Thirty Minutes

After a black hole and a Dyson vacuum cleaner, Chowder was the third most powerful matter-consuming thing in the universe. It was not uncommon for people and various other creatures to head for the metaphorical, or sometimes even actual, hills in fear when he was hungry. The never-satiated void that was his stomach was truly a force to be reckoned with.

So what was the little animal hodgepodge to do when Mung and Truffles were out, and the hunger pangs came?

"Don't you dare eat any of my ingredients while I'm gone," Mung had warned. "I've counted every single one thrice, so don't even think about it!"

"We can't afford a kitchen raid from you," said Truffles, wielding a rolling pin.

"Rada rada," Schnitzel had told Chowder. He actually hadn't left like the other two, but he wasn't paying attention so just count him out of the story.

Chowder rolled around on the floor, groaning. "I'm sooooooo hungry! I'm gonna STARVE!"


Yes, the doorbell actually said the words 'ding dong.'

"Oh, boy!" said Chowder. "Someone's probably at the door!"

He opened the door and frowned: no one was there. Then he saw a doorhanger slipped over the knob.

'Two dollars off a Pizza-Pizzazz Pie!' it read. 'Call today! Orders come in less than thirty minutes, or it's free! Please don't time us!'

"Wow!" said Chowder, beaming. "I love Pizza-Pizzazz! That's what I can eat!"


"Hello? Pizza-Pizzazz, can I help you?"

"YESSSSS!! I need FOOD!"

"We all do, for nutrition. Can I take your order?"

"One Pizza-Pizzazz Pie please!" said Chowder.

"And what would you like on that?"

"Everything you have!" At this point, his mouth was gushing like Niagara Falls thinking about all this food.

"Your total comes to $16.68. Thank you, ma'am."

"No, thank you!"

Chowder stared at the clock. "Come on…. thirty minutes is such a long time!"

His eyes watched the second hand. Ever so slowly, it moved.

"I CAN'T TAKE IT ANYMORE!" He shoved the clock in his mouth and swallowed it. Then he belched loudly.

Tick… tick…. tick….

The clocked ticked inside of him.

"Ohhh!" he whined. "This waiting is going to kill me! Hmmm…. I know, I'll go wait near the door for the delivery man."

He sat in front of the door, eyes fixated on it. He thought he heard a sound, and instinctively chomped down on the door and ate it.

"Whoa!" said Gazpacho, who was conveniently passing by. "Chowder! Are you one of those door-ophobes I've heard about?"

"No… I'm just really hungry, and my Pizza-Pizzazz Pie isn't here yet!"

"How long's it been?"

With his paw, he pushed around on his abdomen to feel the clock inside. "Four minutes and fifty-two seconds!"

"You know what my mother says helps pass the time?"


"Watching paint dry. Do you have any watercolors?"

"We used to but I thought it was rainbow jam and ate it."

"Wow, you really are one hungry little fella." Gazpacho stopped and cocked an eyebrow. "Hey, kid, why are you staring at me like that?"

Chowder's pupils were dilated, and his tongue was poking out a bit. He imagined Gazpacho turning into a giant meatball. "MMMM!" In a flash, he leapt onto the mammoth or whatever he is, and tried to sink his teeth into him.

Gazpacho grabbed Chowder and threw him to the ground. "WHOA THERE! I know I look delicious— 'cause my mother told me so— but you can't eat me!"

"Sorry," said Chowder, snapping back to reality. "I'm just really hungry!"

"No kidding." Gazpacho started to back up. "Um, listen, I gotta get going. Have fun with your pizza or whatever." And with that, he ran off, thoroughly weirded out by the cat/bear/rabbit thing.

"Aw, man."

Chowder sat on the stoop, head in his hands. He could still hear the clock ticking inside him. But even louder was the sound of his stomach growling.

"What is that dreadful noise?" asked a snooty voice.

Chowder looked up to see Ms. Endive and Panini approaching.

"That's my stomach!" Chowder said enthusiastically.

"Hmmph," scoffed Ms. Endive.

"Hiiiii, Chowder," said Panini, edging close to him and batting her eyes.


"Can you say the opposite of that for me?"

"Sure! You're not my girlfriend!"

"Come, Panini," said Ms. Endive. "Let's continue our walk."

"But you said we were purposely walking past Mung's place to taunt him—"

"Quiet, child!" she interrupted.

"Mung's not here," said Chowder. "I'm all alone, except for an inattentive Schnitzel, and my severe starvation."

Ms. Endive turned her nose up. "From that jiggling mass around your waist, I hardly believe that."

"Hey, Chowder," said Panini sweetly. "We're delivering a dish across town. Would you like to walk with us?"

"No way! I'm waiting for my Pizza-Pizzazz Pie! Wait…." His nostrils widened as a delicious odor took him off guard. "Is that…. food?"

"Yep," she replied. "Edible food."

Suddenly, he jumped at her and ate the dish in one bite, container and all.

They both gasped.

"My dish!" exclaimed Ms. Endive. "You ate it!"

"I'm sorry, ma'am! I can't help it! I'm just soooooo hungry!"

She hit him upside the head with her purse.

"Ummph!" he said, and rubbed his aching face.

"Come on, Panini," she said, walking away. "We're leaving NOW. Mung will be receiving a bill in the mail for that food!" she called over her shoulder.

"Byyyyye, Chowder," said Panini, being dragged away.

Chowder shuttered.

Chowder was counting down the seconds until the pizza was late. He didn't want to have to pay, because that meant figuring out a tip, and that is such a hassle… especially while the nerves in your innards are screeching 'FEED ME' at the top of their nonexistent lungs.

"Three…. two….one and a half…. one." Chowder stopped feeling around his stomach at the literal internal clock. "Time's up!"

Right on cue, the deliveryman showed up. "Did you order a pizza with everything on it?" he asked, approaching Chowder.

"Boy, did I!"

"That'll be $16.68, plus a tip, if you know what's good for you."

"Sorry, but you're two seconds too late! It's free now!"

"Look, kid," he snapped. "Two seconds doesn't count. Pay up."


The deliveryman sighed. "Where are your parents?"

Chowder shrugged. "I dunno."

"Just give me the monies!"

"I said no! You're late!"

The man picked Chowder up by the scruff of his neck with his free hand. "Listen squirt, being a pizza deliveryman stinks enough without punk kids like you stiffing me, so just give me the money!"

Suddenly, Chowder opened his mouth wide and ate the pizzaman, and pizza, whole.

Then he burped so loud that the screen around him shook.

"Eeew!" he exclaimed. "That had anchovies! I hate anchovies!"

Mung was finishing up with his checklist. "Everything seems to be in order. I guess you didn't eat anything after all."

"Of course not!" said Chowder. "It's not like I'm a mischievous kid with impulse control problems or something!"

"Hmmm." Mung brought his finger to his chin and narrowed his eyes. "So what did you eat while we were gone?"

"Ummm….." Chowder glanced around nervously. "Hey! Schnitzel's trying to sneak and eat some of your ingredients!" he said frantically, pointing.

Schnitzel, who was just doing his job cleaning, looked up. "Rada?"

"Don't you dare!" Truffles, who was floating by, struck him in the head with her humungous shroom hat.

"Rada!" said Schnitzel angrily.

Then everyone burst into laughter, and things panned out.

Except for Schnitzel, who was still mad.