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) Since most of the previous 'ch-RON-icles' were only one or two chapters in length, I did not have the opportunity to thank all the loyal readers (both of you!) who took time out of their busy schedules to read and review these installments. I especially wish to thank Mengsk, screaming phoenix, Captain IT, Kwebs, kaiokken, and CajunBear73 for their 'Chapter Three' reviews.
2) Today is a milestone date in my FanFiction 'career' (as it were, since we don't get paid or anything)...With this chapter, I have placed over 200,000 words on FanFiction for your reading enjoyment(?).
Sure...for many of you, that figure is probably mere 'chump change' (except for those who always write about monkey powers...in which case you would consider this 'chimp change'). Still, I consider it to be a great milestone, and appreciate all the support I have received in my first 11 months with FanFiction.
3) In addition to these 'ch-RON-icles', I have been 'beta-reader/story editor' for 'When Heroes Fall' since its third chapter. With the release of Chapter 37 this weekend, snapbang has written an epic story that is fast approaching its conclusion. While it is rated 'T' for violence and language, I encourage those who are comfortable with such items to read it (and maybe send a review). That is, after you are done here!
For now, let's just sit back and…
Enjoy the show!
'ch-RON-icles: American Dream'
Chapter Four: A Legend is Born
…For Marla Kildow, Robert Leigh, Holly Nielson, and Pat Hunter…
...Even while Ron was recovering from his mother's college story, the screen blessed him with a grand epiphany…
-- -- -- --
…A family was gathering around a table with a dull casserole of unknown origin as its centerpiece.
The faces of the family members were glum as an 'off-screen' announcer droned…
"Tired of the same boring dinner every night?"
…All four members of the family nodded before the announcer's voice brightened…
"Now you can bring the great taste of 'Tex-Mex' to YOUR hacienda…
with the new 'Bueno Nacho' line of spices, tortillas, chips, and sauces."
…A hand points to different toppings and basic ingredients…
"Just add your own ground beef, cheese, and fresh toppings…
and you have a fiesta for the whole family!"
The same people from the 'dull casserole' scene smiled at this point.
They wore ponchos and oversized sombreros,
similar to those serving as roofs for virtually every Bueno Nacho location worldwide,
as they shouted in unison…
…The next scene shows another hand pointing to various products,
emblazoned with the Bueno Nacho logo…
"There's nacho cheese, salsa, hard shells, soft flour tortillas,
nacho chips, seasoning for the perfect taco meat, and even…"
…Yellow and orange flames engulfed the screen as flaming red letters pounced in front of them.
The announcer's voice lowered and reverberated with a deep echo…
…The screen returns to an 'all inclusive' shot of the entire product line,
with various fiesta decorations festooned behind them.
Words above the products, in stylized letters, echoed the next line from the announcer…
…"Make ANY day a 'Muy Bueno' Day!"…
…The announcer's voice was subdued for the commercial's last line…
…"Another fine product from Triple-M Unity®."…
-- -- -- --
…Jean and Ron exchanged a knowing grin. She grabbed her car keys and offered, "One more experiment, Ronnie?"
Ron's smile grew wider as he agreed. "Mom, it's time to crank it up a level…"
They shouted once more, in unison…"BOO-YEAH!!"
…Now that Ron knew of the Bueno Nacho line of products, he could have just as easily listed them as ingredients in the recipe he would use for the competition. Of course, he thought the judges would frown on such a 'shortcut' being used by most cooks.
Unlike most cooks, however, Ron possessed a secret weapon…
…two eight-year-old geniuses who owed him…BIG time!
Ron did not encounter any resistance from their older sister or their parents, once they were reminded of the previous voting debacle. In fact, the woman he lovingly called 'Mrs. Dr. P.' insisted on having the boys use their 'Molecular Sorter' to separate the ingredients contained in the packet of 'Bueno Nacho' Taco Seasoning.
In less than an hour, Jim and Tim Possible isolated every ingredient by proportion and content. With the exception of a few trace items used merely as preservatives, the formula was much simpler than Ron ever anticipated.
