AUTHOR'S NOTES: This short little ficlet for the "Dr. Strangelove" fandom is a humorous yarn starring Merkin Muffley, our favorite imaginary 35th U.S. President, & his family. While I don't want to give away any information related to the plot, as doing so would make the story less enjoyable for you, I will say this: you may find it to be a very sweet read (& I do mean "sweet"—wink, wink!).

President Merkin Muffley & all elements & properties belonging to "Dr. Strangelove" © Stanley Kubrick & Columbia Pictures. I only claim ownership to the story itself, & all original characters contained therein, including (but not limited to) Rachel & Edgar Muffley.

When you're finished reading the story, feel free to leave a review. I'll take anything from simple comments to constructive criticism, as long as they're not flames or written in a mean, rude, or overly-harsh manner.

And now that my copyright-&-disclaimer is finished, let the fanfiction begin! Happy reading!

The humbly-decorated kitchen of the Presidential Mansion was filled with the sweet, homey aroma of warm, newly-baked cookies. The round pastries, fresh out of the oven, were all laid out neatly across the surface of a metal tray, which rested upon the top of the kitchen counter. Golden rays of brilliant summer sunlight filled the kitchen as they streamed through an open window, & the lacy white curtains that flanked either side of said window gently fluttered to & fro in the breeze that blew into the kitchen, coming in to cool off the cookies with delicate puffs of its breath. Wearing a light-pink apron over her favorite flower-printed dress, First Lady Rachel Muffley smiled as she gazed down at the tray of cookies on the counter, pulling her prized pair of plaid oven-mittens off of her hands & placing them down by the platter. Then, Rachel leaned forward a bit to take a big whiff of the cookies, before bending back upright & letting out a deep exhale, as her smile widened across her face. The cookies smelled absolutely delicious! Her sister was sure to enjoy eating every one of them, down to the very last bit...

Rachel was suddenly brought out of her reverie when she heard the sound of footsteps resonating across the kitchen. She turned around to see one of the White House servants, Christine, coming towards her with a look of anticipation on her face. "Yum," Christine said as she walked over to the kitchen counter. "Are those cookies I smell?"

"Yes, indeed, Christine," Rachel replied, "but I'm afraid these cookies are not for you." The First Lady pulled open one of the counter's built-in drawers, & began digging around inside it as she continued, "I baked them especially for my sister."

"Oh, of course," Christine muttered sadly, her face forming a mask of concern. "How's poor Sarah doing?"

"She's been feeling a lot less miserable since she first came down with the flu a few days ago," Rachel responded as she finished rummaging through the drawer & took out a heart-shaped cardboard box, which she placed by the cookie-tray on the counter. "And this batch of cookies will be sure to make her feel even better!"

"Oh, how wonderful! That's very thoughtful of you, Rachel!" Christine said, her smile returning to her face again. "Just make sure that the president doesn't try to get a hold of Sarah's cookies..."

"If Merkin knows what's good for him, he won't even think about touching this box," Rachel said with a slight glower, removing the lid of the heart-shaped container. "Or else, he'll have to face the wrath of..."

"The First Lady?" Christine finished.

"Well," Rachel said as she began dumping the cookies from the tray & into the heart-shaped box, "I was going to say, 'his sister-in-law', but 'the wrath of the First Lady' works just as well!" Christine & Rachel both laughed to themselves, as old friends often do, & after Rachel closed the lid on the cookie box, she picked it up off the counter & carried it out of the kitchen, as Christine trailed alongside her.

"So, where do you plan to put the cookies until you're ready to ship them off to Miss Sarah?" asked Christine, as she & Rachel made their way into the First Family's special dining room.

"I'll keep them right here," Rachel replied, going over to the large mahogany table in the center of the room, & placing the cookie box on its linen-covered surface.

"Err, Rachel," Christine said nervously, "are you sure that's a good idea? I mean, you'd be keeping the cookies in plain view of other people..."

