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The origin of recipes, p.1
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       The Origin of Recipes, p.1

           Joey Peters
 
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The Origin of Recipes
Captain Tacolicious: The Origin of Recipes

  by Joey Peters

  © Joey Peters 2013

  Contents

  One

  Two

  Three

  Four

  Five

  Six

  Seven

  Epilogue

  About the Author

  Chapter One

 

  Rob waved his hand over the kettle and, satisfied that it was hot enough, poured the kernels into the hot oil. He knew the music from "Fiddleman Over the Roof" enough to know the intermission was coming. He'd have eight seconds to spare before the hungry, snarling mass of children would tear themselves free and come for snacks.

  Soon, the kernels began to pop. The kettle overflowed and popcorn sprayed around the warmer not long afterward. After a brief moment the kernels were exhausted and Rob's cell phone rang.

  Without a thought Rob checked it... the message came from a superhero tracking service. That... would be exciting. But he had no time.

  He gritted his teeth and ignored it.

 

  And then the flood of children came.

  Rob did not have the body of an athlete—not even the body of a professional eater. Those dudes are usually little spindly Japanese guys. A solid layer of fat covered his body. He had a big tummy. What can I say? The man loved tacos. Knots of curled black hair hung around his head, almost looking like a particularly unkempt hairnet.

  Even so, the wave of children did little to intimidate him. The few muscles he had were perfectly formed for running a cash register, popping popcorn and preparing sodas.

  As he passed the kids bags of popcorn and took their cash his phone burned in his pocket. He had no time to see what it was. He processed the orders, popped more popcorn, and did his job.

  Finally, the orchestra sounded out. The children panicked and returned to their seats—they didn't want to miss any of the action.

  As soon as the last child disappeared behind the door he pulled out his cellphone.

  "Pinnacle battling Cybrgo—moving north through Proto-Neo Hong Kong"

  A cold sharp feeling ran through Rob. That fight was so close! If he could duck out for just a minute... mercifully, he then saw his boss. Rob charged to him.

  "Hey, I ate some bad carnitas this morning for breakfast so I need to take a bathroom break right now."

  His boss said, "What?"

  And Rob replied, "Great. Thanks. See you in fifteen."

  Rob slipped out the front door and bundled up his work smock. He took the first right after the theater and passed Chinese restaurants before he heard a loud noise.

  He looked up.

 

  Two figures crashed together in the sky. The street lights only allowed Rob to see their basic forms—but one figure was covered in doohickeys and thingies, while the other was a human form clad only in tights. It was not hard to decide which was the evil space king Cyborgo and which was the world's finest superhero, the Pinnacle.

  The battle was not a long one. With every blow the Pinnacle landed screws, springs and gears rained down on Rob.

  He was consumed with almost religious awe. Imagine if Mighty Thor crashed into the car of a Norse pagan.

  More than anything, Rob wanted to be in the sky. He wanted to fight for justice. Rob wanted to save the world... unfortunately, the world rarely wanted to be saved by a big, fat, nerd who loved tacos too much.

  Cyborgo crashed to the ground and finally Rob saw his chromed features in detail. He looked older than Rob thought he would.

  The Pinnacle lowered himself to a few feet above Rob's head. His eyes shimmered red as his vision shifted into invisible parts of the electromagnetic spectrum.

  He looked even more impressive than Rob expected. He had the body of a world class athlete—he looked like he'd be nearly superhuman even without powers. A lantern jaw hung from his head. His hair was cut short and just a bit tangled from constantly flying and fighting. It reflected slivers of blue from the street light and a p-shaped spit curl perpetually fell just over his forehead.

  "Are you all right, citizen?" said the Pinnacle.

  Rob sputtered. He was being addressed by the world's finest superhero. This was the greatest moment of his life up to that point. He even felt better than that time he won lunch with Putty Man in a raffle. Putty Man turned out to be a pretty big let down. He ordered the most expensive thing on the menu, the lobster roll, and didn't even eat half of it.

  Rob couldn't respond.

  "Did Cyborgo injure you in some way—nod if you cannot speak. One beep for 'yes'. Two beeps for 'no'."

