Why did the chicken cross the road anyway?

An adult faerie tale not for kids.

Splattered all over the highway lay Humpty Dumpty. Sitting on his throne, Old King Cole wanted to know why. After all, he was a merry old soul, and this did not set right with him.

“Well, sire,” Hansel, his viceroy, said. “It has to do with The Chicken crossing the road.”

“What?” his majesty stuttered. “That Chicken never crosses the road.”

“I’m afraid she did this time.” Hansel stood beside the throne and leaned in toward the king.

“Why?” the king asked. “Why did The Chicken cross the road? This time?”

“If we knew that, we would know how Humpty Dumpty came to such a fate, now wouldn’t we?”

“Then find out. And have the culprit executed if there is a culprit.”

“And if there isn’t one, sire?”

“Then execute somebody anyway. It’s a good week for an execution. In fact, every week is a good week for an execution, don’t you think?”

“Of course, Sire. We haven’t had an execution in a month of Sundays. It’s about time we had a few. I’ll have the secretary type up the order, then you can seal it with your nice Big Seal.”

The king went back to his nap. Hansel left the throne room and walked the five minutes through the palace it took to get to the secretary’s office.

Gretel looked up from behind her desk. “I’m bored,” she said to her brother. She was in her late twenties. Blonde hair and blue eyes too. As blue as the Danube that passed down the street and making like the nice river it was.

“I have a bit of typing for you.”

Gretel’s cute little body perked up. “It’s about time. You know I’ve been behind this desk with nothing to do for I don’t know how long. For a blue moon, that’s how long.”

Everybody said she had a cute little body. Even Jack-Be-Nimble. And he ought to know. He’d seen enough women’s bodies to make Casanova blush. But Gretel never believed. him. She knew all he wanted was to get under her dirndl and she was not about to have any of that. She had other plans. Jack wasn’t sugar daddy enough to be her sugar daddy.

She wanted the country’s brothel concession and she needed someone to help her manage it. She had been counting on Humpty. He was such a good egg with figures. But now he was dead.

She typed out her brother’s dictation on her manual Underwood. Since she was a perfect typist, not one correction had to be made. When she finished, she handed the typewritten scroll to her brother. He quickly proofread the parchment and found it in good order.

Just as he was about to leave, she addressed him with a question she had been addressing him with for quite some time. “When is the king going to approve my vacation? I need to get to work on my business plan, and there is no time like the present.”

“You know what I think of your business plan,” Hansel looked at his sister. His face was aggrieved. “Mom would be totally pissed.”

“I don’t care. You know what a slut she was. Dad died when the large oak fell on him. Then she slept with every Peter Piper and Simple Simon around. That’s not for me. Maybe it is for me but I am not giving it away for free. I want my vacation. I’ve earned it. And if I don’t get it, all I can say is we’ll see.”

“Okay,” Hansel said “As soon as we get whoever did this dastardly deed to poor Humpty, you can have your vacation.”

He knew how stubborn his sister was. There was no talking her out of her business plans. Being a Taurus, once she made up her mind she made up her mind, then there was no turning back. It had been that quality that had gotten them out of the mess with the witch some time back.

Besides a good brothel might just be the thing. It could bring back all those tourists the kingdom had lost when the Happily-Ever-After Corporation opened up a theme park in the next kingdom over. He rolled the scroll up into a nice neat roll and put a rubber band around it so it would stay rolled nice and neat.

As soon as her brother left the room, Gretel went back to checking her list for the business and checking it twice. She wanted to make sure the naughty was connected with the nice. She wanted a palace to put the king’s palace to shame. Would actually call it The Leisure Palace. Had heard that was what they called them in Vegas: leisure palaces. She had acquired the services of Wynken, Blynken, and Nod, Architects to Kings.

Next thing on her agenda was the girls. Who would she get to serve as Ladies-in-Waiting in her palace? Last she’d heard Little Bo Peep was out of a job. She’d blown the shepherdess gig and lost all the sheep. She couldn’t live on unemployment forever. Actually she could if she was frugal, but it was a fact that Bo was not frugal. And Little Miss Muffet was flat broke. She had come to Gretel, crying that she was out of curds and whey. What was she ever going to do?

