there needs to be a rebirth. I was brought here to Deep Northern Suburban Lankville because the visions told me the person was here. At first I thought it was Scott but now through deeper meditation I found that I was wrong. The real chosen one is you—.”

Lizzie Starlight- who really is completely bald!!

Lizzie Starlight- who really is completely bald!!

Lizzie moved back slightly to remove her robe–she was totally nude!! (And let me tell you readers, women look COMPLETELY different naked in real life then on the scrambled porn late at night on Lankville cable!). She moved and kissed me passionately on the mouth. Then I blacked out—

—At first there was just the darkness, then slowly a little light was moving towards me. It was accompanied by a horrid, otherworldly laugh. Slowly the iridescent haunting glow of The Floating Baby Pizza Slice headed towards me. I knew it was coming to take over my soul, my whole being, so it could rain terror and destruction on Lankville for eons! Wait—-abstractly from another corner of the infinite void of my mind came a hurricane whirling at a great speed!! I could vaguely see the bumpkin trailer spinning around inside and heard the sweet chorus of them fill all around me. This metaphysical force of wind caught up to the baby pizza slice and slammed right into it!! A huge explosion followed by a blinding white light—I saw a million universes being born and then dying at once. Another light—then darkness—the ringing—.

— And I slowly realize I’m laying on my basement apartment floor and the telephone is ringing. I carefully look around and see that Lizzie Starlight is now gone, the only evidence left are the pizza slices and burnt out candles. I slowly get up giving myself the once over. I don’t feel different mentally or physically, my clothes don’t even seem disturbed. Did I actually ‘do the deed?’ (Somewhere I hear Agent Spiffy giggling).

On the phone is Charlie ‘The Nugget Guy’ from ‘The Pizza-A-Round’– Scott has been cleared by the authorities and is there!! He said I should get down there quick. So I hopped on my push scooter and set off (ignoring the insults from the neighborhood kids along the way). Finally making it to work, I found the inside completely quiet with no phones or nobody working– it was like everybody in Lankville knew not to call or show up. The employees were circled around Scott’s door somewhat curious but mostly scared. They whisper that Scott had come walking in normally but VERY silent closing his door behind him.

“We figured you were the best one to see if he was OK,” Charlie said, nervously moving his hat on his head.

I nodded and slowly opened the door. “Scott…Scott?” I closed the door behind me.

He was almost done putting on his ‘Traditional Deep Eastern Suburban Lankville Outfit’. There was already a pile of beer cans around his feet with a few six packs on the desk. He pulled open a desk drawer to pull out two hand guns which he tucked into his outfit.

“Didn’t sell them all yet–,” he muttered over to me.

“Scott are you–?”

He flashed me a hardcore ‘Scott Look’ so it was best to keep my mouth shut. “I’m going after her Bri, her and all those damn cult fucks. I’m not going to rest until they all pay, even if I have to go through some big baby pizza slice. She made a fool out of me–I OPENED MY HEART TO HER–and I was repaid with manipulation. Not only for trying to discretely convert me or innocent others to the dark side but she was—was—COMPLETELY BALD!!! ME, SCOTT-THE KING OF KINGS-MAKING LOVE TO A COMPLETELY AND UTTERLY BALD WOMAN!!”

​Scott in his traditional outfit.

​Scott in his traditional outfit.

He slammed his hand straight through the top of his desk. Splinters flew everywhere.

I wanted to tell him I could share in his pain but I wasn’t even sure if anything had happened between Lizzie and I. “Is it a good idea to go after this pizza cult alone, Scott? They seem really dangerous, I know you are in pain–”

“I AM SCOTT!!!!” he roared at me with the force of a thousand warriors. The force was so great it knocked me back into his pizza sauced stained office chair.

And with that, Scott swung open his door with everybody outside stepping back over each other to get out of his way. He stormed out to the parking lot and got in his 1987 Neptune. It took a few tries to start (he didn’t drive for a few weeks) then with a loud backfire the vehicle roared into reverse.

With a few heavy jerks Scott was out of the parking lot.

When will he be back? What will happen with the ‘Pizza-A-Round’ in the meantime? I will continue to keep you updated. Happy Eating!!-Bri

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

The Pizza Inn: Brian Schropp on Cuisine

September 10, 2015 Leave a comment
Brian Schropp on Cuisine

Brian Schropp on Cuisine

Yes, it was that time of year again for the annual ‘Schropp Family Vacation’. A big bonding experience not only for my immediate loved ones but for all my uncles, aunts and cousins to come together and enjoy the last heated rays of Lankville summertime before the cold, unforgiving northern suburban fall sets in. Beautiful lush beach houses are rented on the northern outskirts shoreline for a whole exciting week of merriment, games and cook outs. I am, of course, dropped off for my own ‘personal fun time vacation’ so my family can really enjoy themselves and not have to worry about me ruining their “one shot of real happiness” for the summer. My usual place of choice is ‘The Pizza Inn’ which is conveniently located on Highway 62 right on the way to the shoreline. I was especially happy since word had gotten to them that the play I am associated with– ‘Ektar- Pizza Warrior’ is the highest grossing pizza-related stage play ever produced in Lankville.