"It'll just be for a few minutes," Rachel assured Christine, "while I go upstairs to fetch a pen & one of the 'get well' cards I bought the other day." With that, she scuttled away to exit the family dining room, & began walking through the corridor that led to an elevator on the east side of the building, which would take her up to the second floor (where the President's Bedroom—& the items she sought—were located). Shortly after the First Lady had departed from the dining room, Christine left the area to go outside & tend to the flower gardens in the President's Park. Little did the two women know, however, that their decision to leave the cookies unattended would turn out to be a foolish mistake...

President Merkin Muffley felt his stomach grumbling as he walked down the corridor leading to the White House kitchen. The Commander-In-Chief hadn't had any breakfast, & already, the hunger pangs were starting to ravage his stomach...He needed something to eat, quick, before his tummyache got any worse. President Muffley scuttled into the kitchen, & quickly took a look around, but when he didn't see any food lying about, he was about to make his way to one of the White House's other kitchens...that is, until he caught a whiff of something drifting from the family dining room. And it sure smelled delicious!

"Mmmm," President Muffley said to himself with an impish twinkle in his eyes. "My nose is picking up on something yummy...I think Rachel just baked something for me!"

Muffley walked into the dining room, & let his nose lead him to the table, where the box of cookies lay in full view of the President. "Oh, my goodness," President Muffley asked himself with a big smile of anticipation, "is that what I think it is?" Muffley pulled the lid off the top of the heart-shaped box, & upon first seeing its contents, his face lit up like that of a child who had just wandered into a candy store. "It is!" Muffley exclaimed cheerfully as he picked up one of the chocolate-chip pastries from the box. "Cookies!"

President Muffley promptly put the cookie in his mouth, & ate it, savoring each bite he got of the sweet morsel, until he swallowed it down his throat. But, somehow, one cookie didn't seem to be enough for President Muffley; he felt like he needed another cookie or two to fill his belly. "I don't think it would hurt if I had just one more cookie," President Muffley said, gazing at the open box with hungry eyes. Before he could stop himself, President Muffley reached for another cookie...then another...& another...& another...

In only a matter of minutes, Muffley had managed to eat the entire box of cookies, leaving nothing but crumbs & a few stray chocolate-chips. After swallowing the last cookie, President Muffley smiled in satisfaction as he licked his fingertips to get one last taste of the sweet pastries he'd just helped himself to. Then, with a smack of his lips & a tiny burp, President Muffley wiped at his mouth with his favorite lace handkerchief, before tucking the square cloth back into his jacket-breast pocket, & turning to make his way out of the family dining room.

As a reenergized President Muffley merrily strolled down the first-floor corridor, Rachel (who was also walking down the hallway, holding a greeting card & ballpoint pen in her hands) passed by her husband as she traveled in the opposite direction, heading towards the kitchen. Not noticing Rachel at first, Muffley continued on his way with a bouncy spring in his step...but as he did so, he couldn't help but overhear Rachel talking with Penelope (one of the kitchen maids); the two women's voices carried over the strains of Tomaso Albinoni's "Adagio For Strings & Organ", which flowed from the East Room on the other side of the building (the members of a famous orchestra had come to the White House ballroom to practice for their performance at a forthcoming ceremony).

"Oh, Mrs. Muffley," Penelope said to Rachel, "I see you're almost ready to deliver your gift package to Miss Sarah!"

"Yes, Penelope," Rachel replied. "As soon as I put a little message & my signature on this card, I'll take the box, & head off to my sister's house. I'm quite sure that Sarah will really enjoy letting me stay to visit her for a while, once I give her that nice box of cookies I just made..." Upon hearing this, President Muffley suddenly stopped in his tracks, & snapped out of his earlier cheerful state. A guilty look spread across his face, & he began to appear quite nervous. Had he done something that he shouldn't have done? Muffley's fears were soon confirmed when he heard Rachel shouting from the family dining hall: "What...the...Dickens?! Who ate all of Sarah's cookies?!"

Oh, shucks! President Muffley mock-cursed mentally to himself in reprimand, having just realized his mistake. If I had known those cookies were going to my sister-in-law, I would never have eaten them! Why couldn't I have just asked Frannie, the head cook, to make me some of her famous kisses candies? Then, I could've staved off my hunger, without doing anything stupid to get me into trouble! Oh, Merkin, you're such a darn, ding-dong fool sometimes...And President Muffley only continued to feel worse when he heard Rachel launching into a heated discussion with Penelope.

