My standard KP disclaimer:
I know Disney owns "Kim Possible"...lock, stock, and Rufus.
If they want to sue me, they have to get behind all my other creditors.
Since I am in south Florida, the line has formed to the right
…and goes all the way to Sacramento!
If a name has an ®, I own it. If it doesn't, I don't!
1) Well, folks…this is the fifth story in the 'ch-RON-icles' group of stories. Originally, I was going to try keeping each story independent of one another. However, one or two elements from other tales in the 'ch-RON-icles' group may come into play here. As the group has progressed, I am still not ready to call this an 'arc' yet; but I have been seeing different ways to tie some of them together.
2) 'America's Second Harvest' is the largest 'food bank' network in the country. They distribute food to over 25 MILLION hungry Americans, including 9 MILLION children, each year.
I released this tale a few days early to add awareness for the National Association of Letter Carriers' annual 'Stamp Out Hunger' Food Drive on Saturday, May 10th.
For those readers in the United States, please support this worthwhile organization with donations to your local food bank OR by placing non-perishable food in a tied plastic or cloth bag and placing it near your mailboxes for collection on the morning of May 10th.
For readers in other countries, please locate a local charitable food pantry near you and make a contribution.
In this land where so much food is produced, -NOBODY- should go to bed hungry!!
3) A fake phone number will be displayed somewhat early in this chapter. However, real 855 numbers may be released (according to the FCC) within the next ten years. They will work just like current 800, 888, 877, and 866 toll-free numbers. For now, let's just sit back and…
Enjoy the show!
'ch-RON-icles: American Dream'
Chapter One: Operation Paris
…For Marla Kildow…
It's amazing what children visualize in their dreams…
…Some see themselves emulating their favorite heroes by beating up bad guys and saving the world…
…Others cower in fear of monsters from movies their parents warned them not to watch just before bedtime…
…But visions of seasoned ground beef, melted cheese, and crunchy chips constantly danced through the dreams of one twelve-year-old boy in particular…
Ever since his eleventh birthday, and the tragic events it entailed, Ron knew he had to carry out the inspiration of his late Uncle David.
He remembered the last conversation he had with the man. It was, like most of their other talks, centered around food…rich, glorious, decadent food. After all, Ron was aspiring to be a 'master chef', while David was a renowned food critic for the Omaha World-Herald. Anyone within earshot of the two would have their mouths watering within seconds of hearing most of these debates.
Maybe that discussion was a dream…maybe it was a 'calling from heaven'. No matter what Ron considered it, David was showing his appreciation for his nephew's ability to deliver his final message to his wife, Sarah…
Once Anne escorted Kim out of the room, the only sound in the room was generated by the beeps and whirs of the machines monitoring Ron's recovery.
Suddenly, a white circle appeared in the ceiling. It was there just long enough for David to peek through and smile.
"Thanks again, 'Little Man'," he said. "I owe you one."
"Hey," Ron instantly replied, "I'm alive. That kinda makes us even, right?"
"Yeah," David admitted, "I guess it does. Just remember that recipe we talked about on the bike ride, okay?"
"You mean for that…taco and nacho combination platter?"
"That's the one. Back at the Bueno Nacho in Omaha, I didn't see that on the menu board. It might just work in Middleton."
"Maybe you're right, but…Hey! I just thought of something. What if they put the nacho chips and cheese into the soft-shell taco?"
"Nachos inside a taco? You mean…like some kind of 'Naco' or something?"
"Yeah. You're the restaurant critic…or you were. What do you think?"
"What do I think? That is downright genius!! A guy with your cooking talent could make millions off that…especially if you find a way to sell it worldwide."
Ron waved and grinned, "Thanks, Uncle Dave. I'll miss you."
David smirked, "I'll miss you, too, 'Little Man'!" With that, the circle disappeared.
As his eyes succumbed to darkness once again, Ron smiled and murmured, "A-boo-yeah!"
…One Thursday afternoon, Ron brought in the mail right after he got off the school bus. He took note of one item in particular. It was the October edition of school newsletter, M Cubed: The Middleton Middle Monthly. Since it was addressed to 'The Stoppable Family', he felt it was every bit within his rights to break the seal and read it before his parents got home.
As he perused one particular article, his eyes froze on its words. He could have sworn he heard a chorus of angels as he read the details…
The Middleton Civic Center is proud to host the Rocky Mountains regional for this year's Agri-Con® American Bake-Off® on Saturday, October 13th. Entries will be accepted in all four categories: 'Main Dish', 'Appetizer', 'Bread', and 'Dessert'.