The lovely "Pizza Inn" off Highway 62.

The lovely “Pizza Inn” off Highway 62.

Even though credit needs to be given to Lizzie Starlight and Scott (my manager at ‘The Pizza-A-Round’) for coming up with the final product, I feel like my original script ‘Eggs And Bacon On The Prairie’ was the catalyst to make it all happen. The play has generated enough money in one week that there is already talk of building another Pondicherry Performance Center right on top of the existing one. Liz and Scott are now writing two follow-up plays ‘Ektar And The Cry For Pepperoni’ and ‘Ektar -The Eternal Pizza Champion’ which will undoubtedly be great successes.

I knew that only good things would await me at the inn. It seemed like anything dealing with pizza was the current hot trend!! My family was equally excited to start their own vacation- so much in fact that my folks didn’t even fully stop the minivan while pulling in the parking lot to drop me off. I stumbled out while the vehicle was in a slow roll with my luggage being thrown behind me. The screech of the wheels followed by a quick acceleration meant I was on my own.

Richmond St. Dunesberry

Richmond St. Dunesberry

Picking up my stuff, I stopped to take in how beautiful the scene was before me. An almost clear blue sky in the backdrop with the wonderful Inn before me and that whimsical, delightful sign in front which I get all loud and giddy about in the car when I see it. Once inside, I was greeted by none other than the owner of ‘The Pizza Inn’ himself, Richmond St. Dunesberry. He was. of course, in his classic ‘tighty whities’ since he doesn’t wear any clothes. This might throw customers off at first but once you get to know the man you find out he really is quite charming and his near-nudity is just a little ‘personality quirk’. In fact, there have been many times I’ve stayed there, me in my boxer shorts and St. Dunesberry in his whites, talking about the pizza trade and all it’s delights. I have never felt uncomfortable!! He was having some of his famous ‘double pepperoni’ flavored tea which he brews himself and is quite popular.

He was very pleasant in greeting me but I could tell something wasn’t quite right. The cup of tea was shaking slightly in his hand.

“Is something wrong Richmond?” I asked. “There isn’t anything wrong with the ‘Black Olive’ room?” That was my favorite room to stay in and I book it often.

“No-no,” he replied, smiling nervously and then looking around furtively to see if anybody was listening. “Why don’t we go into my office.”

He closed the office door behind me and then went about preparing a cup of ‘double pepperoni’ tea for me– always the gentlemen (and the cup was first rate!!). I waited sipping the fine brew while he took his time to collect himself. “Don’t know where to begin, things have changed so much in the past few days–the past few hours even—.”

“Is it financial trouble? You know the Pondicherry Performance Center was having trouble before Ektar–”

“That damn play!!!” Richmond threw his cup across the room, shattering it completely. The tea ran slowly down the wall.

“The play is really on fire right now, wouldn’t that bring more attention to this place? Pizza is the hottest thing in the media right now–.”

Richmond looked at the floor. “How do I start?” he muttered, holding his forehead. He took a few deep breaths before speaking again. “Bri, we’ve talked many times about the pizza trade, a great deal in fact. But there is a whole other side which is rarely known or even talked about. The metaphysical side, the occult side—-.”

There was a loud crash from somewhere in the reception area,  followed by a few screams and the pounding of footsteps.

“Oh dear- oh dear.” Dunesberry got up shaking like a leaf. “Stay in here. DO NOT open this door until I come back.”

He quickly exited. What was up? An upset customer perhaps? But no, who could be upset with the Pizza Inn? I thought quickly. I saw on my way in that the lunch buffet had gone up a dollar since I was last here, maybe that was it? I poured myself some more tea and helped myself to a can of ‘Western Lankville Canned Sausages’ already opened on his desk and then settled back in my chair. I heard some yelling, a few more screams (one may have been Dunesberry) and more heavy footsteps. After a few minutes the ruckus seemed to stop from the area around the office but I could hear the same commotion faintly in other parts of the Inn.

"The Black Olive Room"- my favorite!

“The Black Olive Room”- my favorite!

When was he coming back? How upset could a customer be? Even the lights flicked off and on a few moments! After what seemed like an eternity (and after polishing off the can of sausages) I decided to see what was up.