"Who could have possibly eaten the whole box of cookies?" Rachel asked angrily.

"I-I don't know," Penelope answered nervously. "Maybe, one of the servants found the box, & ate the cookies, thinking they were for him."

"I find that highly unlikely, Penelope," Rachel scoffed. "The servants know that they should always ask me or Merkin first, before they touch anything that's lying around."

"Then the only other person I can think of," Penelope said, "who would've eaten the cookies is..."

"Edgar!" Rachel exclaimed. "Of course!" Looking madder than a swarm of bees, Rachel marched out of the dining room, & began storming down the hallway as she made her way over the elevator, grumbling angrily to herself, "I can't believe my son ate all those cookies—without even bothering to ask me for permission first! He's going to get a big talking-to, just as soon as I get up to his room..."

Unbeknownst to Rachel, President Muffley had overheard her ranting & raving, & now, he was feeling even guiltier than he had been just a few seconds ago. I don't want Edgar to get in trouble for something I did, Muffley thought. I need to confess to Rachel, tell her what happened...But what if...No. Rachel's my wife; she knows me better than anybody else. I'm sure she'll understand it was a mistake!

Without waiting another second, President Muffley ran down the hallway as fast as he could, hoping to catch up to Rachel before she left for Edgar's room. No sooner did Muffley approach his wife & reach out to her, than he tripped over a bump in the carpet, but as he fell, he grabbed onto the hem of Rachel's dress & tugged on it sharply, prompting Rachel to turn around & face him.

"Merkin!" Rachel gasped when she saw her husband looking up at her with a timorous expression, trying (without much success) to force a smile. "Honey, what happened to you? Why do you look so worried?"

"W-Worried?" President Muffley piped up timidly, before stifling a gulp & shaking his head fiercely as he broadened his "smile" & tried to assure his wife, "Oh, I-I-I'm not worried, Rachel!" More to himself than to Rachel, Muffley muttered with a wince & a downcast glance to the floor, "To tell you the truth, I'm actually quite...terrified..."

"Terrified?" Rachel asked President Muffley in concern. "About what, Merkin?"

President Muffley gulped again, & had to force himself to tilt his gaze back up at his wife; Rachel didn't look so angry anymore, but her change in demeanor didn't do anything to make the President feel better about the task that lay ahead. Even so, he decided to try & explain things to Rachel as best he could. With the classical music from the East Room becoming louder & greater in intensity, providing a powerful musical backdrop for the scene that was now taking place, President Muffley felt his composure crumbling apart as he stared at his darling Rachel with a pathetic frown, & told her, "Rachel...I have a confession to make. I...I ate the cookies you were going to give to your sister."

Upon registering what President Muffley had just told her, Rachel's eyebrows flew up in shock, then furrowed in irritation as she placed her hands on her hips & scolded her husband, "Merkin! How could you?"

Now at the point where he couldn't remain calm any longer, President Muffley burst into tears & clutched desperately at the hem of Rachel's dress, as he kneeled in front of his wife & sobbed pitifully, "I didn't mean to, honey, but I didn't have any breakfast this morning, & I was hungry...Then, I saw the cookies lying on the table, & they looked delicious! I-I took one of the cookies, & I ate it, but, somehow, it wasn't enough! I couldn't help it, Rachel! I just had to finish the rest of the box...I know I shouldn't have done it, but the cookies were all so yummy, &...Oh, Rachel, I'm so sorry! Please forgive me!" At this point, President Muffley broke down & collapsed in grief, releasing Rachel's dress & bringing his hands up to his face, so that he began weeping openly into his palms. As this all took place, the melodramatic music flowing from the orchestra's instruments reached a crescendo, then gradually became softer & quieter as President Muffley continued to cry, unable to control his emotions.

"You have every right to be angry at me, Rachel," President Muffley sobbed. "Go on, & punish me for eating the cookies. I deserve it!"