Despite all the support from the Possible family, Ron felt a little guilty. Sure, the twins and 'Mrs. Dr. P.' were a big help. Even 'Mr. Dr. P.' provided a little assistance with powering the 'Molecular Sorter'. Ron still had an ache in his heart at the thought of excluding Kim, his best friend in the whole world, from all of this.
Thankfully, 'Mr. Dr. P.' provided a solution. Despite Kim's lack of ability in the kitchen, she used her mathematical skills to reduce the tortilla recipes normally written for much larger quantities. Through her efforts in division, the measurements aligned themselves to the creation of the six flour and six corn tortillas he needed for his recipe.
Of course, all of this assistance came at a price. In exchange for their help, Ron had to follow his new recipe and make the first batch for them. At least he did save one for himself this time!
Being the inventor of this creation, Ron had the honor of the first taste. Since his family was not Orthodox in their Jewish faith, he had no worries about the 'non-kosher' status of the dish. After taking one bite, he thanked God for His leniency.
As a special touch for her best friend, Kim also used a word-processing program to print clear copies of the final recipe. The resulting documents would be a far cry better than the hand-written recipe Ron submitted for the regional competition.
Kim made one more fateful contribution of her own, if only by accident. After the body of the recipe was typed and set properly in place, she began using different fonts to highlight the name of the recipe, 'Nacho-Taco'.
Ron took one look at the printed copy…and hugged the living stuffing out of her!
With such a display of affection…especially in front of her parents, Kim was dumbfounded. "Ron…Thanks for the hug and everything…but what is the sitch?"
Ron held the printed recipe and broadly smiled. "KP, don't you see it? Your typo has turned a great recipe into culinary history!"
Kim's face grew annoyed at this comment. "Typo? Ron, what are you talking about?"
Ron quickly pointed to the recipe's title. During her font experiment, a slip of her fingers inadvertently deleted some of the characters in the middle of the name just before printing the copies. Ron's jubilation was triggered by the recipe's new one-word title…
…Hundreds of people gathered at Middleton International Airport to wish Ron success in the competition. The itinerary for the Stoppables was quite simple…fly to Omaha on Thursday, plan everything on Friday, compete on Saturday, and return on Sunday.
Because of the scheduled timeframe, such travelling would normally cost a lot of money, especially short-notice flight booking, rental car, and hotel accommodations. Thankfully, Ron and his parents had a couple of things going in their favor. As Rocky Mountain champion, Agri-Con® paid for the flight. As brother, sister-in-law, and nephew of Sarah Stoppable Stein, they had a place to stay, ground transportation in the city, and time to fawn over her infant son, Aaron.
Kim volunteered to take notes and keep track of assignments until he returned. His sadness about making up the assignments was completely obliterated by another hug and forehead kiss from Kim, although she insisted it was once again just 'for luck'. His mind, of course, didn't clear out of its fog until the plane had already reached its cruising altitude...
...Sarah and Aaron met her brother, his wife, and her nephew at Omaha's Eppley Airfield. When they reached her house, they caught up on everything that happened since their last visit during Ron's 'Spring Break'.
The conversation soon turned to the upcoming contest. Sarah turned to Ron and asked, "I know David was the food critic, but he gave me a few pointers on the subject. Could I see that recipe of yours?"
Ron obliged and handed her a copy. After a quick scan of the ingredients, her face became bright. She wondered, "What time do you compete on Saturday?"
Ron thought for a moment. "We're supposed to report to the arena by 1:00. How come?"
Sarah's response was strangely vague. "Oh," she snickered, "you'll see."
…Friday morning found Sarah, Aaron, and the Stoppables in the middle of historic South Omaha. Sarah was careful to have Donald remain in the car with Aaron as she took Jean and Ron into a small store on 24th Street. It was not meant to slight Donald's cooking abilities. She just knew Jean and Ron would be more interested in what she had to show them. Besides, she couldn't think of a more responsible person to keep an eye on her baby than her big brother.