The reception desk was eerily quiet. “Hello-hello?” I walked slowly around the desk and my eyes widened; Richmond’s underwear was laying on the floor drenched in blood. My mind filled with panic and horror for a brief moment until I found a pen to pick up the whities. Was this real blood? Come on now-it couldn’t be!  What was really going on hit me all at once. A smile came across my face, this was a murder mystery sorta thing that the Inn was putting on for the weekend!

I walked towards the dining area proudly holding ‘the bloody undies’ with the pen. The lunch buffet was deserted like the front expect it was a lot more messy. Tables littered with food. sauces all over the floors and walls, these folks were going full out!!

They gave me with a slight scare when a guy ran in from the kitchens, his shirt slightly torn and with a wild look in his eye. I held up the underwear with the pen. “Hey, are we supposed to guess who ‘killed’ Richmond? Will there be a couple of people to choose from?”


I chuckled. “So there is more than one killer?”


The kitchen doors flew open again and out spilled more terrified people in various states of undress. Right on their heels ‘the others’ came in, people dressed in robes with hoods covering their faces. The robes were white with little pizza slices printed all over them!!  So, this wasn’t a murder mystery game after all, it was one of those survival-style games you pay for- what a great idea!! I watched as the people in robes quickly snatched the screaming ‘victims’, they sure weren’t making it easy!

I had a serious question to ask the panic-stricken guy who was desperately clinging to my arm. “Now, I had no idea this was going on when I booked my room, will I be charged for this?”

“Help meeeeeeee-.”

They dragged him away before he could answer my question. I tried asking one of the hooded ones running by if I was going to be charged extra for this. He turned to face me, I was quite impressed with the contacts they were using to make their eyes glow. He grabbed my wrist but soon enough another one was there shaking his head. “Not him,” he said in some unearthly voice, how did they do that?

To tell you the truth. I really didn’t sign up for this stuff. Since I was on vacation I was ready to settle down for a nice afternoon nap. I scooped up some ravioli which was still in a pan (not on the floor) and headed to lay down in my ‘Black Olive’ room. To keep in the spirit of the game, I lightly jogged with my things and gave a happy little frightful yell whenever I passed someone in the hallway running away from their robed predators. I have to give kudos to these people for really getting into it.

Once ‘safely’ in the room I turned on the TV (with the charming fuzzy reception) settled on my bed and placing the pan of ravioli on my stomach. I drifted off to the occasional thump and scream happening somewhere around me.

I must have been working harder the days before my vacation than I realized. I slept straight through until next morning. As I was showering and getting ready for the day I hoped the whole survival game was over, at least for now. I was really looking forward to the intercontinental pizza breakfast and wanted to enjoy it in peace. It was to my amazement that I found the whole entire ‘Pizza Inn’ empty, not a soul in sight. Not only that but upon closer inspection, I found everything cleaned and in order like no one had been here for months. What was I supposed to do? It had been a good sixteen hours since I had eaten last. I never knew hunger pains could feel so deep!! Whatever this game was, St. Dunesberry took everybody to play the next stage somewhere else. I could not wait around for anyone to get back so I had to go into the massive empty kitchen area and try to make something on my own.

Not the greatest pie ever made.

Not the greatest pie ever made.

I turned on the giant ovens to warm up while I looked around for ingredients. I was feeling quite faint and had serious rumbles stopping me in my tracks a few times. As you may know from some of my past articles, I’m not really in charge of making pizzas at my job– it’s only a skill I’m just starting to learn. I tried to channel everything I knew from watching the greats, like Chet Cameron, to make a pizza pie.

By this stage I was becoming quite delirious and just ran on instinct more than anything. Before I knew it, I was at a table in this huge empty room looking down at what I had created. Probably not the best pie ever made but it would certainly do for now.

It was a VERY weird feeling sitting there eating alone, hearing my smacking echo against the walls. After filling up, I took another look around to see if I could find anyone. Without success I headed back to the kitchens to prepare a big jug of strawberry milk to take with me. I found St. Dunesberry’s keys in his office, locked up the ‘Pizza Inn’ and started the long walk towards the northern shoreline. Of course, by the time I found my family and relatives the fun of the summer had to stop. No one believed my story and when my dad, myself, and local shoreline authorities went back, the place was open again!! There was a brand new manager in there who said that Richmond sold the business to him months ago and had no recall of me being there the day before!!