Hansel skulked back to the throne room. The king was at his snoring again. Hansel went to wake the king.

“Yeah, yeah, Cindy,” king said half asleep and half awake. “You don’t have to go back to cleaning your stepmother’s chimney. I’ve got enough money to buy you all the window cleaners in the kingdom.”

Hansel shook the old man.”Sire.”

The king popped his popping-fresh eyes open. “It’s you, Hansel.”

Hansel gave the king the order. The king signed it. He always signed anything Hansel put in front of him. That was how Hansel had come to get his greedy little hands on half the kingdom. The king went back to sleep, dreaming about his wonderful wife, Cinderella. He’d lost her in a fire at the palace and never got over it.

Hansel hurried to his office. He had just the one for the job. He called in The Flunkster.

“Flunky, get me The Cat.”

Five minutes later, and not a minute too soon, The Cat was standing before the viceroy.

“What can I do you for?” The Cat was not a cat to beat around the bush.

“I want you to investigate the Humpty Dumpty situation. The king is concerned, and so am I.”

“But why me?” The Cat asked as if he already knew the why me. “Who else but me, I meant.”

“You’re the one who brought Dish back, and with Spoon of all things.”

“That was easy. I knew they wanted to do a Romeo-and-Juliet. Not the dying part, of course. They were out to get married. So I chased them down to Tijuana. Where else would a teen couple, who had the marriage bug, go?”

“So? Can you do it? Find out?” Hansel was getting impatient.

“Of course, I already have the case solved. I do believe I know why The Chicken crossed the Road.” The Cat was up to his usual Sherlock Holmes.

“Yes?” Hansel wanted to know, and he wanted to know real bad.

“It was Little Red.”

“Little Red?” Hansel wanted to know some more. “Not Little Red. It can’t be Little Red.” It was hard to believe it could be her. So cute and cuddly. And innocent. When they had dated, it had been hard just to get a kiss out of her. And now she was being accused of murder.

“Little Red needed a chicken for dinner. You know, for the basket for her sick grams. So she chased The Chicken across the road. Humpty saw her. You see, The Chicken was that egg’s mom. He was out to rescue her from a wringing-of-the-neck.”

“So Red killed Humpty?”

“Not really. It was a little red convertible.”

The viceroy was all confused now. “But?” That was all he could say. Nothing more, nothing less.

“Big Bad was driving. Ran right over Humpty.”

Hansel wasn’t convinced. “Are you sure?”

“Saw it myself. I happened to be out fox hunting. Had chased poor Foxie up a tree. I was going up the tree when I heard this noise. It was the convertible rushing down the highway. Splat! went Humpty. Big Bad turned the car around and ran over Humpty again just to make sure.”

“No?” Hansel said. Amazed.

“Absolutely. B. B. pulled over and watched Red kill The Chicken. He parked. I followed him following her. She got to her apartment. After she fixed her Grams’ picnic basket, she came out of the apartment. He confronted her. But she convinced him that Grams would make a better meal than she and The Chicken. Man, she does have a way with words. Could sell an Eskimo a refrigerator.”

“Just what did she do with The Chicken?” Hansel was a gourmet cook. He remembered Red loved his steak tartar. She always wanted to learn how to cook. Now she had cooked real good. Convincing Big Bad the way she did.

“Chicken marsala with mushrooms. I got a whiff of that chicken. Mmmm, bon appetit.”

“So I guess we have them in custody? She for The Chicken, he for Humpty?”

“Not quite, sir. That’s the problem. We did arrest them. But they both got away. Red gave the guard, how shall I say, a coitus dilecti. We know that’s what happened ’cause we have the lip prints. And B. B. overpowered his man. So they are on the loose. We’ve got a man watching Gram’s house. Just in case they show. But I don’t think they will.”