When they walked inside the Hispanic grocery store, Sarah explained, "Shortly after our honeymoon, David made burritos from scratch, all the way down to the freshly-made tortillas. He said he got many of his ingredients here, because they receive fresh shipments of flour, spices, and seasonings straight from Mexico every other week."
Ron sniffed some of the spice packets. "Mmm-MMM! You sure can't get more authentic than this!"
Sarah grinned, "That's why I brought you here. We still have to get the refrigerated items and cooking oil down at the Vee-Hi® supermarket just before we get to the arena tomorrow; but we can load up on most of the other supplies here."
After they made their purchases, Sarah took the rest of the day to show them around her adopted city. Because of the strong roots her late husband had in Omaha, his family welcomed her into their home with open arms after his tragic passing. Actually, they considered her part of their family from the day David introduced her to them over a decade ago.
Jean was spellbound by the masterpieces at the Joslyn Art Museum. She was also touched by the exhibits at the birthplaces of two polarizing figures in her younger days…Gerald Ford and Malcolm X.
Donald was fascinated by the tour of the Berkshire Hathaway headquarters. Thanks to some influence from Sarah's former in-laws, the family even had a thirty-minute meeting with Warren Buffet himself.
In the afternoon, they visited the Henry Doorly Zoo. Donald kept himself occupied in the aviary and aquatic sections of the facility, given his allergy to all kinds of fur.
Ron loved the polar bears, penguins, and even the llamas. His only 'low-light' of the day happened when they drew close to a deep, enclosed pit filled with…
"AAAACKK!! MONKEYS!!" Ron screamed as only the screen prevented him from being pelted by…something…one of the simians flung at him. From the smell of the…substance, his thankfulness for the screen was multiplied tenfold.
His legs kept running past the lions, past the elephants, past the tigers, and even past the zebras. He only stopped when he collided with an information sign. He rose up from that sign to see over a dozen pink faces curiously looking at him from the other side of a screen. It was as if they were the ones visiting an exhibit of him in his natural habitat.
Sarah, Aaron, and Jean rejoined Ron as he rose to read the sign describing these curious creatures…
Naked Mole Rat
…The next morning, they completed the necessary shopping at Vee-Hi® before proceeding downtown to Omaha's Civic Auditorium. Ron was astounded at the spectacle of it all.
The floor of the building's south end, designated as the 'Auditorium Arena', was filled with 100 individual kitchen stations. Red-white-and-blue place cards marked ninety-six of those stations. The other four stations were staggered throughout the four rows of twenty-five posts, serving as backups in case there were any issues with a station's appliances.
The stations were similar to those used in the regional competition. However each station had its own full-size Flashpoint® refrigerator and two shelves containing virtually every pan known to mankind. This made things easier for each contestant to access the items they needed. For so much prize money, every second counted.
The north end of the building lived up to its 'Exhibition Hall' moniker, as it took on the atmosphere of a county fair. Booths lined the entire area, featuring everything from kitchen equipment to restaurants offering franchise opportunities.
Ron would have loved to experience everything offered at these booths. However, he had ingredients to sort, pans to arrange…
…and a promise to keep.
Jean and Ron double-checked everything before the official start of the contest. Jean would remind her son of the item, and he made sure it was where it was supposed to be...
"Got your backpack?"
"Cold items in the refrigerator?"
"Bowls and mixers in place?"
"Chainsaw fully gassed?"
"Just making sure you were still with me…All the pans within reach?"
"Easy access to measuring cups and spoons?"
"Oil and dry ingredients properly arranged?"
"Got your 'good luck charms'?"
"Mom, that wasn't even funny the first time you did it."
"I'm serious, Ronnie…Look in your backpack!"
Ron followed his mother's instructions. There, in the front compartment, was a manila envelope, with a full sheet of paper providing instructions…
"To Ron, With L— Luck…(The first 'L' word was hastily scribbled into oblivion and substituted with the second)…Place the smaller slip of paper in your left shirt pocket, pink side inward, so that it is close to your heart. After that, wrap the other item through your belt loops and tie it tight. We don't you to show your boxers on national TV…Ha-ha…When you do this, I'll be there for you…Your best friend, Kim."