In addition, two new categories are introduced for this year's competition. The 'Senior' category is open to contestants over age 65. The 'Junior' category is open to contestants ages 10-17, with parental supervision
Doors will open to the public at 9:30am. The 'Senior' and 'Junior' competitions begin at 10:00am. The 'General' competition will begin at 2:00pm. Tickets are 10 dollars each for the morning session, 20 dollars for the afternoon session, and 25 dollars for an 'all-day' pass. All proceeds benefit America's Second Harvest and its local partner, Food Bank of the Rockies.
Regional first-place winners in each 'General' category will receive 5,000 dollars each, with second-place winners taking home 2,000 dollars each. Regional first-place 'Senior' and 'Junior' winners receiving 3,000 dollars each, with second-place winners earning 1,000 dollars each. All regional first and second place winners advance to next month's Agri-Con® American Bake-Off® in Omaha. The Grand Prize winner in each 'General' category there will receive 1,000,000 dollars, with 'Senior' and 'Junior' national winners each receiving 500,000 dollars. All prizes will be furnished by the event's corporate partners; Agri-Con®, Toys 'B' Us®, PlasticMaid®, Samurai Cutlery®, Neverstick®, Flashpoint®, and Smarty Mart.
All contestants must 'pre-register' by phone by 6pm on Friday, October 12th. To 'pre-register', call 1-855-BAKE-OFF (1-855-225-3633). 'Pre-registered' contestants in the 'Senior' and 'Junior' categories are allowed access to the Civic Center at 8:30 on the 13th, to allow for placement of ingredients. All appliances, equipment, flatware, plates, glasses, and cookware will be provided.
A written copy of all recipes must be submitted by 'pre-registered' contestants, or parents/guardians for the 'Junior' category, no later than 9:00am on the 13th, regardless of category.
A complete set of rules can be obtained at the Agri-Con® website, the Middleton Civic Center box office, or here at the school office.
To all participating students and families, we at Middleton Middle wish you the best of luck!
Ron quickly glanced at the calendar…Thursday, October 11th. He knew he had to act fast if he was going to convince his parents to let him enter the contest.
While his mother was hesitant about allowing Ron to compete in sports, she was completely supportive of his cooking endeavors and experiments. In this field, it was his father who took exception to competitions. Donald Stoppable felt his son should begin down the path of following in his own footsteps as an actuary. Sure, Ron's grades were not yet up to snuff, but Don had faith they would improve in high school and college.
Ron knew he had to pull out all the stops. He looked at the clock and noticed it was 3:25. Thankfully, he knew his parents did not usually come home from work until approximately 6:30 or so. That's when Ron's fingers did some walking, or at least hit speed-dial, to call a very familiar number.
"Hello," replied the sweet voice on the other end of the line, "Possible residence."
"Mrs. Dr. P.?" He inquired. "It's Ron. No, I don't need to talk to Kim this time. I actually need your help with something. Could I get a lift to King Food…and maybe borrow a few bucks until I get my allowance? Thanks, Mrs. Dr. P…You're the best! I'll see you in ten minutes, then."
Ron used those ten minutes to review his ever-growing list of signature recipes and prepare a shopping list to include all the necessary ingredients he did not already remember finding in the pantry before he made the call. Luckily, he only lacked the meats for the main course and one or two items for his experimental 'showcase' dessert.
After he returned from his trip to King Food, Ron looked at the clock and smiled…
…There was still plenty of time for Ron Stoppable to execute…
…Donald and Jean Stoppable opened the door and were greeted with a full palette of joyful aromas. In addition, their only son, wearing a white shirt, black pants, and matching bowtie, met them just inside the doorway.
In his best French accent (which was not saying much), Ron motioned toward the dining room and bellowed "Bon-jewr, Monsieur and Madame Stoppablé. Welcome to Chez Ron-ald. Your us-u-al table eez available zis e-ve-ning."
Once they reached the table in question, Ron's parents were astonished. Two tapered candles, in a pine cone centerpiece, provided the only light in the room. They both got a chuckle when they noticed a bottle of sparkling apple cider sitting between the glasses poured for each of them. The bottle rested in an ice-filled bucket, chilling like champagne.
Ron gestured toward one seat for his father while pulling out the chair for his mother. Once the two of them were seated, Ron came up to his father and, in the same cheesy accent, said, "Monsieur, we have two spec-i-als zis e-ve-ning. Would you prefer ze salmon with lemon and baby carrots or ze porterhouse steak with buttered asparagus?"
Still slightly confused, Donald mentioned, "I'll…have the porterhouse…well done, but not dry, if it's possible."
"Splendid!" Ron beamed. Thankfully, he already knew how his dad like his steak, and it was just about finished in the kitchen. He turned to his mother and continued, "And what would ze lady prefer?"
Jean warmly giggled and replied, "I'll take the salmon tonight, Garçon."
Ron smiled and exclaimed, "An excellent choice, Madame. I will return shortly with your selec-ti-ons."