“You don’t?” Hansel couldn’t believe his ears. He was going to fire every guard in the place. Have them replaced with robocops.

“Think Big Bad has taken a liking to Little Red.”

Hansel was exasperated. “Why would she go for him?”

“It’s the Goldilocks Principle, sir. Not too big and not too small but just right, if you know what I mean.”

 

New State Nicknames

Been thinking the States all need new nicknames. The old ones have become a bit worn out. So here’s a list I am proposing:

Alabama, the “between Mississippi and Georgia” state.

Alaska, the “I can see Russia from my house” state.

Arizona, the “wanna see our sinkhole…it’s a canyon” state.

Arkansas, the “Bill Clinton, need I say more” state.

California, the “who’s afraid of the big bad earthquake” state.

Colorado, the “our pot is better than your pot” state.

Connecticut, the “who can spell me” state.

Delaware, the “we’re bigger than Rhode Island” state.

Florida, the “we do know the difference between a dimple and a chad” state

Georgia, the “we have real pits in our peaches” state.

Hawaii, the “we’ve got lu’aus and surfing, what have you got” state.

Idaho, the “can you take some of these potatoes off our hands” state

Illinois, the “our President Lincoln was better than your President” state

Indiana, the “you spell it backwards and you’ve got anaidnI” state.

Iowa, the “we start the whole mess every four years, would you please forgive us” state.

Kansas, the “when you’re in Kansas, you know you’re in Kansas” state

Kentucky, the “wanna race” state.

Louisiana, the “oh, no, not another hurricane” state.

Maine, the “Stephen King scares us too” state.

Maryland, the “we’re in the Navy” state.

Massachusetts, the “home of the Boston cream pie, don’t you wish you had a pie as good” state.

Michigan, the “we’ve got four Great Lakes, how many do you have” state.

Minnesota, the”oh geez bet it’s gonna be cold tomorrow” state

Mississippi, the “we’re right next to Alabama” state.

Missouri, the “we can show you the way to Kansas, Dorothy” state

Montana: the “we warned Custer and he just wouldn’t listen” state.

Nebraska, the “Warren Buffet lives in our state” state.

Nevada, the “get married and divorced in 24 hours” state.

New Hampshire, the “can’t get more Yankee than us” state.

New Jersey, the “we’re really not that bad, we just play it that way on TV” state.

New Mexico, the “hey, come see our balloons” state.

New York: the “youse guys” state

North Carolina, the “we got nice mountains” state.

North Dakota, the “wish I was South Dakota” state.

Ohio, the “we’re named after a river, what are you named after” state.

Oklahoma, the “I’m just passing through” state.

Oregon, the “we’re just below Washington” state.

Pennsylvania, . the “nobody steals our stealers and we have the authentic cheese steak” state.

Rhode Island, the “yes we’re here.. just look really hard” state.

South Carolina, the “if you wanna be a Republican president, you better win our state” state.

South Dakota, the “I wish I was North Dakota, y’all” state.

Tennessee, the “state where al gore invented the internet and discovered global warming” state

Texas, the “our jack rabbits are bigger than your jack rabbits” state.

Utah, the “our capital is named after a lake” state.

Vermont, the “state where two hippies could make ice cream and name it after other hippies” state.

Virginia, the “older than all the other states” state.

Washington, the “rain and more rain” state.

West Virginia, the “we’re the only state that’s got west in its name, Kanye” state.

Wisconsin, the “our cheese really is cheese” state.

Wyoming, the “cow tipping” state.

Fudgenado

You’ve heard of sharknado. It’s Mother Nature’s way of getting even, and she always gets even. It’s a tornado spewing sharks. Scary stuff. Hope it doesn’t come to your part of the planet. If it does, learn how to duck. Those teeth are vicious. Never forget how much damage that thing did on the east coast, the west coast and the in-between coast.

I, for one, am glad it’s over. We can take a little breather. While we wait for the next disaster. But here’s a comforting thought. There is a new superhero on the block.