  Rob shook his head and finally worked up enough courage to say, "I'm fine."

  "Excellent," said the Pinnacle, "If I had to cart you off to the hyper-hospital I might've been late to my nine fifteen with Doctor Dracula. He's trying to blow up the sun so he can come out in the day. Have a swell night, citizen."

  The Pinnacle shot off into the sky and Cap stared blankly. He was a swirling mass of emotions far too chaotic to organize.

  He stood there for a long moment, until finally he heard a voice.

  "Hey, wide-load. Can you help me for a sec?"

  Rob turned to face whoever it was. He was slender and green. His head terminated in those nubby things on the end of asparagus spears.

  Rob instantly recognized him: Mr. Asparagus, one of the hot new heroes that TMZ and all the big superhero blogs were covering.

  "Huh?" said Rob.

  "Whatever," Mr. Asparagus said, "Can you at least scram so that street light can illuminate my good side?"

  Rob needed to get back to work, anyway. He began the journey. He heard Mr. Asparagus counting down, and just as Rob turned a corner three news vans passed him.

 

  * * *

 

  Candyman was the worst Buddhist monk in the world.

  He dug his tortilla chip into the thick vat of guacamole. This was the only exercise he got all day, except working the thumb sticks of his X-Box.

  A tiny park bench soared past the dark wizard on the TV screen. Candyman's reflexes were shot. He didn't have the coordination to hit the tiny glowing square on the wizard's chest.

  His lama, if he saw Candyman now, would be really annoyed.

  Again Candyman's guy died. He'd have to restart the boss fight.

  He took a heavy swig from a two liter bottle of The Dark Pepper—the latest in a long line of reboots, reimaginings, and brave new directions from the soft drink manufacturer.

  He groaned.

  He reached for his heaping, half melted bowl of Hyper-Ben and Omni-Jerry's Apathy Moose frozen yogurt... not ice cream. A dude's got to watch his figure.

  * * *

 

  Beantown City's favorite news anchor, Simon Simon was babbling again, but Timmy didn't feel like listening. He sat in the back of the news van and played with his camera.

  Simon took a turn too fast—he was too absorbed narrating to Timmy the latest exploits of his brother.

  Thankfully, Timmy had excellent reflexes. He swung hard and shielded WBTC TV's expensive equipment from harm.

  Blah, blah, blah. Simon's brother had some kind of beef with his boss. Whatever.

  Timmy was burned out on real world problems. That came with the territory of being president of the Pinnacle Fan Club and de facto sidekick to that world's finest hero. He kept getting tangled up in all kinds of craziness.

  He spent most of the last week transformed into a woman. And that's not even the worst thing to happen to him recently.

 

  Suddenly, the van kicked to a stop.

  "Oh, for crying out Pete," said Simon Simon.

  Timmy looked up to see what exciting new
thing Simon was whining about—and for once it was something legit.

  The 'tip' they were following up lead them to the crumpled body of Cyborgo with Mr. Asparagus standing over him in victory.

  Timmy thought, Who cares? He clearly faked this somehow. Cyborgo's strictly peewee league, but Mr. Asparagus had never actually been in a super fight anybody had seen. His fifteen minutes were just about over.

  Simon Simon kicked the van back into gear and sped off without even stopping to investigate.

  * * *

 

  Professor Black Hole was probably the most unlucky supervillain in the world. I want you to empathize with him, so how about this:

  Turning to crime wasn't his first choice.

  He was working on his doctoral thesis on exo-dimensional thingies when tragedy struck. His mom contracted cancer. There was a potential cure, but her insurance company found some loophole in their contract.

  They wouldn't pay up.

  So Professor Black Hole turned his research into inter-dimensional bombs. He raided the First National Bank of Beantown City. And he would have gotten away with it too, if only the Pinnacle wasn't locking the million pound key to Pinnacle Mountain up in a safety deposit box at exactly that second.

 

  "Aw nuts," said Professor Black Hole.

