Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Goldilocks strolled into the kitchen like the she owned the place, the fire alarm ringing all around her, and went straight to the three bowls of lobster bisque. She went to the largest of the three bowls first, took a spoon, and tried a bit. The bisque burned her tongue and she threw the spoon to the ground in anger as she shouted a curse the likes of which should never be repeated ... by anyone ... to anyone ... for any reason.
It certainly won’t be repeated here.
She cursed again when she realized that she just threw her spoon to the ground and in her rage she swept the large bowl of bisque from the counter and smiled in silent satisfaction as it shattered on the floor, spilling lobstery goodness everywhere. She then went looking for another spoon.
Finding a new spoon she skipped the medium sized bowl, fearing it would be just as hot as the large bowl. She figured that the small bowl, having less in it, would have cooled down sooner and so went for that next. Sadly, she was disappointed by how cold the bisque was and so, like its large companion, the small bowl soon found itself in pieces on the floor, its contents mixing with that of its chum.
So she tried the medium sized bowl. She carefully filled her spoon. She brought the spoon to her lips. She took a small, tentative sip. Her knees suddenly went all wobbly and she fell to the floor, landing on her bottom. She smiled as she let the bisque, which was at the perfect temperature, slosh about in her mouth. She moaned. The taste was like nothing she’d ever experienced. It was like each of her pleasure centers were being turned to eleven at the same time.
She began to feel angry and cheated when she realized that she’d just thrown two bowls of this ... perfection, to the ground. What a waste. She wanted to punch something. Instead she swallowed the bisque and was suddenly swept away by the sheer ecstasy of the flavors that met in her tummy. She actually passed out for a moment.
She woke and pulled herself to her feet, spoon in hand, and bent over the bowl once more. She took her time with the bisque. Savoring every drop. Even licking the bowl clean when she could no longer manage to scoop any more on to her spoon.
Once her belly was full, she decided to go exploring. She was a little tired from her day and wanted a place to just sit for a while. Of course, the continuing high volume claxon of the fire alarm did little to provide an atmosphere of peace and tranquility, but still, Goldilocks had a talent for putting herself in a complete and total restful state pretty much on command.
After just a few minutes of searching she found a room with three chairs that sat before a fire place on an exquisite Persian carpet. There was a large plump recliner, a medium sized wooden rocking chair, and a small bean bag chair. All three sat in a slight arc facing the fire place so that whomever could sit, read, and enjoy the fire.
Silence roared into the room as the sound of the alarm came to an abrupt end and Goldilocks smiled.
She was about to try out the recliner when she heard the unmistakable sound of a large sword being drawn behind her. She turned and found the most attractive man she had ever seen standing just inside the room. It was The Beast. He was holding a large sword in both hands and he was smiling.
“Hello, Lucy,” he said.
“Tim,” she replied icily.
Then she threw a chair at him.
Monday, May 13, 2013
About the time that Colin Pig was dropping to the floor of the Brick House Gas and Groceries, Jack Horner, the Griswold’s head of security, was serving Goldilocks a cup of coffee in the Griswold House kitchen.
At least, Goldilocks supposed it was a kitchen. Of course, she knew that it obviously was a kitchen, what with all of the ovens and refrigerators and freezers and automated dishwashers. Plus all the counter space filled with mixers and knives and spoons and spices and fruits and vegetables and all the various tools needed to whip up a meal. Then you add to the mix the scores of men and women, both human and animal, all dressed in white uniforms, aprons, and hats. Well, she had to come to the logical conclusion that this was, in fact, a kitchen. She had just never seen a kitchen this size, at least outside of a five-star restaurant.
Goldilocks sat on a tall stool, practically in the center of the bustling kitchen. Everyone worked with a precision that made her think of the ballet. Every single person in this room, apart from herself and Jack, had a role, and they were performing that role with a skill and sense of pride the likes of which hasn’t been seen outside of a Peter Jackson trilogy blockbuster movie set.
“I believe that I should contact the authorities,” Jack said suddenly.
Goldilocks had to truly reach deep inside herself for the strength to keep her eyes from rolling in contempt. She’d used the story that she’d been attacked to get inside the house, and now that she was in, she wasn’t about to let Johnny Law spoil her chance to get a free meal and possibly a pillow to lay her head.