Ron examined the smaller piece of paper. What struck him as weird was the 'pink side' as Kim described it. The only thing pink on that side was an impression of a set of…lips? Ron thought it was strange for Kim to waste so much of her favorite shade of lipstick just to mark a silly piece of paper. Still, he was her best friend…and was glad she had his back for this.
Successfully placing the paper into his pocket (in the right direction, thank-you-very-much), he removed the other item from the manila envelope. It was the black belt Kim earned the day before the victory that earned his place here.
He had just enough time to finish tying the belt around his waist and donning his apron when he heard the competition's traditional countdown…
Because this recipe required substantially more work than the 'Seven Tiers of Bliss' recipe from the regional contest, Ron worked harder than even his mother had ever seen. It took every second of those two hours to make the tortillas, melt the cheddar cheese and chop the jalapeño peppers for the nacho sauce, fry the freshly-made corn tortillas for the nacho chips, brown and season the ground beef, chop the tomatoes and onions, shred the lettuce and taco cheese, and wrap all of these ingredients into the six flour tortillas.
A few times along the way, Ron turned toward the station next to him. It was occupied by Janet Martin, the one who sought to follow in the footsteps of her mother and grandmother as national champions of the 'Agri-Con® American Bake-Off®'.
It wasn't his nervousness that forced Ron's attention in that direction, though. A familiar scent was wafting from her station. That aroma made him think of a house hundreds of miles away from here, yet little more than a half-mile from his own home. It was the smell of good times…of life-long friendship just begging to grow into something more…of—no…that just wasn't Possible…
Thankfully, Jean's timeframe reminders every few minutes kept Ron's head in the game. Otherwise, he would have never finished in time.
As Ron finished lifting the ends of each the stuffed flour tortillas and securing them with a 'flour-water' mixture, he heard the audience chant…
A 140-decibel air horn signaled the end of the competition...
...Ron was thankful each category had its own set of judges. With two entrants from each of the eight regions, the 'Junior' category only had sixteen competitors. That meant he knew the judges would taste his creation while it was still piping hot.
What struck Ron as odd, however, was the number of other people who drifted from one set of judges to another. A few times, he saw one or two of those people hand some sort of card to a contestant. This made him really wonder…Was that card a warning? An 'Honorable Mention' prize? Some notes on how to improve a recipe?
All of these questions raced through his mind when his father, wearing an official 'Parent' security badge, joined Jean and Ron. Placing his souvenir program on the counter, he walked over and gave them a big hug.
"Ronald," he smiled, "no matter what happens with the judging, I want you to know just how proud of you we really are."
Since Donald was looking after Aaron each time everybody else went shopping, he reviewed the recipe and asked, "So…which of these ingredients did you get from the Agri-Con® table for this one, son?"
Ron's eyes grew wider than the griddles he used to cook the tortillas. The sound of four screeching tires echoed in his mind. He racked his brain in reviewing every ingredient on the list. When he discovered his answer, he could only hang his head in shame.
His voice was nearly a whisper. "I'm sorry, Dad. I…I…I got nothing!"
All three Stoppables knew the judges, openly on the payroll of Agri-Con®, would not look favorably on a dish made without using any ingredients made by Agri-Con®. Ron's remark in the recipe notes allowing substitution of the meat seasoning with 'Bueno Nacho' Taco Seasoning was of no help, either. That brand was made by the chief rival of Agri-Con®, Triple-M Unity®.
Ron began cleaning his counter when he noticed an advertisement on one of the open pages of his father's souvenir program. It mentioned a new brand of cooking oil called Lite-Fry®. He turned his head toward the other end of the counter and found his salvation.
"Mom! Dad!" He gasped. "The oil…It's Lite-Fry®!!"
Jean and Donald had not quite understood why that made Ron so happy until he showed them the ad in the program. This led to another group-hug as the judges approached their station.