Realizing that Muffley had only made a mistake, Rachel's expression softened, & she knelt down to the President's level, gently giving him a big hug as she patted his back & stroked the top of his balding head. "Don't worry, Merkin," Rachel assured her husband. "I forgive you for what you did..." President Muffley sniffled a bit, as he dried the last of his tears with his hankie, & smiled at his wife. "But since you already mentioned it," Rachel added with a mischievous grin, "I'm not going to ignore the matter of your punishment..."

"Oh, dear," President Muffley said, looking nervous again. Here it comes...

"Come to the kitchen with me, & put on a spare pair of oven-mittens," Rachel said as she helped her husband off of the floor & onto his feet. "I hope you're not wearing your best suit today...We wouldn't want to get flour & chocolate stains on it!"

President Muffley moaned to himself in frustration. Out of all the forms of punishment that he imagined Rachel would bring upon him for eating Sarah's cookies, he didn't expect this!

"But, Rachel," Muffley whined as his wife led him back down the hallway, "you know I do terribly at baking!"

"And that's why I'm going to help you, Merkin," Rachel said as she approached the kitchen door, before opening it to allow room for President Muffley to enter the chamber. "You & I are going to bake an even bigger, better batch of cookies for Sarah!"

"Well, since you promise to help me, I suppose that's not too harsh of a punishment," President Muffley said, chuckling a little as his face formed a coy smile.

As soon as they entered the kitchen, got out the necessary supplies, & put on their cooking gear, the First Couple began working on the second batch of cookies for Sarah. Aside from occasionally dropping an instrument or making a small mess on the counter, President Muffley didn't have much trouble (although Rachel's assistance certainly made his task a lot easier), so it wasn't a great struggle for the Commander-In-Chief & his wife to put the ingredients all together & prepare the cookies for baking.

After sitting in the oven for about an hour, the cookies were finally finished. Rachel took the tray of pastries out, then gave them a few minutes to cool off, before going over to President Muffley, who was standing at the edge of the counter, displaying the new, larger, fuschia-colored box he had placed on its surface. "Ready when you are," Muffley said cheerfully as he opened the lid of the box.

Slowly, carefully, Rachel tipped the metal tray over, watching as the cookies fell into the once-empty box, one by one. Then, Rachel sorted out the cookies so that they would fit more easily inside the box, & once she had done that, she gently took the box's lid from her husband's hands, before setting it down on top of the container & securing it snugly in place with a bright-pink ribbon. After that, Rachel tugged on the loops of the ribbon-knot to tighten it, before sliding her sister's "get well soon" card (which she had signed a few minutes earlier) underneath the band of fabric. "There we go!" Rachel said with a smile of satisfaction. "All ready for Sarah!"

"So, I guess my punishment's over now?" President Muffley said, looking up from the box at his wife with a sheepish grin.

"Almost," Rachel replied, smirking as she took the cookie box & handed it to her husband. "While I'm getting ready to go visit Sarah, you can go to her place, & give her the cookies for me."

The grin soon disappeared from President Muffley's face when he was faced with the prospect of personally making the delivery to Sarah...Sarah, his dreaded sister-in-law! Now, President Muffley was usually a very peaceful & amicable man, who tried his best to get along with others, & in the time that he had been married to Rachel, he had formed strong relationships with everyone in his wife's family...everyone, that is, with the sole exception of Sarah. For some reason that was unknown to President Muffley, Sarah just didn't seem to like him. Although conflicts between husbands & sisters-in-law do tend to happen on occasion, it's far less common to see a deep, deep rivalry take root among such people, but in spite of the odds, that rivalry certainly took root among President Muffley & Sarah.

No matter where they were, what they were doing, or who they were with, the President & his sister-in-law would make their best attempts to try & treat each other civilly, only to have those attempts blow up in their faces. The squabbles & feuds that took place among the two usually started over small, trivial matters—like forgetting to wipe one's shoes on the doormat, moving a treasured heirloom just a few inches away from its "proper place", or using Sarah's good lace coasters to clean one's glasses—but neither Sarah or President Muffley would allow themselves to move past those annoying issues, even at the insistence of others. Eventually, Sarah's nonstop nitpicking would cause President Muffley to get irritated & start snapping at Sarah, until Sarah felt the need to lash out at her brother-in-law, & then, everything escalated from little disputes, to noisy arguments, to full-blown shouting & screaming matches.