Yes, you heard me right. A new superhero. And he’s one for the 21st century. His name is Fudgenado. All those other superheroes are old school. They are so 20th century. Of course, I’m talking Superman, Batman and all those D C Comics guys, and the Marvel gang—The Fantastic Four, Thor. You know the ones.

This Fudgenado is a rootin’, tootin’, genuine superhero up to the villainy of the new millennium. He’s taking on all the baddies. Evil villains like The Nugget and his sidekick, Candy Bar. The twins Creamy and Delicious. And, of course, Karamel. You know, how sticky he makes things when he flies through. Last time he came to my city we were up to our fingers in sweet stuff for a month.

Then there’s the most dastardly, evilicious, black-hearted Brownie Maker. She has been making brownies without the nuts and taking out planets one-by-one all the way from the star, Titus Andronicus, to Sirius. She is on her way to Planet Earth. Rumor has it that she left last Monday from her home planet. She’ll be here by Saturday. And she’s got plans for us humans. She’s about to make global warming look like a game of tiddly-winks.

She has brownies to bake and one of those brownies is our planet. But there is no need to worry. Fudgenado is ready and waiting for the knock-down, drag-out. She won’t know what hit her. He’ll k.o. her in the first round. That’s for sure.

So read this fast, then get ready for the show. Pop a tub of popcorn and pour yourself a beer, or a soda, and sit out on your back lawn and watch. You’re in for a treat. There will be a really big show.

When they meet, it will be the superbowl of super dooper folks. It’s going to be out of this world, that show. Just be comforted by the thought that Fudgenado is our guy. Without him, it would be like a tsunami on steroids. We’d be baked. I hate the thought of that prospect.

For now, Fudge (that’s what we call him for short) is out barn-storming the planet with his absolutely unbelievable, delicious fudge. You really have to try his maple. It’s so good the gods think it’s ambrosia. Oh man, just writing about the stuff makes my mouth water.

And make sure you put out your fudge buckets. He will making fudge out of Miss Brownie Mix. There will be plenty of fudge to go around for everybody.

The Poker Game of 1776

July 3, 1776. A tavern across the street from Independence Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

John Adams couldn’t bluff at poker if his life depended on it. Thomas Jefferson knew it. Benjamin Franklin knew it. Old Stone Face, George Washington, sitting across from Adams, knew it.

Ben and Tom folded. Neither of them had any kind of hand to play. But Adams was staying. He didn’t believe Stone Face had a winning hand.

“I call you,” Stone Face said to Adams across the table.

John Adams, a big smile on his face, threw down three aces.  Stone Face threw down his full house, then reached over and pulled the wad of English pound notes toward him.

Adams’ face dropped into a frown. Lost again. Here he was doing the very thing Abby warned him against. Playing poker with Stone Face. Washington always won. Over the course of the last two months, he had just about wiped out all the delegates of the Continental Congress of their cash. But he had done it for a good cause. He needed a new set of false teeth.

Adams said, “I give up. I’m broke. So what are we going to do about John Hancock?”

“We should shoot the son of a bitch,” Stone Face offered. Washington seldom lost his cool but John Hancock had gotten under his skin in a way that British General Howe never did.

Jefferson followed up with, “That’s what we’d do in Virginia.”

“Now, boys,” Ben interjected, “let’s be serious. But not that serious.”

Washington said, “I can’t believe I came back to have to deal with this. My guys at Valley Forge are going to mutiny if we don’t get this settled once and for all.”

“Why don’t we just get him drunk?” Franklin suggested.

Jefferson said,” That is your answer for everything.”

“Just about,” Franklin answered. “How you think I survived that thing with the kite? Remember the old saying, ‘Three strikes you’re out.’ When that lightning bolt hit the kite, I was as drunk as Gulliver must’ve been the day he saw those Lilliputians. The lightning struck me three times, and yet, here I am.”

John Adams knew Hancock too well for that. “He’ll just fall asleep.”

Jefferson was miffed. “All I know is that I am not letting him put those words into the Declaration of Independence.”