During the visit from the judges, they sampled the finished product before taking another look at the recipe. One of the judges gave Ron a wary look before the boy indicated the cooking oil. The judge smiled, nodded, and remarked, "Good choice, son. We only released it two weeks ago. There wasn't even any available at the Agri-Con® tent."
Ron played it smooth at this point…well, as smooth as Ron could play things. "Well, you guys did right by me with the 'new and improved' Yippy® peanut butter you launched at the regional contest last month. I figured you wouldn't fail me here…with so much on the line and all!"
While the judges bought his explanation hook-line-and-sinker, another gentleman stood behind the judges. The smirk on this man's face saw right through Ron's attempt to 'appease the corporate machine'. Even so, he sampled one of the two remaining servings not touched by the four judges. Within seconds, the man quickly consumed the rest of it. After a moment to drink some of his bottled water, he took Donald to one side. The two men talked away from everybody else for a moment before the man gave Donald a card and shook his hand.
Once the judges left Ron's station, he and Jean quickly turned to Donald. Ron's earlier paranoia stood 'front-and-center' in his mind. He warily asked, "Dad, what did that man want to talk about…and why did he give you that card?"
Before Donald could answer, the announcer's voice demanded everybody's attention. Thankfully, this one was a lot more professional than the 'teleprompter reject' that emceed the regional contest…
"Ladies and gentlemen, the judges have reached their decisions. It's time to announce the winners in the 'Junior' category. These 16 kids defeated over 700 others in the eight regional competitions just to get here. Let's give them a round of applause."
…Some of the contestants waved to members of the audience as the crowd showed their support. Ron was no exception, giving a big wave to Aunt Sarah in the stands and a smaller 'baby wave' to little Aaron…
"Our 'Third Place' winner will receive 100,000 dollars, which will be put into a trust until the winner turns 21 years of age. That winner is…from the 'Great Plains' region…17-year-old Anna Blanton of Nebraska!"
…Since the contest was held in that state, it was natural for many of those in attendance to voice their approval while the rest of the audience politely applauded. In short order, the girl and her father came up to the stage, accepted the trophy and the oversized 'publicity check', and posed for pictures with 'Morselle', the mascot for the contest. They left the stage as the announcer continued reading the results...
"Our 'Second Place' winner will receive 200,000 dollars, which will be put into a trust until the winner turns 21 years of age. That winner is…from the 'Southeast' region…16-year-old Miguel Matteo of Florida!"
…A petite Hispanic female was led to the stage by what some mistook for a mountain. If a person did not hear the name called, they would have assumed this person was the parent, and the female was the winner. As the situation stood, the 'mountain' was actually Miguel, leading his diminutive mother to the stage.
While Miguel and his mother completed the prize-acceptance ritual, Ron leaned close to his parents and muttered, "I'd like to see those jerks back home call him a sissy!"
The announcer slowly moved back to the podium, but only after he made sure Miguel didn't eat him first…
"Our 'National Champion' will receive 500,000 dollars, which will be put into a trust until the winner turns 21 years of age. In addition to that, they will be invited to judge next year's 'Junior' category contestants. The 'Junior' winner of the 100th Agri-Con® American Bake-Off® is…from the 'Rocky Mountain' region…15-year-old Janet Martin of Utah!"
The entire auditorium erupted in cheers as Janet, her mother, and her grandmother gracefully sashayed onto the stage. With an air of royalty, she enjoyed the spoils of her 'claim to fame' as the first 'third-generation' winner in the history of the Agri-Con® American Bake-Off®...
...After all the shouting and hoopla subsided, Donald and his sister, Sarah, helped Ron finish cleaning his kitchen station. Sarah figured it was Jean's turn to spend some time with Baby Aaron. A few minutes into this activity, Jean asked Sarah for her diaper bag.
Donald snarked, "It doesn't look like he's leaking in the front. He must have left an 'Agri-Con®' if he needs to be changed!"
Sarah slapped him and shot back in mock-disgust, "Why, big brother…If I didn't know any better, I'd swear you were accusing the corporate sponsor of 'playing favorites' with those who mostly use their own products."
