Popular motivational speaker and local “financeteer,” Brian 4 Ever, made a rare appearance at the Pizza A-Round last night. Also spotted were Computer Computer Paper CEO Amanda Burgess, Tammy La Hoyt of Tammy’s Nails, LDN’s own cuisine writer Brian Schropp, and President Albert Pondicherry. Yes, the stars were certainly out in honor of the pizza establishment’s recent “C-” grade from the Board of Health, (the highest grade its seen in months). Coinciding with this was the Computer Computer Paper company’s annual Midnight Snack/Employee Appreciation Seminar, aiming to “celebrate good employees and belittle bad ones all while enjoying a light nosh.” 4 Ever was the head lecturer for the event.
“Tomorrow I will be another year older and thankfully, a little bit wiser,” said 4 Ever in an indistinct Southern Lankville accent.
“I’ve come out here tonight, standing on a precipice, to share my priceless advice on how to live your life to its fullest! How to become all that you can be! There are several steps to success and it starts with money and it ends with money and in between that are empty pizza boxes, a cleansing, burning sensation, a couple of songs, and a limited time offer. Tell me people, are you ready to change your life?”
At the height of his speech, 4 Ever then proceeded to remove his suit to reveal a simple black cocktail dress as Burgess urged pizza patrons to try some of 4 Ever’s “miracle hand lotion.”
“This is a risk-free, low-commitment, time-sensitive deal here. For just five installments of $19.99, you
can change your life! The burning is only an indication of toxins being removed from the body, you’re getting cleaner as we speak,” Burgess coaxed a clearly agitated onlooker, while globbing some of the lotion into his hands.
After the speech was over, refreshments and slices of garlic bread were served, autographs were signed and photographs were offered with 4 Ever and Burgess at a discounted fare of $49.99, special for the occasion. Number-one-fan, Katrina Hall, excitedly emptied her purse to the duo.
“I’ve been following Brian 4 Ever on tour for about seven years now. His talks are so inspirational! I’ve bought all his products! I even got myself a job as a secretary at the Computer Computer Paper company just so I could witness his talks on the business circuit. Of course, I ended up losing that position because I would sneak into the conference room for his lectures and let all of (Burgess’s) calls go to voicemail…But, ya know, there are no hard feelings.”
The Pizza A-Round, pleased with the night’s events, is stated to be in the process of making a commemorative “Pizza Pizza 4 Ever,” a pie that can only be described by the chef as “never-ending.” Details will be released at a later date.
LANKVILLE TALKS BACK
The Lankville Presidential Election is heating up. Incumbent Pondicherry is currently in the lead with Royer and Hadbawnik tied for second. Polls close on Thursday and the winner will be announced on Friday via this publication as well as through our sister pundit, The Boston Hassle. You’ve seen the attack ads, now let’s see what Lankvillians have to say about the candidates.
DAVID HADBAWNIK, GOURD
“I voted for David. Think he’s been running a strong campaign from the very beginning. He obviously has concerns about the environment. Nobody else has even mentioned the Lankvillian smog. He just seems like a regular guy you’d go and have Kombucha with at the local artisanal cheese shop. He’d make a fine President. Now, personally, I took issue with the fact that he helped to out my affair with Ashley Pfeiffers’ boyfriend but in hindsight, I’m glad he did. (He) was an absolute bore anyway. It just goes to show you, how uncompromised Hadbawnik’s ethics are – he can’t be bought, believe me I tried!” – Sarah Samways, Samways & Fick Consultants
ALBERT PONDICHERRY, MODERATION
“Great men should remain in positions of power for as long as possible. Change is overrated. Besides, Pondicherry is the only person to ever come down to my basement to browse my extensive vintage electronics collection. He even bought an old model Reckoner! He’s a man with great taste in polyester and has never once made me feel awkward about my sweat gland issue!” – Neil Cuppy, The Electronics Cranny
“The Pizza-A-Round fully endorses Albert Pondicherry for President of Lankville. He supports local businesses, mostly the back of the house where there are good hiding places and a couple of random holes in the wall but nevertheless, he bought 72 pizzas for our little league team! Now, this is the off-season but he hand delivered every single one of those pies to each player’s home. Yes, it was 10:30 at night but his heart was in the right place – it always is.” – Pizza-A-Round
RANDY PENDLETON, LANKVILLE HERITAGE
“Goddamn motherlusting idiots! Pendleton is the only man for the job! He ain’t afraid to speak his mind. You got a problem with that, pal? Go back to whatever hut you were born in. Lankville needs to get back to its roots and become number one again. Pendleton is a guy who can roll with the punches and I like that, I like it a lot.” – Dick La Hoyt
AMANDA JENNIFERS, MORALITY
“I hereby declare myself as the most qualified candidate for President of Lankville. While the other candidates have their hands in jars of old money, mine are clean and ready for your examination. I don’t need to pay for endorsements; Lankville is ready for a new voice – a clear, well-educated, hard-working, voice that will stand up for them. Plus, I’m female and we all know what an asset that is in politics.” – Amanda Jennifers
RIC ROYER, HELL
“Ric’s been a patient of mine for some time and I’ve gotta say, he’s made some tremendous strides. Just yesterday, while doing some breathing exercises, he purchased a Feelings Trigger-Sphere (basketball), and a carafe of stale ginger ale, which at a combined total of $39.99 is an absolute steal. I spoke with him softly, merely above a whisper, as he explained his horrible dreams for Lankville. Now, I’m not registered to vote, because I feel competition, in general, can harbor some of our more yucky feelings but I’m not opposed to you doing so, Brock. In fact, I have these nice, antique quill pens that you can fill out your ballot with for a limited time offer price of $27.85…” – Dr. Kevin Thurston, Men’s Feelings Expert
Travel makes us weary. Technology makes us want. We are going through some of the neediest times of our lives, separately, of course. Separate sides of the bed, separate seconds of slivers of exposed skin. We’ve come together through an unspoken bond of a complete lack of self-esteem. If only for a moment could I have the courage to say I’d rather our bodies melt slowly together, not heaving and not to be moved in order to hear the literal existence of heart beats that we’d normally keep to ourselves. True camaraderie lies in shared secrets and the willingness to let go. I am not a burden and you are not someone I should have to save, even if, at times, I would like to. We are fragile but rebuilding, evolving.