“Oh please,” she said, reaching out and placing a hand on Jack’s arm. “I don’t want to be any trouble. I just want to forget this whole thing. I just want to rest and wait for my friend.”
Then a smell hit Goldilocks. An aroma that enveloped her senses, took her gently by the hand, pulled her into a loving embrace, caressed her hair with thoughtful affection, and mewled sweet nothings softly into her ear before slapping her across the face with a large open palm. She almost fell off the stool with the pleasure that the scent wrapped her in.
She stood, shaking slightly. She struggled a bit to place her coffee on the stool without spilling or dropping it. Then she stuck her nose high up into the air, and without any thought to how a lady might act in polite society, took one, great, loud and long, sniff.
“Oh my,” Goldilocks said, turning to Jack. “What is that enchanting aroma?”
“That is the chef’s famous lobster bisque” said Jack, smiling with pride and pointing to something behind Goldilocks. She turned and saw a large man, whom she determined was the head chef based entirely on the sheer immensity of his great floppy white hat. He was carefully ladling the lobster bisque into three separate bowls. A great big bowl. A medium sized bowl. And a small child’s bowl.
Goldilocks looked from the three bowls to a small red box on the wall. The box had a glass front with a red button behind it. There was lettering just above the glass front that said:
BREAK GLASS IN CASE OF FIRE
Goldilocks looked from the box back to the three bowls. Then she smiled slightly as the beginnings of a plan began to form in her head.
Her plan was simple, Goldilocks would just need to distract the army of people in the kitchen long enough to press the fire alarm. The ensuing panic and chaos of the subsequent evacuation would be enough, she hoped, to allow her to slip away, circle back to the kitchen, and feast.
There were, of course, many flaws to her plan. First and foremost, she noticed that there were sprinklers in the ceiling. Goldilocks wasn’t sure how fire sprinklers worked. She was fairly certain they wouldn’t just start spitting water when the alarm was pulled, but if they did, it would be like eating in the shower. And from what she understands, the water that comes out of those sprinkler systems is old, filthy, and smelly. No thanks.
Secondly, she wasn’t sure what she could do to cause the kind of distraction necessary to draw attention away from her long enough to pull the alarm without anyone realizing that she was the one who had pulled it. She supposed she could start a fire, but a fire would surely get the sprinklers started, and then she was back to eating in the smelly, filthy shower.
The fact of the matter was, despite the sheer size of the house, which was larger than your average Wal-Mart supercenter, Goldilocks didn’t take into account the amount of people she would have to deal with just to get some food and a place to sleep. Usually, when she broke into a place, the owners were away on vacation, so she had the place to herself for a few days. She was really starting to wonder why she picked this house. She’d never tried the whole “home invasion” thing, and while conning a clerk in a convenience store to get you a free burrito was a piece of cake, this job was turning out to be more like a slice of mud pie.
She gave thought to just leaving. Just packing it all in and heading down to the road to find an empty place to loot … but then the smell of lobster bisque took a fantastic voyage throughout her nasal passages, and before she could stop herself, she was pointing to the door on the wall opposite to the fire alarm and screaming in mock, but very convincing, terror.
All heads turned first towards her, then towards the door she was pointing at. This was her chance. She was off like a shot. She crossed the room in little under two seconds, snatched a dish towel from a nearby rack, threw it up over the fire alarm box, and slammed her fist into it, smashing the glass and pushing the fire alarm button at the same time.
The fire alarm sounded throughout the house and a general state of panic and chaos set in as everyone made their way to the nearest exit. The sprinklers did not start spitting forth dirty, stink water, and for that, Goldilocks was grateful.
Goldilocks followed the crowd as they exited the kitchen and began to look for a place to duck out when someone grabbed her by the arm.
“You’re coming with me,” It was Jack Horner. He pulled her from the crowd, down a hallway, and into a room at the end.
The room was small. All that occupied the room were a square wooden table, and two folding metal chairs at either end. Jack pushed Goldilocks into one chair while he sat in the other, opposite her, glaring at her in anger.
“Just what are you up to?” Jack asked, slamming his hand down on the table.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” she said, panic and fear in her voice. “The fire alarm-”
“There is no fire!” Jack interrupted as the alarm continued to sound. “I saw what you did. I saw you push the alarm. What the heck is going on here! What do you want!?”
Goldilocks sighed, leaned back in her chair, and relaxed.
