"Don't Be a Phantom Menace To Coruscant When You're Drinking Pan Galactic Gargle Blasters In Mr. McGregor's Garden"
STANDARD DISCLAIMER/CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE: The characters depicted in this short story are the property of George Lucas. Pan Galactic Gargle Blasters belong to Douglas Adams. The song "Build Me Up Buttercup" is by The Foundations.
"Hmmph! Too impatient are you! And too quick to anger!" Yoda was pacing around the Jedi Council chambers, lecturing Anakin yet again on his numerous shortcomings as a Padawan. Anakin was kneeling, his head respectfully bowed. He listened in silence as Yoda continued. "These things you must learn to control."
"Yes, Master Yoda," he murmured respectfully.
"Also, spend too much money you do! Every night, drink and carouse at club with funny name you do!" Anakin's head snapped up in surprise. "Mmmm… thought you I knew not about that? Ha! For 700 years I have trained Jedi. Born yesterday I was not! Think you I know nothing of drinking and carousing?" This was hardly the first such interview Anakin had attended. He knew what was expected of him.
"No, Master Yoda." he murmured respectfully.
"And well you should not! Tired of your antics I am! Control and responsibility you must learn! A job you will get. Arranged, everything has been. Tomorrow you start." Anakin groaned.
"But Master Yoda," he whined, "I can't take time away from my studies and my training!"
"Hmph. Stupid you must think I am. If worried about your training you are, then drink and carouse less you should!" With that, the interview was over. As Yoda stumped out of the room, Anakin made a rude gesture at his back.
"Saw that I did!" Yoda said without turning around. "Respect you must learn! Good for you this job will be!" Anakin sighed.
Naturally, Anakin hated his new job. He hated the dorky, bright orange shirt and silly paper hat he was required to wear. He hated the nametag, which read, "My Name Is Anakin" and the button which read "I'm New But I'm Learning!" – also required. He hated the greasy, ineptly prepared food made from low-quality ingredients of dubious origin purchased from the lowest-priced vendors available. Well, OK, like most guys his age, he actually loved the food. But he DID absolutely hate saying:
"Welcome to McDiarmid's, may I take your order?"
"I'll take two Bantha Burgers and a Big McD, and make it snappy!" Anakin sighed. "Coming right up." He noted Mace Windu and Yoda standing in line at the next register.
"You know what they call a Big McD on Tatooine?" Windu was asking Yoda. "A McD Royale with Sand." Anakin rolled his eyes. Suddenly, a sinister-looking man in long black robes pushed his way to the front of Anakin's line, ignoring the protests of the other customers.
"Sir," Anakin began, "I'm afraid you'll have to – " He stopped in mid-sentence as the man removed his hood, revealing a face covered with red and black tattoos. His head was studded with horns, and the yellow of his eyes was an almost perfect match to the color of his pointed teeth.
"At last I reveal myself to McDiarmid's. At last I will have my fries," he intoned menacingly. Anakin snorted.
"Yeah, well, first you have to reveal yourself to the end of the line, buddy." The man blinked in disbelief, then narrowed his eyes angrily. "Look, pal, don't make me get my manager." With lightening speed, the man flung off his black cloak. In one fluid motion, he drew and ignited his lightsaber. At almost the same moment, Windu and Yoda ignited their lightsabers. Anakin, however, was a bit slower on the draw, and the two Jedi Masters frowned at him. The manager came running out from his office in the back.
"No sabers! No sabers!" he yelled. The tattooed stranger looked from the manager to the three Jedi surrounding him with ignited lightsabers.
"Leave you must," Yoda told him quietly. He knew he was outnumbered. The man's shoulders slumped in defeat, and he deactivated his lightsaber and stalked out of the restaurant.
"Your girlfriend wears way too much make-up, Anakin," Obi-Wan was saying. They were standing in line outside Mr. McGregor's Garden, which was the hottest club on Coruscant.
"Yeah, but she still looks pretty hot."
"True," Obi-Wan conceded. "But some of those clothes she wears – man, I dunno." Anakin just shrugged. Suddenly, there was a disturbance at the head of the line.
"I sense a disturbance at the head of the line," Obi-Wan said. "Let's go check it out." As they approached, Anakin noticed the skirmish involved a familiar figure. A man in a long black robe…
"Hey, that's that butthead from work today!" Anakin said. He hurried up to the front of the line, Obi-Wan right behind him. They arrived in time to hear the bouncer at the door telling the man that he should begin by revealing himself to the end of the line. "Hey, buddy! Remember me?" The stranger glanced at Anakin and immediately threw off his robes and ignited his lightsaber. Obi-Wan followed suit, but Anakin just stood there. "Since you're so into revealing yourself, I'm sure you'll enjoy this!" Anakin used the Force to make the stranger's pants fall down around his ankles. While no one was sure what planet the tattooed man came from, all present were certain that he wore no undergarments. Making it even worse, everyone waiting in the line applauded. Humiliated, the stranger deactivated his lightsaber, snatched up his robe and pants, and fled. Anakin and Obi-Wan exchanged high fives. The grateful bouncer prepared to wave them into the club, but stopped when he caught a look at Anakin, who was clearly underage.
"Can I see some identification?'" He asked. Obi-Wan waved his hand.
"You don't need to see his identification!"
"I don't need to see his identification!" The man waved them inside.
"Smooth," Anakin said admiringly. They stepped into the dimly lit club.
"Obi-Wan, check it out!" Anakin said, pointing. "There at the bar! It's Valorum and Palpatine!"
"No way!" Obi-Wan said, trying to peer through the crowd.