Donald flashed an evil grin, "Well, sis…If it looks like a dirty diaper, feels like a dirty diaper, and smells like a dirty diaper, chances are…it's usually full of—"
"Sooo, honey…" Jean quickly interjected. "You never did tell us what that other man wanted."
Donald explained, "That was a representative from one of the national restaurant chains. Since they bought a booth out front, they were given permission to lay claim to one or two 'first-chance' offers to buy the rights to certain dishes. The man loved Ronald's recipe. He said he wanted to put it on the regular menu by late December, if we give our approval."
Ron froze in place. "MY 'Naco'? Somebody actually wants to put MY 'Naco' on THEIR menu? Man…I'd give ANYTHING for that to happen!"
Donald gave a knowing glance. "I was thinking more like they give us a little something…say, a nickel per unit?"
Ron was still in a daze. His mind was too busy imagining the Naco's place in culinary history to comprehend his father's last statement.
Jean begged, "Donnie, don't keep us in suspense…who is it?"
Donald's smile grew bigger as he took the card out of his pocket. "Oh, I think you've heard of them."
He flipped the card so Sarah, Jean and Ron could finally see its printing…
'Have a Muy Bueno day!'
Founder and CEO"
Ron nearly squealed like a schoolgirl. "Mr. Bueno...himself...loved my 'Naco'?"
Jean smirked, "Well, 'Little Ronnie'…it looks Fate is about to take your life and crank it up a level…
The nearly-empty Civic Auditorium reverberated with the echoes of four triumphant voices screaming at the top of their lungs…
NOT SO FAST, Everybody!!
We still have ONE 'loose end' to resolve…
…Ron was home on summer break from college, watching five-year-old Hana Stoppable…at least the best he could, considering the rapid development of her ninja skills while he was away from home. Thankfully, he had the assistance of his best friend…turned girlfriend…turned fiancé…to keep the child from dishing out a Lorwardian level of destruction on the house.
While Ron, Kim and Hana were watching the season finale of 'Flippies: The Series', there was a knock on the door. Ron opened it to find a United Parcel Delivery® driver in his usual khaki-colored safari shirt and cargo shorts. The man held a box on a dolly that was nearly as tall as Hana.
The delivery driver's voice was monotone. "Package for Ron Stoppable…Will you si—" His eyes grew wide when he recognized Ron and Kim. "Holy Moses! You're 'Team Possible'!" He raised one hand. "Hang on a moment. I'll be right back."
Leaving the box and dolly in place, the driver ran back to his truck and pulled out a felt-tip marker and a plush toy. He returned to the doorway and said, "First, to make things official, I need you to sign for this package."
Once Ron completed the task, the driver held up the plush toy and begged, "Now, could you and Kim please autograph my daughter's 'MonkeyFox'? It would mean the world to her."
The 'MonkeyFox' CuddleBuddy was specifically designed in honor of Team Possible, reflecting Kim's 'blue fox' mentality and Ron's glowing-blue Mystical Monkey Power. Having the head and tail of a fox, along with the body of a monkey, the blue 'MonkeyFox' sparked a new generation of Cuddlers, and renewed interest in the hobby in general.
Fortunately, the tag on the 'MonkeyFox' provided enough room for both Kim and Ron to affix their autographs. The driver shook both their hands and gushed, "Thank you so much. You've just made the day of a very precious little girl."
Ron began, "Oh, it was"
"No big!" Kim continued. "We're just"
"Glad to help." Ron finished.
The driver's head went back and forth during those sentences. He reclaimed his clipboard, pen, dolly, and 'MonkeyFox' before walking away from the door. As he put those items back into the truck, he muttered, "Man…That 'Humans' article was right. They do complete each other's thoughts!"
