Humor Fiction posted November 20, 2017

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Former Presidents get together to prepare diner.

Cooking with the Presidents

by Thomas Bowling

Former President Lance Strongarm, and his predecessor, President Julia Child, were preparing her signature dish, Beef Bourguignon. They were getting ready for a dinner honoring former presidents.

“Lance, what's that powder you're sprinkling on the meat?”

“MSG. It's a flavor enhancer.”

“You just can't get away from enhancing chemicals. Did you use any of them when you were President?”

“How do you think I won seven elections. Besides, what do you call salt and pepper?”

“Salt and pepper are natural spices. They're used all over France.”

“Don't remind me of France. I hate those people. They tried to take away all of my achievements.”

“Oh, no. Here comes that pesky President Alain Boucos. He thinks only the French can cook. They say if you ask two French chefs how to open an oyster, a war will break out.”

President Strongarm paused his browning of the meat. “Another Frenchy. I hate the French.”

President Boucos greeted the others.

“Hallo, Prezidint Strongarm, and Prezidint Shild.”

Prezidint Strongarm, I zee you are in your usual bad mood.”

“What kind of mood would you be in if you spent seven terms with the Secret Service codename, Heuvos Uno?”

“Come now, Mr. President,” Julia Child said. “You have to maintain a sense of humor about these things. I should know. My codename was Sasquatch. It was the lesser of two evils. The other choice was Giant Janet Reno. I didn't like her policies.”

President Boucos laughed heartily. “Ouch. Zat was evin worze zan mine. I was French Dip. So, how iz yer dishz coming along?”

“It's fine, Al. I hope we don't spoil the broth.”

“Iz not possible with zeez igradiantz. It will be the best evir, like my adminiztrazion.”

“What about my seven administrations?” President Strongarm protested.

President Boucos pulled his glasses down. “All won under a cloud of zuzpicion. Evan zee Russians accuzed you of manipulation.”

“The Russians tried to hack our election.”

“Zey produzed a dozzier showing your accuzations to be unfounded.”

President Child stepped in. “I knew there were too many cooks here. You've spoiled the broth. Now, we have to start over. Let me see what's in the fridge. Oh, my. We seem to be all out of beef. This is terrible.”

President Boucos' eyes brightened. “It may not be so bad after all. It zeems to me that at every state dinner while you were President, Beef Bourguignon was zerved. I know I was the White House shef at the time. I turned the job down when the Kennedy's offered it, but I had to accept for zee great Julia Shild. It's time to try zomethig different.”

“Thank you, President Boucos. You introduced a new level of fine dining to America. You almost single-handedly ended the hamburger.”

“Yes, but you and I still enjoyed the occasional hamburger.”

“That's our secret. The American people would have revolted if they knew that we were still eating them. Wouldn't they be surprised if we served hamburgers tonight?”

“You've got to be kidding,” President Strongarm said. “The voters love me. They elected me seven times, but I don't believe even my administration would survive a hamburger scandal. That's a secret that must be guarded as closely as Area 51.”

President Boucos nodded in agreement. “Yes, any mention of hamburgers must be redacted from government documents for fifty years after our deaths.”

President Child raised her wine glass. “Like the Kennedy assassination.”

“Here, here,” all of the Presidents said, as they clinked glasses.

“So, what shall we serve?” Julia asked.

President Boucos smiled. “How about mutton?”

President Strongarm looked horrified. “Americans don't eat mutton. They can barely stomach lamb. I think they eat a quarter pound of it a year. I always smelled like mutton after my bike races.”

“Why not Bouillabaisse?” President Child suggested.

Presidents Strongarm and Boucos were on board with that. “It's settled then,” President Strongarm said. “Bouillabaisse it is. What about dessert?”

President Child spoke up. “President Hans Ripenhorffesterzup is bringing German Chocolate Cake.”

President Boucos cast a wary eye in Julia's direction. “Does that go with bouillabaisse?”

President Child shrugged her shoulders. “Why not? Who made up the rules of etiquette?”

“You did,” President Boucos said.

“Well, you know what they say, if you make the rules, you can break the rules. We'll have bouillabaisse and German Chocolate Cake and damn the torpedoes. Let's move on to appetizers.”

President Strongarm flexed his back. “I was hoping we were done here. I'm not in as good a shape as I used to be. I haven't been on the bike for a while.”

President Child looked him over. “Yes. I noticed you're carrying your spare tire around your midsection now.”

President Strongarm checked his profile in the reflection of the stainless steel refrigerator. “Maybe I'll start taking a couple of laps in the mornings.”

President Boucos laughed and patted Strongarm's belly. “I suggest you skip the cake, too.”

President Child tapped her wine glass, which kept magically getting refilled. “Gentlemen, let's get back to the appetizers. Who makes a good chicken liver mousse?”

“My grandmother,” President Boucos said, “But that doesn't mean I would serve it to people. Chicken liver tastes like . . .”