Stone Face put in his two pences. “I agree with Tom. I mean, Hancock and his ‘when in the course of human events, it becomes necessary to kick King George’s butt because he is, and ever shall be, a pantywaist’ is a little too much. Even for this Congress. We all don’t like the king but that is a little too much. The British will never take us seriously.”

“Totally destroys the mood,” Jefferson added, “don’t you think?”

The Virginia delegation was unanimous about its approbation against John Hancock. Either the Continental Congress gave Hancock his walking papers or they would be walking. But everybody knew what would happen if Hancock went home. The whole New England bunch would leave with him.

From the beginning, Hancock had been cause for alarm. First he wore that pink outfit. Oh, my gosh. And the chicken costume. It looked like he was trying to out-Elton-John Lady Gaga. Then his proposal that the country use “We are the champions of the world” for its national anthem. It had taken months for John Adams to get his friend to calm down and be reasonable. Now this.

Ben had an idea. “Bet Betsy Ross could get him to go along with the program. After all, she’s his tailor.”

“You know what she’s going to charge?” John Adams inquired.

Stone Face, always a pragmatic man, said, “Yes, but can she get results. When she threatens him, he’ll cry uncle. After all, she’s the one who turned him into a fashionista. Says she has a flair with the silk pajamas”

“Ben,” Adams asked, “have you been able to get her price down? Last I heard she was charging an arm and a leg.”

Jefferson said, “Yeah, just look at Long John Silver.”

“On this one,” Ben said, “she knows she has us over a barrel. She wants the flag concession.”

“Can she get the job done?” Tom asked.

“I believe so,” Franklin said. “She has a long history with Hancock. Something about babysitting with his kids when they were just knee-high-to-a-grasshopper.”

Stone Face was satisfied. “I say we give it to her.”

Jefferson and Adams nodded their heads in agreement. But Franklin was not finished. “In perpetuity.”

“What?” the other three said as a chorus.

“No way are we going to go along with that,” Stone Face said. “John, can’t Abby help in this department?”

“When Hancock puts his mind to a thing,” Adams said, “he puts his mind to a thing. I’m afraid Betsy is our only option. If we want Hancock, we are going to have to give in to her demands.”

“Then,” Stone Face finalized the discussion, “Betsy gets the flag concession in perpetuity. But you tell her that I want a free ‘Don’t Tread On Me’ for each of my Regiments, and according to my specifications.”

John Adams breathed a sigh of relief. He was going to get his revolution, after all. The other three had given him a big thumbs up with their agreement on the Hancock Matter. “So, Tom, looks like you’ll be able to do a press release.”

Jefferson took out his pen and pad and began to write. Then he looked up at the others. “I just realized we have another problem.”

“”What now?” Stone Face was just about fed up with all the back-and-forth going on at the Congress. Why didn’t folks just do what they were told? It would be so much easier.

Jefferson thought so too but he didn’t say anything out loud. “It’s Tom Paine. He’s going to insist on editing my text and publishing it the way he wants.”

Adams was now in the fray. He didn’t like Paine. “Please. No more ‘These are the times that try men’s souls’ crap. God, that man has an ego.”

“Yeah,” Ben agreed. “He gets a fifth down him, and there is no telling what he will write.”

Stone Face had an answer. “We could just draft him. I need a good secretary and he does take shorthand.”

The others smiled. Stone Face once again came to the rescue. Guess that was why folks were calling him “The Father of the Country”.

“Glad we’ve got all that settled,” Stone Face said. “Now I have to go and kick some British hineys.”

“Don’t forget,” Adams requested, “to take a piece out of Cornwallis for me.”

The four men gathered up their things and made for the door, then John Adams said, “I just remembered. Just one more thing.”

“No,” the other three said.

“’Fraid so. It’s Paul Revere. Every time we get ready to attack the British from behind some trees, guerilla style, Paul shows up on his horse. He lets the Brits know where we are by yelling, ‘The Americans are coming. The Americans are coming.’”