“Ok,” she said. “You want to know what’s going on? You want to know who I am and what I’m doing here?”
“You bet your bleached hair I do!”
“Right,” she said, leaning forward. “But you probably shouldn’t have said that about my hair.”
“Wha-”, Jack began, but before he could finish, Goldilocks was on her feet, and she brought her side of the table with her.
As she rose, she tipped the table up on its end and sent it crashing down on Jack. Then she leaped into the air and brought both feet down on the upturned table with Jack beneath it. She began to scream as she jumped up and down on the table, each word coinciding with her landings.
“NEVER! TALK! ABOUT! MY! HAIR!”
She stopped, took a deep breath, and pulled herself together before opening the door and making her way back to the kitchen, leaving Jack, unconscious, alone in the room.
Friday, May 10, 2013
Burt wasn’t sure what it was he had just seen. A man in black leathers with a sword on his back, a man straight out of Game of Thrones, a man so incredibly attractive that Burt started to question his own masculinity, had vanished right in front of the Brick House Gas and Groceries. At least, that’s what Burt thought he saw.
“Dad?” Danny asked. “Gum.”
“Burt, are you alright?” Beatrice asked when she saw the look of stupefied bemusement on his face.
“Yeah,” Burt paused, looking once more to the spot from where the man had vanished. “Yeah, I’m fine,” He gave a little snort of laughter. “I’m fine, let’s get Danny some gum.”
The first thing the Griswolds found as they walked into the Brick House Gas and Groceries was the mess. The three bears paused just inside the sliding glass doors and looked with confusion at the candy bars and potato chip bags that were strewn about on the floor before the counter.
That’s when Burt heard the distinct sound of a pig crying and saw Colin Pig behind the counter, his head in his hands, weeping softly.
Beatrice was the first to move, going straight to the counter.
Burt, on the other hand, always felt uncomfortable around crying men, regardless of their species, and so he hung back with Danny.
“What’s going on, Dad?” Danny asked, looking from Colin to the mess on the floor. “Why is Colin crying?”
“I don’t know, buddy,” Burt said, taking Danny’s hand and guiding him to the candy bars and potato chip bags. “I don’t know, but your mom will handle it. Why don’t we pick this stuff up for Colin.”
“But, what about my gum?”
“We’ll get your gum, don’t you worry, but we have to straighten up here first.”
“But, I didn’t make this mess. Why do I have to pick it up?” Danny was beginning to get agitated and Burt could sense a meltdown coming on.
“Because, bud, it’s the nice thing to do. Don’t you want to help Colin out?”
“Fine!” Danny yelled, and that was the end of it. Crisis averted. Danny was able to stop his meltdown with that one, solitary word and the two quickly got to work cleaning up.
Meanwhile, Beatrice had moved over to Colin’s side of the counter and was holding him, rocking gently back and forth and making soft, soothing, shushing sounds as the pig cried without shame. Burt smiled in a nervous sort of way. The way Colin sounded, Burt thought that if this were a cartoon, great streams of tears would be spraying out of the sides of Colin eyes like small high pressure faucets.
“Colin,” Beatrice was saying. “I can’t help you if you don’t tell me what happened. Tell me what’s wrong, honey.”
Colin’s crying slowed as he rose from behind the counter.
“A woman came in earlier,” Colin began. “The most beautiful woman I’d ever seen. Her hair was like gold. She pretended to like me. Then she stole my car.”
“Not your Camaro?” Burt said. “See, Beatrice, I told you that was Colin’s car.”
“Shush, Burt,” said Beatrice. “Go on Colin.”
“Well,” continued Colin. “ She stole my car and then this guy came in looking for her. He had a sword, and a gun. He pointed the gun at me. I’ve never had a gun pointed at me,” tears were forming again in Colin’s eyes.
“Its okay, Colin,” Beatrice said, putting a hand on his shoulder. “He’s gone now.”
“He asked me where Goldilocks, that’s the girl, he asked me where she went, but I was too scared to talk. So he threw candy bars and potato chips at me. But I still wouldn’t talk. So then he put his gun away and started being nice to me. So I told him that she took my car and went east, towards your place."
Colin paused and looked at the mess on the floor that Burt and Danny were cleaning.
“He said he was going to clean all this up. But he never did. He just left,” Colin began to cry again.