Well, gentle readers I am still trying to work this mess out. I’m about sixty percent sure I didn’t make this up (no Mom I did not have too much strawberry milk). Once I have some real answers for you guys I will let you know. Until next time please keep your mind and mouth open to new ideas, Happy Eating!!-Bri

Odds and Ends: Brian Schropp on Cuisine

July 29, 2015 Leave a comment

Brian Schropp, Senior Cuisine Writer

Well, there seems to be yet another update on the warnings issued for my ‘Lankville O’s Gelatin Dinner Time Surprise’ recipe. As I stated last week part of the warning was for pregnant women and children under 12 to use extreme caution when eating. Now UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES should pregnant women or children under 12 have ANY amounts of this or even be in the same room with the actual completed recipe for more than 20 minutes. I’m still unclear on what exactly is making this so risky to eat especially since I can (and do) eat very large amounts and am perfectly fine. Trying to locate the right channels who issue these statements has been quite frustrating.

Gelatin Surprise with Canned Western Lankville Sausages

Gelatin Surprise with Canned Western Lankville Sausages

Nevertheless, I do have a modified recipe for this gelatin delight which uses Canned Western Lankville Sausages on top. I’ve been told people who have used this particular recipe DO NOT get sick (or die) eating ANY amounts provided that they throw away and not eat the canned sausages on top. Do the sausages somehow absorb whatever toxins (if that is indeed the cause) that are created in the mix? I’ve been wanting to try the modified recipe on my family to see if this is actually true but everyone in the house refuses. If any reader wants to be a ‘test subject’ for me please contact via the paper or stop by the ‘Pizza-A-Round’ when I’m working. I really want to try and make this delicious meal safe for everyone!

Another bit of bad news this week, my entry for the 43rd annual Lankville Food challenge did not make the Deep Northern Suburban qualifying round. I was quite proud of my ‘Deep Northern Meat Bits Dinner Loaf Topped With Sweet Southern Lankville BBQ in A Green And Yellow Butter Sauce’. Scott (my manager at Pizza-A-Round) and I hauled the loafs (each weighed as much as a large brick) to the ‘Doubled-Headed Moose Lodge’ where the judging was taking place. I thought we made a very nice table display with a tablecloth I got from home (yes Mom I promise to ask next time) and a large sign with letters made from construction paper (Scott and I were up LATE the night before cutting them out). The judges didn’t even seem interested in trying some. After one judge finally got a plastic knife to slice into a loaf (the first three broke) he commented that he wasn’t sure if it was even cooked in the middle.

“Just eat around the sides then, you ass,” Scott barked. Then he nodded over to me, “Don’t you see who made this? Dumb shits should be delighted in trying something from one of the great culinary minds around. Have you never tasted butter with BBQ sauce before? With the meat bits it takes it to another level!”

Still proud of my meat bits loaf creation

Still proud of my meat bits loaf creation

Another judge remarked there was a lot of butter on the loaf and she wasn’t even sure how ‘green butter’ is made. (To be honest, I’m not really sure either it just seems to turn out that way when I put all the ingredients together).

Scott was not happy with the judges decision to outright refuse to taste our food. He knocked over the table and a few others around our area while threatening the lives of the judges’ families. When the green and yellow butter hit the lodge floor it made this cool hissing sound and even started to eat into the floor! Luckily I got Scott out of there before any type of law enforcement showed up. I was a bit disappointed in losing but honestly, I knew it was a long shot. The winner of the day was of course the mighty ‘Crown Of Frankfurters’ and I wish it all the success as it battles to win the whole Lankville Food Challenge. I have a feeling it has a very good chance in doing so!!

To end on a brighter note, I stopped by to see my friend Eddie the other day and check how his ‘Bra Lunch Buffet’ was doing. Turns out my article a few weeks ago has helped him increase sales. “Oh yes Bri, I can’t believe how many people show up for the lunch buffet now.” Eddie was grinning ear to ear wearing a very fashionable green and black bra of his own. “You see I was able to buy this beautiful lace bra for myself with the money coming in. I also bought that other plastic tree over there by the buffet stand. I still get the food from the shelter- it’s cheap and the customers don’t seem to mind that much. I did buy new paper plates and am not washing the old ones anymore. It’s a real skill to wash paper plates and make them usable again.” Being in charge of the ‘cleaning team’ at the ‘Pizza-A-Round’ I could sure relate.

A happy customer at the bra lunch buffet.

A happy customer at the bra lunch buffet.

I asked him what sort of people were coming in.

“Mostly men. Men wearing bras. And then using my bras for the buffet. Lot of men sitting around looking at each other men in bras. A few shifty old perverts come in hoping to catch a woman in one but usually leave disappointed. Just really men on men bra action.”

Even though that last sentence made me extremely uncomfortable I was still glad to see things have picked for him.

Until next week dear readers, please keep minds and mouths open to new ideas. Happy Eating!!-Bri