Ron suspiciously eyed the package for a moment, until he caught the address…
1513 N 16th Street
Omaha NE 68110
…He quickly opened the box to find an envelope atop a layer of 'packing peanuts'. His parents were pulling into the driveway as Ron opened the envelope. Out of the envelope, he removed a check, a strange-looking pin, and the following letter…
"Dear Mr. Stoppable,
I hope this letter finds you well on your 21st birthday. With the contents of this envelope, we are living up to our end of the agreement made with your parents after the 100th Agri-Con® American Bake-Off.
As you may recall, Janet Martin was disqualified for her entry in the national competition. Her 'CrownLoaf' recipe was determined to be a differently-sculpted version of one she stole from a 'Dr. Anne Possible', who used it to make a 'BrainLoaf' in the regional competition…"
…Ron muttered in thought, 'I knew I recognized that smell from somewhere! I probably would've read the headlines this thing generated it I didn't have to do all that stinkin' extra homework.'
His eyes returned to the letter…
"Due to her disqualification, we attempted to award the grand prize to our second place winner, Miguel Matteo. He refused, claiming the 200,000 dollars he was set to receive for second place caused too much unrest in his family as it was.
We then offered the prize to our third place winner, Anna Blanton. She refused because of her faith. Just after she turned 18, she took a vow of poverty and joined a Philadelphia convent to become a nun.
Thankfully, as a contingency plan, we kept a ranking of the top-ten finishers in each competition. With you being the fourth-ranked competitor, this box contains your championship trophy, your 'Morselle®' pin, a standing invitation to judge any one of our future competitions, and your check for 500,000 dollars.
We wish you the best of luck in all your future endeavors.
(signature scrawled on the page)
President and CEO
Barely noticing his parents next to him, Ron was in shock. "I won…KP, I WON!!" He rushed up to Kim and gave her a Diablo-powered kiss before turning to his parents and complaining, "Why didn't you tell me I won?"
Jean Stoppable held the pin and check while giving Ron a knowing smile.
Ron groaned, "Let me guess…This is your way of telling me, right?"
Jean raised an eyebrow. "Are we getting that predictable?"
Ron replied, "Pretty much, yeah."
Donald explained, "Son, Agri-Con® came to us just before the following year's contest and made us an offer. We would accept the prize, and you would accept the title from that day forward, if we made no statements to the press about the whole thing."
Jean added, "Ronnie, we weren't sure of the Naco's success when it first debuted. We had no idea it would become enough of a success to have saved the whole Bueno Nacho restaurant chain on several occasions."
Donald continued, "I know you took a lot of grief from some of your classmates for winning the regional contest. We didn't want you getting hurt any worse than you already were."
He gave an apologetic glance toward Ron's fiancé. "We knew Kim would help you through any bullying; but I'm sure she would agree the easiest fight to win is one that could be avoided completely."
Receiving a silent nod from Kim, Jean concluded, "I guess you could say we simply 'had your back', son."
Ron removed the trophy from the box and placed it on the fireplace mantle. He then carefully placed the 'Morselle®' pin on Kim's shirt and gave her another quick kiss.
He noticed his mother and father each holding one of Hana's arms and wiping away the stray tears of pride with their other hands. Kim clutched the pin as if it were her own heart.
A tranquil, heavenly silence enveloped the room for a moment before Ron blurted, "Well, what are we waiting for? We can't have the 'guest of honor' late for his own party, can we?"
While everybody filed out toward Jean's minivan, Ron leaned close to Donald and muttered, "Be sure to bring the checkbook."
Donald stopped for a moment. "But they said the party was 'on the house', son."
Ron flashed his trademark goofy grin. "No…I mean THE checkbook!"
Donald gave him a wary look. "You're not going to go all 'gangster' on us again, are you?"
Ron chuckled, "That's 'gangsta', Dad…'gangsta', and I assure you, my intentions are quite noble."
…Most young men would choose to spend their 21st birthdays either enjoying a beer at a sporting event with friends or buying a round of drinks for complete strangers at a corner bar.
Of course, Ron Stoppable was not your ordinary 21-year-old! With all the thousands of options available to a world-saving, super-powered, red-blooded man such as himself, Ron and his 'child-like wonder' could only think of one place to celebrate with those nearest to his heart…
…JP Bearymore's Pizza Party-Torium!!