“Its okay, Colin,” said Beatrice soothingly, patting Colin’s shoulder. “It’s okay.”
“My car has been stolen, I had a gun in my face, and the store is a mess!” Colin began to shout. “I didn’t ask for this! I don’t deserve any of this! I’m not even supposed to be here today!” And with that, Colin’s eyes rolled up and he dropped to the floor in a dead faint.
Monday, May 6, 2013
As Danny strolled down Walter Road, hand and hand with his mom and dad, only one thought occupied his mind … gum. Danny loved gum. If it were up to him, Danny would be chewing gum all the time. But Danny was a smart bear. He understood that he had to eat and sleep sometime, and so there would be moments in his life when it wouldn’t be proper, or even safe, for any of the gum chewing he felt he desperately needed to do.
Everyone always told Danny Griswold that he was a good kid. Teachers, relatives, other kids at school, and all the nice people that worked in his house seemed to genuinely like Danny, which was good, because Danny genuinely liked them right back. Danny was in the 5th grade, where he flourished academically, but he had a few social issues. Danny’s mom and dad have told him, on more than one occasion, that Danny’s social issues weren’t really his fault. They told him that he had autism. Actually, they would clarify that while he had autism, he was “high functioning”. Danny wasn’t really sure what that meant. When his mom and dad would talk about Danny and his autism and being “high functioning” he would often picture himself working with his Lego bricks somewhere up in a tree or on the top of the house because he just figured that you had to be somewhere up high to be “high functioning”.
Danny has also been told that he is a “sensory seeker”, which he knows is really just a fancy way of saying that he liked to chew on stuff. He chewed on his clothes, his hands, his toys, pretty much anything that was handy and within reach. His mom and dad have talked to him over and over about chewing on stuff. He’s put holes in his clothes, he’s chewed his fingers till they’ve bled, and he’s bitten his toys into complete uselessness.
That’s what made gum so wonderful. He could chew to his heart’s content and meet that sensory need while he fed his taste buds flavor at the same time. And after all, didn’t four out of five dentists recommend chewing sugar free gum to help promote healthy teeth?
“Dad, don’t forget about the gum?” Danny said as the three bears stepped off of the black top of Walter Road and onto the gravel of the Brick House Gas and Groceries parking lot. “You said we could get some gum?”
“Don’t worry bud,” Burt ruffled the fur on the top of Danny’s head. “Gum is just but a few steps away.
As the Griswolds walked across the parking lot of the Brick House, Danny’s attention was drawn to a man coming out of the store. The man was unmistakably handsome, even Danny could see that, but the man’s extreme attractiveness was not what drew Danny’s attention. It was the sword the man wore on his back.
Suddenly Danny’s father stopped and held his arm out protectively in front of Danny and his mom. Danny knew his dad didn’t like the man with the sword. Danny could feel his dad tense, the muscles in his arm going taut as he stood between his family and what his dad must have felt was a threat to those he held most dear.
“Burt?” Danny’s mom asked, trying to move out around him.
“Stay where you’re at, Bea,” His dad said, watching the man warily.
Danny knew the man wasn’t going to hurt him or his mom or dad. He wasn’t sure how he knew, he just did, just as he knew that telling his dad that everything was going to be okay wouldn’t do any good. Besides, the man with the sword wasn’t even looking in their direction. He was just standing there by the entrance to the store, looking up Walter Road, and … sniffing the air. Danny thought that was funny, but before he could laugh, he noticed the man’s hair. Danny was almost transfixed by it. The man’s hair stirred slightly in the gentle breeze, yet not once did the man’s hair obscure his face. Not even for a second. It was as if the man with the sword kept his hair out of his face by sheer force of will. It was … magical.
But then the man with the sword disappeared. He just seemed to meld into nothingness. One moment the man was there, standing and sniffing the air, and the next moment the man turned slightly to one side, and vanished.
“Cool!” Danny said excitedly. “He’s magic!”
“Um,” was all his dad seemed to be able to muster.
“I’m sure he just walked around to the back of the store,” his mom said, smiling.
“Yeah,” his dad said. “I’m sure that’s where he went.”
“Can we get gum now?” Danny asked, shaking his head. Danny knew what he saw. The man used magic to teleport himself away from the parking lot of the Brick House.
