Truth be told, I was welcome to the diversion. (And I don't even like The International House of Pancakes. I went along with the venture because Jeff was obviously on a mission.)
Besides: Who was I to argue? The previous week had been one of nothing but crap-tastickness and I was still in mourning mode over The Thin White Duke's demise. Diversions of any kind were welcome.
Being accosted by the so-called League Of Disgruntled Restaurant Mascots? Even more diversion. So why not?
Of course, these knuckleheads didn't have anything on The Unbelievables. Headlocks? Full nelsons? And, if these guys knew anything about pushing Clark around, they'd've known that's a pet peeve of his. NO ONE physically pushes Clark around. That's taking your life in your hands.
A pretty close approximation of the minibus
The League Of Disgruntled Restaurant Mascots had us confined.
Confined* to the minibus, I drummed up conversation:
"You know," I began, "Burger King's mascot? The King? He's not a clown ..."
"Shut up! Sure he is! Because he's a joke to us!" Cookie snapped back. I'd obviously pushed a button.
I formed a slow smile and Clark stifled a chuckle.
We arrived at some nondescript building in the middle of an equally nondescript industrial park and Jollibee ground the minibus to a halt. The back doors opened and we got out. We were shuttled through a door, down a couple hallways and into a cavernous, high-ceilinged open space filled with boxes and crates.
Another close approximation:
The League Of Disgruntled Restaurant Mascots' warehouse.
"Big Boy! We're here!" Der Wienerdog barked, a little too eagerly.
"Be right there" came a response.
Down a corridor behind some crates we saw what looked to be a plate with a double-deck burger rise. Then, sure enough, out popped The Big Boy, burger aloft in one hand, the other on his suspender strap.
That devious look. Unsettling ... isn't it?
He was stocky, thick. He walked funny. Those disarming, doll-like eyes shifted uncomfortably from Clark to Jeff to me and back again as he approached. And when he spoke that smirky smile never left his puss. His lips never parted. Nothing but that disarming smile. His eyebrows furrowed at us, though.
"Well, well, well ... the vaunted, globe-trotting Unbelievables. In the flesh at last ...
I perked up: "Is this going to take long? The three of us were looking forward to a second breakfast - brunch, actually - when your goon squad interrupted it ..."
"Quiet, fool! You three have no idea what's in store for you!"
"And what would that be?" Jeff asked.
The Big Boy kept smiling. "The crates and boxes behind me? They contain costumes of every size and shape and color to rile the imagination. I've picked some special ones specifically for you. Clown costumes, to be exact. You three? You're now my very own personal clown contingent!"
Clark chimed in. "But ... I thought you guys hated clowns? That's what 'Dork QueenerDawg' told us earlier ..."
"Der Wienerdog!" Der Wienerdog corrected loudly.
The Big Boy continued. "Ah ... then, you see the irony! Yes, we hate clowns with a passion! And you, the three of you, will be paraded in the streets to fulfill our every whim, subject to our bidding 24/7, dressed as clowns! Bwah-ha-ha ... BWAAAAH-HAAAA-HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA ... !!!"
The three of us looked at each other knowingly.
"Now?" Clark asked.
"Do it." Jeff and I said in unison.
Unbeknownst to The Big Boy and his contingent, Clark pressed a secret button in his crocheted sweatpants. Inwardly, I winced a little knowing what was coming.
But ... it was necessary. I steeled my nerves.
With The Big Boy still chuckling, the doors behind us flew open, banged against the wall noisily ... and in bound The League Of Disgruntled Restaurant Mascots' absolute worst nightmare:
"HIGH, GUYS!" blurted Ronald McDonald cheerfully.
*Confined in the vehicle, I gave Jeff and Clark a wink to play along; they were privy and knew The League had nothing on us. And when I say "confined" it was really "confined, such that it was" because escape, as I'm sure all our readers know, would have been a cakewalk.