  As soon as he saw the Pinnacle he broke down crying. The world's finest superhero didn't have the heart to clobber the poor idiot, so he listened to Professor Black Hole's story. And the Pinnacle isn't just a powerhouse, he's a good guy, so he made sure the judge went easy on the professor and his mom even received an anonymous donation that exactly covered the procedure. The Pinnacle tried to defeat the health insurance company as well, but he got bogged down in red tape and the company's executives used Professor Black Hole's technology to escape into another world.

  Anyway—Professor Black Hole was an angel while he was on probation, but finally it expired. The very next day? His dog came down with a mysterious disease. It turned out that the dog needed open heart surgery, but they don't make health insurance for dogs and his teacher's assistant salary wouldn't cut it.

  Professor Black Hole donned his costume once again. He was whupped by the Green Gorilla ten minutes later.

  Next, his cousin needed some dental work, so he got clobbered by the Streak. Then Spiders Man (he's a swarm of spiders). Then the Smart Family.

  Let me tell you, getting beat up by two five year-olds is no picnic. Especially if you're an adult.

  The only successful crime he ever committed was when the Secret Society of Supervillains demanded he pay up on the loans he borrowed from them to pay for his various family members' medical bills. Putty Man apprehended him and, like always, Professor Black Hole broke down crying. Miraculously, Putty Man ran away rather than face that emasculating display.

  The worst came when his mother, cousin, roommate, ex-girlfriend and dog decided to charter a bus and come to see him in prison. Needless to say, a volcano suddenly erupted and swallowed them up. They were trapped in the center of the Earth with the molten lava men. But nobody knew that—so Professor Black Hole just thought he lost his entire family to a rampaging wave of red hot lava.

  Professor Black Hole wanted a fresh break from his old life. He started saving the pennies he earned stamping license plates in the prison metal shop. He had a decent wad saved up and no medical bills to waste it on, and finally he was released from prison. That is where he enters our story.

  Chapter Two

 

  Rob looked out the window of the Infa-Green Line train, but his thoughts were a million light-years away. The Pinnacle! He said like three sentences to Rob. Three sentences!

  Every other brief encounter he'd had with superheroes flooded into his mind. One time Green Gorilla and Orange-utan cut him off in traffic. And once he got into an argument with the Smart Family's robot at the zoo.

 

  But none of those held a candle to meeting the Pinnacle.

  The B-line, the train line that took Rob home, stopped every five feet to let people on and off. Typically, this drove Rob up the wall, but today he didn't mind. His roommate wouldn't be all that impressed with Rob's story, so this gave him more time to bask in his happiness.

  The only way Rob's day could be any better—

  And that's when he saw it. A pudgy, bald little man was raising a sign in front of an old building. The front space of the building had been empty for about eighteen months. When Rob first moved into the neighborhood it had been an ATM stall. It spent a summer as a frogurt joint and an autumn as a superhero supply store. It spent a fortnight as a kebab stall in February.

  That particular commercial space had the mummy's curse—thankfully, Osiris Man cleared it up some time in the interim.

  That didn't help the owners in renting the place and it laid vacant until about three weeks earlier.

  But now everything was different.

 

  Rob salivated. Meeting the Pinnacle... and all you can eat tacos? Truly, this was the greatest day of his life.

  He got off the Infa-Green Line at the next stop and rushed over to the little man.

  Professor Black Hole—yes, that's who the little bald man was—looked at Rob. A guy that looked like that could put your kids through college, he thought.

  "Hi," said Rob, "Opening a new taco joint?"

  Professor Black Hole incredulously said, "Yes."

  "And they're all you can eat?"

  "Yes," the professor said, "For the weekened."

  "...And when are you opening?"

  The professor said, "Tomorrow. At three thirty."

  "...Okay..."

  Rob did whatever he could do to keep himself calm. His body buzzed with a strange fore-shadowing energy.

  The Pinnacle!

  All you can eat tacos!

  Soon, he arrived at his apartment. He unlocked the door and pressed it open. A sinister laugh filled the air. It seemed to emanate from the living room.

  Slowly, Rob approached the sound.

  Candyman laid in a heap on the couch. His breaths were fast and shallow. Rob dug two fingers into Candyman's throat, looking for a pulse.

  It was low and weak.