“Sure, pal,” his dad said, laughing. But Danny could tell that his dad’s laugh was a lie. His dad was worried. So was his mom. He could feel it in their hands as the each took one of his.
“It’s okay,” Danny said. “That man doesn’t want to hurt us. He’s just looking for something.”
“Of course he is, pal,” his dad laughed again. “That guy is long gone. Got nothing to do with us.”
Danny just smiled. He knew telling his parent’s that it was okay wouldn’t do any good.
Friday, May 3, 2013
He was known only as The Beast, and yet he was by far one of the most attractive men that anyone has ever seen. His chestnut brown hair blew about in the breeze, yet despite its length, which hung to the shoulders, never obscured his vision nor kept anyone from seeing his striking face, which somehow managed to be both smooth and rugged at the same time. His eyes were the piercing color of glass cleaner and had been known to make Clint Eastwood weep with just a look. He walked with an athletic grace that would make a panther green with envy and his smile could make Cleopatra rise from the dead.
The Beast dressed simply in black leathers, from his boots and pants, to the vest he wore over a black, button up, cotton shirt. On his back rode a two-handed broad sword in a fur covered scabbard. On his right hip was a revolver that looked a little too big to believe. Other weapons were surely secreted about his person, but you did not want to see them if breathing was the kind of thing you were keen to continue with.
The man known only as The Beast was a warrior, a tracker, and a hunter, among other things. His keen, tactical mind was reputed to be as cold and unfeeling as the bitter Arctic nights, and it was a well know fact that The Beast is happiest only among blood, death, devastation, war, and horror. The Beast was an army unto himself. He has toppled governments and ended revolutions. He has abducted queens and defended presidents. In the most general of senses, The Beast was the one man you didn’t want to mess with, and he was now in the town of Grimmelton, Kansas for only one purpose. To find Goldilocks.
The Beast stood in the middle of Walter Road, gazing at the structure that was the Brick House Gas and Groceries. He sniffed the air curiously, ignoring the cars that honked as they sped past him, missing him by inches. Goldilocks had been here. He followed her trail through the parking lot and up to the squat little store. He stopped and sniffed the air again. He could sense that Goldilocks had entered the store. He could also sense that she didn’t stay long. He’d need to determine what she was doing in the Brick House Gas and Groceries and where she went from here. Her scent leaving the store was already starting to fade, which meant she left fast. He knew the direction, but it would speed the process up a bit if he also knew the destination. The Beast would need to see if the clerk knew anything. And if the clerk wasn’t willing to talk … well, they were always willing to talk … eventually they all talked in the end.
The entire front of the store was glass and so The Beast paused, standing off to the side of the entrance, and scanned in the interior. The lot was empty of cars, but he wanted to make sure that he would be alone with the clerk. An electronic ping sounded in the store as The Beast walked in through the double glass doors and went directly to the counter where a pig stood. The pig had his back to the store and seemed to be crying.
“You got a restroom in this place?” The Beast asked.
“In the back,” the pig replied without turning around.
The Beast did a quick check of the restrooms and found them unoccupied. Then he returned to the pig at the counter.
“You alone in here,” The Beast asked.
“What?” the pig turned and looked up at The Beast.
The two stood staring at each other for a moment. The Beast pulled a pack of Lucky Strike non-filtered cigarettes from his pocket, shook one out, plucked it into his mouth, and lit it with a Zippo he produced from another pocket.
“There’s no smoking in the store,” the pig said before blowing his nose.
“Where’s the girl?” The Beast asked.
“You can’t smoke in the store.”
The Beast smiled. Of all the things for the pig to be concerned about, his gun and sword to name but two, the pig was worried about secondhand smoke. But, no one ever said The Beast wasn’t reasonable, so he threw the cigarette to the floor and ground it out with his boot. The Beast continued to smile as he pulled the pistol, pointed it at the pig’s face, and thumbed back the hammer.
“I’m in no mood for killing today,” The Beast said, his voice like gravel being drug across a road of sandpaper. “Why don’t you just tell me what the girl wanted, and where she went, otherwise I’m eating bacon tonight.”
Colin W. Pig certainly wasn’t the brightest of the three Pig brothers, though he did have more ambition. He even had more imagination than his younger brothers. Colin spent a lot of his free time coming up with new product ideas and money making schemes. He just lacked the brain power and motivation to do anything with his ambition and imagination. This usually meant that his new product ideas were unrealistic or items that no one in their right mind needed, or even wanted. And his money making schemes tended to land people in jail.