“Alright, Mr. President. We all know what chicken liver tastes like. Why don't you make an assorted appetizer tray? Isn't that what you're famous for?”

“I've forgotten how to make it. I'll see if I can find Martha Stewart's recipe,” Boucos said.

President Strongarm was incredulous. “Who needs a recipe? All you do is open up some jars of olive, some artichokes, get some deli meats, and put them on a tray.”

“My boy, the artistry is in how you arrange them.”

“I thought the artistry was in the guy who actually made them.”

President Child could see her dinner party falling into disarray. “Now, boys, no fighting. President Hans Ripenhorffesterzup will be here soon. You know Germans hate fighting. I can hardly wait to taste his cake. It's always to die for.”

Armstrong saw an opportunity. “Do you know how you make a German Chocolate Cake? - First, you occupy the kitchen.”

“I don't see anything humorous in the occupation,” President Boucos said.

“Sorry about that, Alain. I guess the wounds are still a little sore. Hey, maybe for a starter, President Adul-Ren Alir Benjabbi could bring some nuts and figs. He always has a supply on hand.”

President Child was relieved that the tension had eased up. “That's a wonderful idea. He'll like that we included him.”

She pulled Strongarm aside. “Thanks. I was afraid things were getting ugly. We could have had a world war just with the people in the room.”

President Ripenhorffesterzup arrived. “Zo, do you know how to make a German Chocolate Cake?”

“Yes. President Strongarm just told us.”

“Again with the encroachment into German territory? Ven vil you learn?”

President Ripenhorffesterzup turned to President Child. He bowed and clicked his heels. “Ms. Child, ver can I vork ? I must assemble my masterpiece.”

“Right over here. Is this enough space?”

“Ya. The lebensraum is perfect. Now, I must insist on absolute silence while I perform this delicate task.”

“It seems like we're missing zomething ,” President Boucos said.

Julia consulted her menu. “The soup! President Boris Badinoff is bringing Borsch.”

“Und who invited the communist!” President Ripenhorffesterzup shouted. “I hate communists. I hate them! Hate them! Hate them!” He screamed while pounding the table with his fists. “I vil never zit at the table mit a communist.”

President Strongarm became angry. “I hate them, too. They tried to interfere with three or four of my elections.”

President Child raised her hands. “He is just as much a part of American history as we are. I think he's a charming fellow. I once sailed on his yacht, Ivanka, to the Netherlands. One day, as I walked through his galley, I smelled the unmistakable odor of gas. 'Abandon ship!' I yelled and ran for a lifeboat. It turned out to be a Bunsen burner being used to make Creme Brunei. It was embarrassing, but it added some excitement to an otherwise dull trip. Here he comes. Let's forget our differences for now. Ah, President Badinoff, did you arrive on Ivanka?”

“No. She burned and sank on my return trip from Newfoundland. There was the loss of many lives.”

President Boucos tried to change the subject. “Is your Vice President, Bernie Sanders, with you?”

“Bernie couldn't make it this time. He has been a good friend. When we were on the ticket together, he delivered the elderly and the Millennial vote. Unfortunately, it wasn't much help. The elderly forgot what day the election was on, and the Millennials didn't bother to vote.

President Boucos shrugged his shoulders. “That's too bad.”

“Yes,” Badinoff continued. “If it wasn't for the college professor vote, we would have lost the election. It would have been the end of the Communist Party in America.”

“Why couldn't Bernie come?” Strongarm asked.

“We Russians are so involved in espionage that we hacked our own election. We were caught. We needed a sacrificial lamb to feed to the wolves, and Bernie volunteered. He was sentenced to twenty years in a Siberian work camp. Bernie Sanders finally got his wish to live in a communist country.”

The former Presidents raised their glasses and shouted, “To Comrade Bernie.”

President Badinoff wiped tears from his eyes. “He's a good man. He took one for the team.”

President Ripenhorffesterzup had heard enough. “There ist only von type ov good communist, a communist on zee end ov my shef’s knife.”

President Badinoff threw a beet at him and hit him in the head. That's how it started. Soon the former Presidents were engaged in a full-blown food war. The only cold part of the war was the appetizers. Even the German Chocolate Cake was warm, smashed to pieces, but warm.

As the melee continued, every piece of food in the house became a weapon to be hurled at the enemy. President Child sniffed the air.

“Something's burning.”


Presidents Hanging Out contest entry

Write a short story between 1600 and 2400 words about two or more fictional former U.S. Presidents getting together and chatting while engaged in a casual activity like playing cards or eating nachos (you can steal either of those, but also consider other ideas.)

Please remember: fictional former U.S. Presidents. They can be of any party, real or imagined by you, hold the ideology of your choice, and talk about whatever you want. They just can't be in office anymore, can't exist in real life, and don't forget that casual activity they're engaged in.

A little longer than my usual.
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

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© Copyright 2018. Thomas Bowling All rights reserved. Registered copyright with FanStory.
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