President Muffley hated to get angry at other people, no matter how much they irritated him, & after he calmed down from his outbursts, he would always feel bad about his behavior toward Sarah; not only did Muffley go out of his way to try & make up with his sister-in-law, but he would also apologize to her—multiple times! But, unfortunately, President Muffley's attempts at making peace with Sarah never seemed to work, & as if losing his temper & acting rudely to Rachel's sister didn't make Muffley feel bad enough already, Sarah was always criticizing the President over every little thing he ever did or said—be it his choice of clothing, the brand of cologne he wore on special occasions, the music he liked to listen to in the family limousine, or even the way he had redecorated the White House during the first few years of his term! No matter how hard President Muffley tried, he could never seem to please Sarah, & the more he thought about her failure to find the least bit of favor with him, the more upset he would feel. (Sometimes, Muffley couldn't help but wonder if Rachel ever listened to her sister's constant complaint that she had married a "no-good husband"...) But in any case, the irreparable schism between him & Sarah was the primary reason why President Muffley didn't think he could give her the cookies himself.

"Rachel," Muffley pleaded, "can't you send one of the servants to do it? I don't think I'm the right person for the job..."

"If you don't take those cookies & bring them to Sarah within the next 10 minutes," Rachel warned her husband with a waggling of her forefinger, "I'm going to grab my rolling-pin off of the counter, & beat your hide with it!" The First Lady was only kidding, of course, but she hoped that would encourage President Muffley to carry out the last of his duties.

"All right, all right, honey," President Muffley relented as he leaned over to pick the box of cookies up from the counter, before tucking it underneath the crook of his arm. "I'll go..." While Rachel watched on with a satisfied smile, Muffley reluctantly shuffled his feet as he walked over to the door, opened it, & made his way out of the kitchen to begin the journey to Sarah's house.

Thankfully, Sarah's house was in one of Washington, D.C.'s more affluent suburbs—not too far away from the White House—so President Muffley (who had decided not to take a limousine) didn't have to walk far until he reached his destination. Not paying attention to the amazed looks & shouts of greeting that were given to him from astonished passers-by, President Muffley stared ahead of him as he walked down the city sidewalks, struggling to see past the bright rays of sunlight that penetrated the lens of his eyeglasses. The sun was at its highest point in the sky, & after he was done making his delivery to Sarah, President Muffley couldn't wait to come back home & share some lunch with his wife & son in the family dining room, before they left to pay a visit to "dear Aunt Sarah".

Rachel & Edgar can go see Sarah if they want to, President Muffley thought to himself with a look of mild annoyance, but I don't think showing my face in front of her—well, after I give her the cookies, that is—would do any good for me or her. Quite the contrary, in fact; I'm sure Sarah will feel a lot better, just by not having to put up with me & all my "annoying habits"!

President Muffley didn't bother to look at his watch as he trekked through the streets of America's capital to reach the front gates of the neighborhood where Sarah lived, but when he'd entered the area & finally made it to his sister-in-law's front porch, he guessed the trip must have taken him about 10 minutes or so. Let's hope this is worth all the trouble I went through today, Muffley prayed as he reached out his left hand to knock on Sarah's door. A few seconds passed, until Sarah came to greet the visitor at her doorstep...&, upon seeing who it was, frowned in irritation. Dressed in a pink nightgown, robe, & slippers, with her sand-colored hair kept up in pink rubber curlers, Sarah glared at Muffley with that bitter scowl that her face always displayed whenever she was forced to come into contact with her "not-so-dear" brother-in-law.

President Muffley (who wasn't exactly one of the tallest men in Washington, D.C.) gulped a little when he saw Sarah, a woman of very impressive height, towering in front of him like an angry giant...but he managed to muster his courage, cracking a timid smile as he pushed his glasses up the bridge of his nose, & gave a little wave of his left hand to Sarah. "H-H-Hi, Sarah," Muffley said as cheerfully as he could. "Rachel & I heard that you were still feeling sick, so we baked you these cookies to cheer you up!" With quivering hands, Muffley took the cookie box out from underneath his arm, then presented it to Sarah, waiting for her to take the gift that was being offered to her. "H-H-Hope you enjoy..."