It was Colin’s idea to manufacture and sell prefabricated houses made of straw. His thought behind the idea was that you could load more of the materials on trucks due to the lightweight properties of straw, thus you could move more product at one time and save on shipping costs. Additionally the building material was rather easy to come by and was also a bit cheaper than wood or bricks. In the end he only sold one house, and that was to himself. He soon discovered that the lightweight material didn’t do an adequate job of standing up to strong wind. Colin had put everything he had into Pig’s Straw Houses, and now he was broke, which was how he found himself working for his brother, Larry, at the Brick House Gas and Groceries.
Colin didn’t mind the job much. He got to hit on chicks, and had all the tortilla chips he could eat. But some days it just didn’t seem worth the bother.
For example, those days when a smoking hot chick comes into the store, acts like she wants to start a little something, but instead just steals his one prize possession … his precious … his Camaro. And if that wasn’t enough to make a pig feel a little down on himself, some dude with a sword comes into the store and sticks a gun in his face.
Life can just be such a complete and total pisser at times.
“Hey, pig,” The Beast said. “I’m talking to you.”
Colin just stood there, transfixed, staring down the barrel of the revolver. Colin couldn’t speak. A deep fear of death had caused his body to go rigid and his mind to escape to a better place.
“Piggy-piggy!” The Beast yelled.
Colin was immobile.
The Beast noticed a small set of thick wire shelves full of candy bars and single serve bags of potato chips. They were within reach, so The Beast snatched a bag of chips with his free hand, and threw it at Colin.
The bag of chips bounced harmlessly off of the top of Colin’s head.
The Beast grabbed up a candy bar, a hefty and dense Chunky bar, which was less of a bar, and more of a solid square paperweight with nice, sharp corners. He flicked it at Colin like it was a throwing star. It too bounced off the pig’s head with no apparent harm.
The Beast swore. Colin remained a statue. The Beast began scooping up chips and candy bars and hurling them at the pig. Colin was resolute.
This continued for a full ten minutes - The Beast yelling obscenities, calling Colin various offensive names, and pelting him with candy bars and bags of potato chips - Colin standing stock-still as candy bars and bags of potato chips bounced harmlessly off of him.
Two customers came into the store during this ten minute time frame, and though the two came in a few minutes apart, both had the same exact reactions. From the start there was confusion as their brains tried to process exactly what it was they were seeing. From confusion came a quick moment of clarity followed by understanding. At last came fear. These emotional reactions lasted no longer than ten seconds as each customer walked a pace or two into the store, froze, looked back and forth between Colin and The Beast, then turned and walked back out.
After the ten minutes The Beast determined that he was either going to have to shoot the pig or try a different tactic. He couldn’t get anything out of a dead pig, so shooting him was out of the question. He needed what information the pig had. The Beast had easily tracked Goldilocks to the store, and he could see, sense actually, that she left. He could sense her right up to a certain point in the parking lot, where her trail just simply disappeared right where a pair of burnt tire tracks started. She obviously got into a car. He couldn’t sense a human’s trail once they were in an automobile.
So The Beast put his gun away.
“Look, friend. I do apologize for all that just now. It was quite rude of me to just barge in on your place of business, point a gun at you, and then start pelting you with your own product,” The Beast managed to sound contrite. “I’ll tell you what. How about I pick all this up, then you and I can have a little talk? I just need to know where the girl went.”
“The g-g-girl?” Colin stammered.
“That’s right. Blonde. Smoking hot. Maybe a little manipulative?”
“Goldilocks,” Colin was starting to come out of it.
“That’s the girl.”
“The witch stole my baby.”
“I’m sorry?” Confusion showed on The Beast’s face, this was quite unexpected.
“She stole my baby.”
“She actually stole your baby? Your, uh … piglet?”
“No, my car. The witch stole my car.”
“Ah, okay. Your car. You said she stole your baby and I thought ... well, it doesn’t matter. Which way did she go?”
“East. She took my car east, toward Griswold House,” Colin had begun to weep again.
“Rest easy, son. I’ll find her, and your baby.”
“You really mean it, mister?”
“You bet your curly tail I do.”
And with that, The Beast was gone and heading east.