On that note, Ron turned on his heel and strutted away from the table, but not before hitting the 'Play' button on a 'boom-box' CD player near the kitchen door. Traditional violin music wafted from its speakers as 'Ron-ald' resumed his work in the kitchen.
Ron quickly put the finishing touches on the steak and salmon entrees. He knew his mother's favorite dish as salmon, so he cooked one steak and two salmon filets. Upon placement of the meat and vegetables on each of the heated plates, with the drizzled stripes of softened butter and the lemon wedges serving as garnish for each respective meal, Ron checked the refrigerator. He wanted to make sure the necessary parts for the surprise dessert, along with two other wine flute glasses, were properly chilled.
With a dramatic flare, Ron emerged with the dinners for his parents. After placing the dishes in front of each of them, he held the bottle of sparkling apple cider and offered refills for their glasses. Once that was completed, he declared, "I'm off to complete your dessert for zis ev-e-ning. I will return in a few meen-ettes to check on ze two of you."
After an even more pronounced strut into the kitchen, Ron quickly removed a cookie sheet from the top shelf of the refrigerator. The sheet was completely covered with a layer of graham-cracker crust, at just the right texture for use in his experiment.
Using the rims of the glasses like cookie cutters, Ron made six circles in the pliable sheet of crust. He then packed one of the circles into the bottoms of each glass. Soon, he brought out two bowls of pudding—one chocolate, one vanilla.
With a spoon, Ron dropped a layer of vanilla pudding and a layer of chocolate pudding before gently placing another graham-cracker layer half-way down the glass. He spooned another layer of each pudding in the glasses before capping them with the other cut circles of crust.
Not wanting to waste anything, he then formed most of the remaining crust into a pie pan and shaped the rest of the pudding into what he would call 'Yin Yang Pie'. It was styled like the well-known circular Tao symbol, with a spooned dot of vanilla pudding in the heart of the chocolate portion and a corresponding pip of chocolate pudding in the middle of the vanilla portion.
He had just enough leftover crust to shape the letters, 'THANKS MRS DR P' and carefully place them across the middle of the pie. Ron decided this would be his present to Kim's mother for helping him get the remaining ingredients he needed.
Once he finished with each of these desserts, he quickly dispatched them back into the refrigerator for a finishing touch of cooling that would solidify the units as more than merely a sum of their parts.
When he entered the dining room once more, he was met with the face of a mother concerned for her boy's well-being. Jean observed, "I didn't see you bring out a plate for yourself. What are you eating, Ronnie?"
Maintaining his poorly-accented character, he responded, "Not to worry, Madame. I knew you would order ze salmon. Eet ees your fa-vor-eet. Zat's why I cooked two filets while preparing ze steak." He motioned to Donald and added, "Whichever one Monsieur deed not order, I knew I would gladly consume. Besides, Ru-fus will get ze extra asparagus I left for heem to-night."
Jean rolled her eyes ever-so-slightly at the mention of Ron's imaginary friend. Still, she knew one other person who liked to 'raid the fridge' late at night. He would definitely enjoy those extra spears of green...with a little help from the microwave, of course.
A few minutes later, Ron decided to check on his parents once more, to see if everything was to their liking. It appeared the steak was perfect, the asparagus was delicious, the salmon was tasty, and the carrots added just the right touch to complete the experience.
Ron rushed back into the kitchen to grab a white envelope and the two desserts. He presented the desserts to his parents and announced, "Zis e-ve-ning, I pree-zent to you weeth ze 'Seven Tiers of Bliss' parfait."
While Jean marveled at the beauty and simplicity of the dessert, Donald eyed him suspiciously. "Okay, 'Ron-ald'," he challenged, "just what is all this about? Or, to put it in your terms…Check, please!"
Ron heartily laughed and produced the envelope from behind his back. Donald opened the envelope to reveal the newsletter, folded to emphasize the 'American Bake-Off®' announcement. After showing the announcement to Jean, he bore his eyes upon the boy and paraphrased a line from a movie they rented a couple of weeks earlier…
"Son, you had me at 'porterhouse'!"
Coming next week...
...An unusual 'cameo' appearance, a black belt, and a brain carved with precision...
Author's ending notes:
I swear…this thing was supposed to be only one…maybe two chapters at the longest. It just turned into 'Plot-Zilla' and began ravaging the countryside of my mind until it was finally eliminated. Now I know how Tokyo felt!!
In all seriousness, I really did have a blast putting all this together. I hope you come along for the ride.
The production of this story, like that for any work of fiction, is solely dependent upon the constructive feedback of its readers. If you like it, I will gladly make more. If you think of ways to make it better, I am always open to suggestions. If you really think it's a piece of garbage, stop me before I strike again!!
Once more, Review me, e-mail me if you wanna reach me! When you want to 'PM' me, it's ok!
Your friend in writing,
The Samurai Crunchbird®