Ron was originally saddened, but understood when some of his friends were unable to attend. Wade had been stuck in Washington, overhauling and updating the Pentagon's entire computer system. Felix and Zita were taking summer classes back at the college and were unable to come back in time. Monique was in New York, getting ready for the release of her first 'fall collection'.
Still, it was nice to have both Possible and Stoppable households in attendance. As a matter of pride in such customer loyalty, the entire party was compliments of the Pizza Party-Torium. Jim and Tim Possible, along with their dates, made the most of the free pizza. Hana and Rufus (not the imaginary one) rewrote the 'high scores' of every game in the building. Both sets of parents were simply glad they wouldn't have to worry about their oldest children, now both of legal drinking age, driving home drunk.
When the both families began to leave, Ron looked at both of his parents and said, "Mom…Dad…If you want to take Hana outside, I'll join you in a moment."
Once he got affirming nods from both of them, he put one arm each on both of Kim's parents. He had a twinkle in his eye as he asked, "Could I talk to you two for a minute? If you want, KP could listen in. It also affects her…to a minor extent."
Dr. Anne Possible replied, "Of course, Ron." She turned to Jim and Tim. "Boys, go ahead and drive your dates home. We'll meet you back at the house, alright?"
"Thanks, Mom." The twins assured her in unison.
Ron led Kim and her parents over to a secluded table, near the corner of the restaurant.
"Mrs. Dr. P.," Ron began, "I just want to—"
"Ron," she interrupted, "you're going to marry my daughter soon. Please…call me 'Anne', okay?"
"Same thing with calling me 'James', Ronald." Her husband added.
Ron smiled broadly, "Of course, Anne…James. I really want to thank you both for being a second set of parents to me all these years."
Anne giggled, "Oh, honestly…it was—"
Ron finished, "No big. I know. What WAS big was the dent on your retirement fund caused by all those times you and Mr. Dr. P. had pay for what insurance didn't cover to keep fixing your house. From what I remember, rebuilding after the Lorwardian attack nearly drove the two of you into bankruptcy."
Kim spoke up at this point, "So…what's the sitch, Ron?"
Ron pulled out the letter from Agri-Con® and responded, "KP, the American Bake-Off® title was won using your mom's bon-diggety 'Brainloaf' recipe. My mom did some quick math, and said if that 500 'G's would have been invested in a growth fund for your mom and dad's retirement over the last nine years, a good financial planner would have gotten a 20 percent return, compounded annually. Okay…probably 14 or 15 percent…but 20 percent is such a nice, round number."
He pulled out another slip of paper and handed it to the woman beside her. "Mrs. Dr. P…Anne…Rounded to the nearest dollar, I believe this rightfully belongs to you."
He handed Anne a check drawn on his Naco royalties for 2,579,890 dollars.
She showed James the check and they both rushed to give Ron a hug. After a moment, Anne pulled back from the hug and tried to return the check. "Ron," she argued, "I can't accept this. You've kept my Kimmie safe all these years, which is more than any money could ever buy."
Ron countered, "Now, Anne…this is where I get to say it was 'no big'. It's the least I can do. Besides, that's less than a year's interest on the Naco royalties."
Kim agreed, "It was your recipe she stole, you know. Consider this 'justice being served'."
James raised an eyebrow. "Less than a year's interest, huh?"
Ron chirped, "A-Yup-Yup! But don't worry…All of you showed me how to 'do the right things' with that money, and not blow it like I tried to do before."
Kim smirked, "Well, then…I guess one of us doesn't have to worry about student loans anymore!"
All four of them shared one more laugh at that remark.
Okay…NOW it's over!
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 by gathering research on how to make tortillas from scratch…and by providing a loose plot link between 'Uncle David' and 'Lunch Lessons'. I hope you enjoyed the ride as well.
Please watch for new 'ch-RON-icles' as they come down the line.
The next one is scheduled to be released in two weeks.
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®