"Shouldn't they be over at Portman's, smoking cigars, sipping brandy, and getting blowjobs from interns?"
"Let's go see what they're doing here. I could use a nice cold one anyway." Anakin said. The two Jedi pushed their way through the crowd.
"Hey, whazzzzap!" Anakin greeted the two venerable senators.
"Ah, Anakin Skywalker, how LOVELY to see you!" Valorum enthused. "And Obi-Wan Kenobi as well! Too splendid!" Obi-Wan nodded a greeting and signaled the bartender. Palpatine, looking distinctly less comfortable than Valorum, smiled faintly at the young Jedi.
"So, what are you guys doing here?" Anakin asked bluntly.
"Yes, Valorum, what ARE we doing here?" Palpatine asked icily.
"Not exactly your scene, huh?" Anakin asked. Valorum answered for his friend.
"On the contrary. We're just a couple of 'hip', 'with-it' 'dudes' looking for a good time." Obi-Wan looked at him in astonishment.
"You are?!?" he blurted, clearly unconvinced. Palpatine glared at Valorum, then addressed Anakin and Obi-Wan.
"We've just gotten the results of our latest polls, which show that young voters believe the Galactic Senate is made up of old fossils who are hopelessly out of step with the rest of the galaxy. Valorum here thinks we can change our image with a few visits to a trendy nightspot."
"Aw, no way, man," Anakin told them. "You two aren't clueless old fossils! You guys are too cool for school. In fact," he continued as Obi-Wan took a sip of Guinness, "we want you to hang with us tonight."
"We do?" Obi-Wan choked out, earning a poke in the ribs from Anakin.
"Bartender!" Anakin called. "An extra large pitcher of Pan Galactic Gargle Blasters for me and my boys!"
"I have a bad feeling about this," Obi-Wan said.
A few hours (and two extra large pitchers of Pan Galactic Gargle Blasters) later, the four men were laughing together like they were all old friends. As is usually the case when men and alcohol mix, their conversation was racy and their language was blue. They were discussing their most outrageous sexual escapades, and it seemed they all had a story or two to contribute. Valorum had even been convinced to share the account of a youthful indiscretion in an android brothel.
"Well, naturally I complained to the management!" he was saying. "I mean, really! She damn near ripped the blessed thing right off!" They all screamed with laughter.
"That's why I stick with the real thing!" Palpatine exclaimed.
"Oh sure," Valorum retorted. "No real woman would even look at you!"
"What makes you think he's talking about women?!" Anakin asked, and they all screamed with laughter again.
"Now, now, it's not nice to make fun of the sexually tilted," Palpatine observed kindly, "not with Obi-Wan sitting right here!" Obi-Wan turned an alarming shade of red, which made the other three laugh even more.
"That's not funny!" he blurted, which only served to make things worse. Anakin, Palpatine, and Valorum were laughing so hard that they couldn't breathe.
"OK, OK," Anakin panted, gasping for breath and trying not to look at Obi-Wan, which would have brought on another laughing fit, "let's change the subject."
"Right!" Palpatine agreed enthusiastically, trying to refill his glass, a task made difficult by both his drunkenness and by the fact that the pitcher was empty. He peered owlishly at the empty pitcher. "Oh damn," he said to no one in particular. Although he and Anakin had consumed almost identical quantities of alcohol, Palpatine did not have the tolerance for it that Anakin's nearly nightly binges had given him. Anakin was almost completely sober, while Palpatine could barely see straight.
"Hey Palpatine," Anakin called. Palpatine looked at him blearily.
"Ever do karaoke?"
"No, and I've never had the desire, either."
"Aw, I bet you'd love it. In fact," Anakin continued, making a slight gesture with his hand, "you and Valorum would really like to try doing karaoke right now."
"Anakin…" Obi-Wan said warningly. Anakin ignored him.
"We would?" Valorum asked drunkenly. Anakin made another slight gesture.
"Oh, yes, you both REALLY want to try karaoke tonight."
"Yoda is gonna be PISSED," Obi-Wan observed as the two senators took the stage. Anakin just grinned.
"Shhhh, I don't want to miss this!" The music began, and the two Jedi immediately began laughing hysterically.
"Did you make them pick that one?" Obi-Wan asked.
"No, they did it on their own. Now be quiet." Palpatine began singing, with Valorum doing back-up vocalist duties:
Why do you build me up
(build me up)
Buttercup, baby just to let me down
(let me down)
And mess me around
And then worst of all
(worst of all)
You never call baby
When you say you will
(say you will)
But I love you still
I need you
(I need you)
More than anyone, darlin'
You know that I have from the start
So build me up
(build me up)
Buttercup, don't break my heart…
Later, the two Jedi would agree that perhaps the best part of the performance had been Valorum dancing around in the background.
Anakin knelt on the floor in the Jedi Council chamber, his head bowed respectfully. Yoda was not angry; he was damn near apoplectic. As a result, his grammar became even worse.
"Do this, how could you?" He waved his walking stick around for emphasis. "Drunk you the Senators got! Talked about sex in public they did! Heard them, EVERYONE did! Used the Force, caused them to dance and sing stupid song you did! All the papers it made! Embarrassed they are! Complained to me they did! Thinking, what were you? Banned from Mr. McGregor's Garden you are!" Anakin knew better than to groan audibly. Nevertheless, "Heard that I did! Big trouble you are in!" Anakin sighed and prepared for a very long, uncomfortable, unpleasant afternoon indeed. He mentally replayed the events of the previous night. Was it worth it? he asked himself. Then he smirked. Definitely!