The No-Clue Cookbook
By Mike Stevens
A Charles Placard Tale
The bookstore was abuzz with conversation, as Charles Placard was about to start working his way through the long line of people who waited impatiently for him to personally autograph their copy of his new book, ‘The No-Clue Cookbook’. In it, he listed many recipes for ways for a bachelor more concerned with partying than cooking to prepare food. Charles had been struggling to make it as an author, first trying to write the next great dramatic novel, the next great comedic novel, having no luck at both, until now, he had written a cookbook aimed at dudes who had more important things to do than cooking a good meal, namely guzzling as much or more than they could hold. At first, he was just plain p****d when he thought up ‘The No-Clue Cookbook’, but after thinking about it for awhile, he started to become intrigued with the idea, and so he wrote it. He included ways to prepare a microwave burrito, how to boil water for making either hot dogs or spaghetti, how to prepare a frozen pizza for cooking (first, turn on oven, remove the cardboard beneath the pizza, then insert on a rack set in the middle (roughly), and cook for exactly how long the directions call for), how to prepare microwave popcorn for a tasty snack, and many other seemingly-simple items that somehow fell through the cracks of regular cookbooks. Being a confirmed bachelor for more years than he wanted to remember, he would have loved to have this cookbook when he had first moved out on his own, but he’d had to learn by trial and error. He figured the market was wide open for this type of practical cookbook.
“Okay, ma’am, step right up!” Charles called out. His hand was already cramping, when he thought about all the people he’d have to sign for! He much rather they were here to see him for one of his dramatic works, but hey, a guy had to eat! Until his dramatic work was recognized for the brilliance it was, he’d go with this in the meantime. The first person to step up to his desk was a housewife, who was pushing a stroller with a wide-eyed baby inside, who peered wonderingly up at him.
“Hi, Mr. Placard, would you mind signing my copy of your book?” the woman said.
“Why no; what’s your name?”
“Okay, Candace, who would you like this made out to?”
“Oh, please write, ‘To Todd, the biggest Three Stooges fan in the world, on his birthday; Todd honey, I couldn’t find anything about the Stooges that you don’t already have, but I hope this will be a good substitute!”
Charles was immediately angry, and a red rash made it’s way up his neck to his face. “Madam, I’ll have you know this is a serious cookbook. I don’t know whatever in the world gave you the idea that it was supposed be taken as a joke, or something funny, but you’ve come to the wrong conclusion!”
“Oh, then I’m sorry; I guess I just assumed!”
“Well, you assumed wrong! Next!”
“I truly meant no offence!”
The chagrined woman sheepishly moved aside, and a gentleman wearing a three-piece gray suit stepped up to the table.
“Hello, Mr. Placard.”
“Hello, and how should I make this out?”
“If you would, could you sign it to my Uncle Larry Larang; he’s working on his stand-up routine, and I want him to read this and realize you can make anything funny!”
Charles sent his pen flying, glared up at the man, and snarled, “Not you too? Weren’t you listening to what I said to the woman who was just up here?”
The red-faced man replied, “No, I’m sorry, but I had the man standing behind me save my place, and ran to the bathroom. I only got back in time to move up to your desk.”
“Well, let me say it again; this cookbook was meant to be serous! NEXT!” but when he looked at the line, which only moments before was practically out the door, was now non-existent. The man in the suit slunk away.
Charles has just received an urgent call from New-Author Press, his publishing company. He was now seated before Gary Shirk, the president. “Mr. Shirk, you wanted to see me?” he said, as he was ushered into Smirk’s office.
“Yes, Charles; we’ve received a complaint from Ned’s Books, saying that you cleared out all their customers with something you said. You said that your cookbook is serious, and not a comedy book. Why would you say something like that?”
“Because it is a serious cookbook.”
“Oh, come on, microwave popcorn, how to boil water? What else could it be but a comedy book?”
Charles was back to square one. He’d told Smirk to take the damn book and shove it up somewhere, but now he was at a loss. Every time he though he had thought of a good idea, it turned out he was wrong. This time, he had really thought he had a winner, but it turned out to be a loser bomb, that when it blew, covered him in disappointment!