"Thank you so very much, Mirko," Sarah said in a voice dripping with sarcasm, as she reached out & snatched the cookie box out of President Muffley's hands with a single swipe.

"Y-You're welcome, Sarah," Muffley said, the smile on his face now beginning to falter. The President knew it had been foolish of him to even think, for just one moment, that Sarah would show a hint of kindness towards her brother-in-law, let alone in return for his gracious deed. President Muffley just couldn't do anything to win the favor of his sister-in-law, even when he tried to do something nice for her while she feeling in low spirits...but then again, wasn't Sarah always feeling in low spirits? (It would certainly explain why she was so rude & condescending to him, & why they never succeeded in their attempts to get along...)

"I hope," Sarah continued, "that Rachel will continue to check up on me in the last few days of my illness."

"She will," President Muffley replied. "In fact, she & Edgar will be coming to see you after lunch."

Much to Muffley's surprise, the corners of Sarah's lips turned upward into a rare smile. "That's wonderful," she said, the tone of her voice actually sounding pleasant for once...until her smile disappeared, & her face returned to its usual glower. "I sincerely hope," Sarah added with her characteristic cynicism, "that you'll be joining your wife & son during their visit..."

President Muffley didn't want to even encourage the thought of it. He fiercely shook his head to & fro, wildly waving his arms & hands in front of himself, as he blurted out frantically, "No, no, Sarah, don't be ridiculous!" Then, remembering his manners, Muffley composed himself & said more solemnly, "I'm afraid I'll be much too busy for the rest of the day...After all, Sarah, a president does have his duties to attend to."

"Well, when Rachel & Edgar get here, why don't we all say a little prayer, & hopefully, our nation's leader won't be too bogged down..." Sarah said with a spiteful smirk. Then, after briefly blowing a raspberry at President Muffley, she ducked inside her house, taking the box of cookies with her. As soon as Sarah had slammed the front door to close it, President Muffley gave out a little sigh; he knew that his sister-in-law didn't intend to speak to him for a very long time, & quite frankly, neither did he. But now that this ordeal was over, the President could return to the White House & have his midday meal with his family, before they went off to visit Sarah.

As President Muffley was traveling down the sidewalk on his way back to Pennsylvania Avenue, he passed by several buildings, many of which provided less-political services to the citizens of Washington, D.C.: a laundromat, a few restaurants, a bookstore, a toy shop, a bakery...When he passed by the bakery, President Muffley could smell some of the goodies that were being made there, but just as he began to lick his lips hungrily, he immediately stopped, & shook his head in self-refusal. No, Merkin, don't even bother, he admonished himself. I'm sure Rachel will have some goodies for you to eat after lunch is over...But President Muffley decided to stop by the bakery for a few seconds, just to see what was on display in the store's windows. Pressing his hands & face against the wall of the great glass barrier, President Muffley's bespectacled eyes grew wide when he took a look at all the delicious cakes, donuts, chocolates, cupcakes, &...oh, sweet, merciful heavens! Not cookies, too!

Just as he was about to finally find some peace & happiness, after all the heck he had gone through today, President Muffley could feel his earlier disappointment & displeasure returning to him...followed by a sense of bubbling, boiling fury that was beginning to surface. Muffley's initial look of shock & dismay became a look of irritation, &, then, a look of utter rage! There they were, those chocolate-chip cookies that rested in a pile on top of the display stand in the bakery window, serving as a blatant reminder of all of his past troubles...The infernal cookies were just lying there, in plain view of the President, mocking him! Mocking him!

Finally, President Muffley couldn't take it anymore. Deciding that it was better to release his pent-up emotions now, rather than come home for lunch as a grouchy old sourpuss, Muffley glared at the cookies in the window as he took a step back from the bakery building, &, after quickly looking around, picked up a small rock that had been lying on the sidewalk. President Muffley then prepared to throw the rock at the nearest possible thing he could hit—the window—but then, he reconsidered, realizing that damaging the property wouldn't end in anything but a lawsuit, possible jail time, the disappointment of his family (not to mention even worse treatment from Sarah!), utter humiliation, a national scandal, impeachment, &—perhaps the worst thing of all—the loss of his integrity & his status as an upstanding citizen of the United States.