I know this now but…
You’ll pretend that you don’t mind when a man takes a seat at my lonely table, eagerly awaiting conversation and the exchange of links and online portfolios. I’ll pretend that I don’t care when you tell other women how attractive they are, as they politely sit beside me.
I know I deserve respect but…
We are simple. You pray for “death”, an easier escape, after a series of unfortunate events that have only been alluded to. I’ll wander down new streets hoping that something, anything, will open up my chest with such a great and glowing veracity that the stars themselves would envy my light. I’m in love with my mosquito bites, they remind me that I actually went somewhere and that I have so many more places to go. I still have hope.
I know this now but…
One day, probably much later than anytime soon, I’ll travel deep into green wood, dive headfirst into clear blue, sink into a hot spring, disappear into the fog of a red-skyed autumn evening leaving only behind good intentions, miscalculations, and a smile that will never be erased.
I will find peace. I will grow. I will settle. I will move on.
Check out my latest gallery venture! There will be performances on the opening night too!
Samways and Fick, Inc.
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“Working with Samways and Fick: Consultants proved to be a weird yet insightful experience. The team was simple to work with, arrived on a bus and forged a process that was unique to our needs. They had embroidered shirts with mountains on them. They matched our tasks to other people’s tasks, thus bringing everybody together as one. I recommend them enthusiastically for anyone who is interested in a complimentary sack lunch and a free tote bag.” – Suzy, East Lankville
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We believe in our clients’ potential. Our clients can do anything that they set their minds to – and by golly, do we mean ANYTHING! There’s really no holding them back, (even if others would prefer that they did). No, if it’s the stars that they want – it’s the galaxy that they shall consume! We love meeting new people.
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Clip and Mail to:
Paladin Pizza in Central Lankville has been in business since 1972. They operate out of a mean, one-story building nestled in front of a defunct factory. The parking lot is cracked and worn and the sidewalk in front of the door has nearly returned to dirt. The windows are covered by weather-beaten cardboard and the lighted sign has been burned out every since I started living above the knives and puzzles shop across the street.
Finally, I had had enough. What the hell is up with this place? I aimed to find out.
I am Zach Keebaugh: Investigative Reporter.
I went in at lunchtime. The small, poorly-lit seating area was completely empty. Pieces of newspaper littered the floor. It felt like no heat had been on in the place for ages. There was no counter– merely a ragged chasm in the brown paneling that offered a view into the kitchen. A pulpy middle-aged face suddenly appeared in the breach.
“Let’s have a pie, make it a large and a steak sandwich too,” I called out. The pulpy face nodded very slightly and then disappeared. I took a seat and looked over the ancient laminated placemat. There was a little maze on there– you had to lead the pepperoni through the maze to the pizza on the other side. That was cool, that occupied me for a little while.
It was then that I became aware of complete and total silence. Nothing moved through the chasm. It was the absence of sound that stunned me, it was an absence of life as well. They have killed all their customers it suddenly occurred to me. The ovens are inoperable. There will be no pizza. There will be only the end. This is your denouement Keebaugh, I thought.
“Yo,” I called out. It was desperation, more than anything else. The pulpy, expressionless face returned. “Yo, are you making that pizza, that steak sandwich?” I started backing away towards the door– I could feel the thin strands of sunlight as I drew closer. The pulpy face said nothing. Relax, Keebaugh I thought. I breathed.
And then a bag was pushed through the chasm. The bottom was covered in grease. But there was something inside. It was the sub (and, as I unexpectedly found out later, the pizza too). They had shoved the pizza into a paper bag. It was eldritch, this pizza, made by phantoms.
I threw a twenty at the chasm. Some change somehow appeared.
“Enjoy your meal,” the chasm said. The pulpy figure was gone. I looked at the chasm. It grew suddenly grey outside. Nothing further was coming, I knew it. I thought about approaching, thought about trying to get a glimpse into the kitchen. But there was just no way, man. It was over. I had to accept it. The chasm had accepted it.
The pizza was good though. And so was the sub.
That’s what you should take away from this, man.