  Rob looked for the source of the ominous laughter... it was the dark wizard from Candyman's video game. He stood over the body of Candyman's little dude.

  Rob grumbled.

  Immediately, Candyman lurched back upright. He spat up a couple droplets of Apathy Moose.

  "What? Huh?"

  "Hey," said Rob.

  Candyman said, "I was meditating. What's up."

  Candyman wasn't in any better shape than Rob. He was about thirty pounds lighter—but most of that could be attributed to the fact that Rob was easily a head taller than him, if not more. He also had slightly more muscle, because trained in kung fu, practicing a couple times a month.

  Rob knew that Candyman didn't know the Pinnacle from a mountain peak, but he also knew other things Candyman was indeed interested in.

  "New taco place is opening up down the street tomorrow," said Rob, "They've got all you can eat for the weekend."

  "That's cool," said Candyman.

  Candyman picked up his controller, but just as he was about to reload his game again his phone buzzed.

  "Crap," he muttered, "Gotta go to work."

  Candyman's skin suddenly changed tone—he turned translucent and green. The texture of his skin became hard and crystalline.

  He was now composed of rock candy.

  "I'll be home around one. See ya dude."

  * * *

  Mr. Asparagus fired his grappling cannon into the air. The hook embedded itself in a wall and Mr. Asparagus pressed down the rewind button and the device carried him up to the roof of the building. He crawled up over the ledge and detached the hook.

 

  Fire trucks raced by on the ground. Gun shots rang out in the distance. Mr. Asparagus' eyes slowly craned over Beantown City.

/>   Why isn't anything interesting going on? He wondered.

  A man rushed by. He wore a ski mask and carried a pink purse. He turned a corner and disappeared from Mr. Asparagus' vision.

  Soon afterward, a woman rushed by.

  "Help!" she cried out, "My purse!"

  Mr. Asparagus watched her with little interest, but she noticed him.

  "Hey, you," she said, "Up there. Are you a superhero?"

  Mr. Asparagus said, "Only the best superhero in the universe. Mr. Asparagus, at your service."

  "Did you see a guy run by with a purse?" said the woman.

  "I've seen lots of things," said Mr. Asparagus.

  "That guy stole my purse. Can you help me get it back?"

  Mr. Asparagus said, "Was he a robot, alien, molten lava man or in a special suit?"

  The woman said, "He looked like a regular criminal to me."

  "I'd love to, but unfortunately that's a bit below me, don't you think? There's a police station six blocks that way," he pointed, "Then take a left."

  "But... but you're a superhero. You guys are supposed to help."

  "If there's a guy trying to steal the moon or poison the reservoir I'm your guy. Your thing seems more like a regular police deal."

  The woman sighed.

  Suddenly, a red blur cut across the street and disappeared in the general direction that the criminal ran off in. A second later the blur returned, and the lady's purse suddenly appeared in her hands.

  "Um," said Mr. Asparagus, "I was joking earlier. I used my... secret telekinetic powers to get your bag back."

  The blur reappeared and quickly climbed up the side of the building. The blur stopped directly in front of Mr. Asparagus.

  Without extreme super speed, it became possible for the woman and Mr. Asparagus to see what force was behind the blur.

  He was a naked man—tall and thin and muscular. His skin was bright red and wind chapped and his hair and eyebrows were burned off.

  Just as his form became recognizable a flurry of dust obscured his bikini area and, when the dust dissipated, a gust of wind blew a shred of newspaper up to do the same job.

  The naked man nodded at the woman and said, "The Streak, at your service." He then turned to Mr. Asparagus. "Dude, not cool. Just because the Pinnacle and Green Gorilla don't care if you take credit for their work, that doesn't mean you can take glory out of the mouths of us small timers."

  Mr. Asparagus muttered, "I thought you were a half mile away."

  * * *

  Candyman's parents were flakey idiots. They believed in Atlantis, bigfoot (and not the monster truck) and alien ghosts.

 

  None of those things are real... in our world. But credulity and logic don't even take the back seat in superhero worlds. Credulity and logic hold onto the bumper and ride a skateboard in the world of Captain Tacolicious.

 
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