So, with a heavy sigh of frustration, Muffley let the rock fall to the ground, & he resorted to the least-harmful way of releasing his rage. He brought his right leg back as far as it could go, then closed his eyes, swung hard...& slammed his shoe into the brick wall of the bakery. Poor President Muffley immediately let out an anguished cry & grabbed the stubbed toes of his right foot, which he held in his hands as he hopped up & down on his left leg, grumbling & fumbling to himself until, after a few moments, the pain—& his anger—went away.

When he was beginning to feel better, President Muffley put his right leg back down on the ground, then took a few deep breaths, & continued on his way back to the White House. He couldn't wait to eat lunch with Rachel & Edgar! Oh, how Muffley was looking forward to the delicious dishes & culinary delights that awaited him in the family dining room...although, secretly, he was hoping that Rachel hadn't made any cookies for dessert. Because after what happened today, President Muffley was positively certain that he didn't want to even hear the word "cookie" for quite some time.

Within 5 minutes after the incident outside of the bakery, President Muffley was merrily strolling through the entrance of the White House, & just as soon as he entered the lobby, he smiled widely when he heard his 6-year-old son, Edgar, calling out to him in greeting. "Papa," Edgar cried joyfully as he dashed through the lobby & leaped into his father's arms for a big hug, "you're back!"

"Yes, I am, Edgar," President Muffley replied cheerfully as he carefully lifted his son off of his body & lowered him down onto the floor, before tousling Edgar's short, dark hair. "So, are you ready to eat lunch with me & Mommy, before you go to Aunt Sarah's house?"

"Uh-huh!" Edgar said with a big smile of his own, nodding his little head in affirmation. "And guess what Mommy made for dessert?"

"Wait, wait, don't tell me," President Muffley responded in a playful manner, scratching his chin "thoughtfully" as he hemmed & hawed while deciding upon an answer. "Did Mommy make...a big cake?"

"Nope!" Edgar replied, shaking his head to & fro.

"Did Mommy make Ozark pudding with ice cream?" asked President Muffley.

"Uh-uh!" Edgar answered with another shake of his head.

"I give up, then," President Muffley said with a look of mock-defeat on his face. "What did Mommy make for dessert, Edgar?"

Edgar's smile became even bigger as he stretched his arms out wide in jubilation & told his father, "She made chocolate-chip cookies!"

Oh, the irony...oh, the laughable irony! President Muffley was at a complete loss for words when he registered what Edgar had just revealed to him. In fact, he was so stunned by the utterance of that single term—the name of that pastry that had bothered him all day—that he fainted & fell to the floor! When he woke up a few seconds later (thanks to Christine's clever use of a smelling-salt), Muffley was still feeling a little uneasy as he made his way to the kitchen, where all the other servants had lunch ready for the President & his family.

As he helped himself to his meal, however, President Muffley began to feel a lot better, & when it was time for dessert, he was feeling well enough to not only bear hearing the word "cookies", but even to take a few of the sweets & put them on his plate! Rachel & Edgar both smiled as they watched Muffley eat every last bit of his delicious chocolate-chip cookies, & once he had finished eating & dabbed at his mouth with his handkerchief, he smiled at his wife & son. "You know, having those cookies for dessert really made my day!" President Muffley said, as the smile that had returned to his face began to widen, & he leaned back comfortably in his chair with a look of contentment.

"Glad you enjoyed them, Merkin," Rachel told her husband with a smile of her own.

President Muffley pushed his chair back from the table, then rose to his feet & began walking away to leave the dining room, but as he did so, he turned to face Rachel, & asked, "By the way, when you & Edgar are done visiting Aunt Sarah, would you please make sure to call the boy at the shoeshine store, & ask him to come over this afternoon?"

"Sure thing, Merkin," Rachel replied, getting up with Edgar to help the servants put away the dishes & silverware. "Wait—why does he need to come over today?"

"Well," President Muffley responded with a coy grin as he opened the kitchen door to make a quick exit, "let's just say that I...tripped over a pebble & scuffed one of my shoes on the way home..."