King of Ketchup

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic

Peppermint and Mars-man almost meet the King of Ketchup in Lake Como.

Submitted: September 18, 2018

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Submitted: September 18, 2018



Peppermint and Mars-man strolled out of the casino with a confident slow pace of two aristocrats attending a polo match. They leisured past the cars in valet and across the parking lot and when they reached the sidewalk near the stoplight they halted and bowed to each other. Their dreams had finally come true.

Mars-man pushed the crossing button on the pole, while Peppermint pulled up her dirty striped stockings above her thin, bony hips.

“Are you sure you got it?” Mars-man was now nervous and he was scratching his rough gray beard.

“I got it. I got it right here.” Peppermint exclaimed as she held up her purse.

Mars-man gave out a small yelp and grabbed the purse and pulled it down like he was closing the blinds to an exposed window. “You gotta be careful Peppermint. They got cameras everywhere around here.”

A flash of blood filled Peppermint's long, pale face and she clutched the purse to her flat breasts. “They ain't gonna take this from us Mars-man? We found it in the garbage fair and square. Don't let them take this from us.” Peppermint started to cry.

“Don't worry yourself.” Mars-man consoled her. “We got nothin' to worry about as long as we do this right. We need someone legit, that's all.”

The crossing walk signal turned green and Peppermint stopped crying. They walked across the street and headed toward the Exile Cafe.

“You sure that Lizza will let you use her phone?” asked Mars-man. “You know she's been getting' pretty upset lately.”

Peppermint dismissed the question with a wave of her hand. “Sure she will. She's always liked me.”

“You think she will want any of the money for using her phone?”

Peppermint shook her head. “Nah .. we don't have to tell her and she won't ask.”

Peppermint stopped and looked hard at Mars-man. “But once we have our millions, I want to come back and buy the Exile for Lizza. Okay?”

Mars-man nodded.

“You promise me Mars-man. Promise me this right now.”

Mars-man became angry. “I promise. I promise.”

“And the cat shelter.” Peppermint reminded Mars-man. “When you pulled that out the garbage, you said we would help the cats.”

“I promise.” Mars-man said through gritted teeth.

The Exile Cafe was a small square cinder block building in the middle of a run down commercial center. There were two waitresses and Lizza was the fry cook. Peppermint and Mars-man sat at the counter drinking black coffee.

“I only got a couple of bucks Mars-man. I can't afford to buy more coffee” Peppermint said impatiently. “Let me ask Lizza to use her phone.”

Mars-man held her arm. “Wait a bit. We can't act too excited or demanding.” Then Mars-man covered his mouth and whispered, “And don't worry about the money; we got millions my sweet darling.”

Peppermint giggled and pressed her purse against her belly. “Oh yea, I forgot. So what's the plan Mars-man?”

Mars-man took a long sip of coffee and thought about it for several minutes. He rubbed his chin and squinted his eyes. He nodded a few times and then violently shook his head. Then he was calm and finally smiled.

“Okay, here's the plan.” Mars-man whispered. “It's so simple and elegant.” Mars-man pulled Peppermint close to him. “One, you're gonna get Lizza's phone and we're gonna call Shady at the smoke shop.”

“Who is Shady?”

“You remember the tall dude with the braided beard?” Peppermint nodded. “That's Shady.”

Mars-man looked around to make sure no one was listening. “Two, Shady is going to call a dude named George Maynard Lowe. Three, this George Maynard Lowe is a poker player and he knows this pro who wins all the time at that casino. Four, this pro must have an accountant or a lawyer. So, the pro contacts his business people and five, he sends that guy down to the Exile and six we work out a deal. And it's all legit.”

Peppermint clapped her hands in excitement. “I love this plan Mars-man.”

Mars-man sat back and closed his eyes. “You know what I'm gonna do with the money Peppermint.”

“Buy the Exile for Lizza and help all those cats” Peppermint interjected.

Mars-man opened one eye. “Yes .. but I mean after that. I'm gonna buy a big house on Lake Como in Italy. It's where all the movie stars and rich people live. If you want to show everyone that you've made it and you got money in the bank. Then you live at Lake Como.”

“Oh yea? There are lots of rich people there?” Peppermint was fascinated.

“All the richest. You know the King of Ketchup lives there.” Mars-man reached across the counter and grabbed a bottle of ketchup. “This right here is his brand. Think about that.”

“Oh wow, the King of Ketchup. I wonder if he is married? I would love to meet his wife. Do you think would could meet the King to Ketchup Mars-man?”

“Sure, sure ..” Mars-man waved his hand like he was already royalty. “But did you ever consider that the King of Ketchup might just want to meet with us? We will probably have more money than he does. Hell, we will probably have more money than Tom Cruise. Imagine that.”

“Wow, oh wow!” Peppermint started clapping her hands in excitement. “Let's get this plan rolling.”

“Okay, let's do this.” Mars-man rapped on the counter and shouted to Lizza who was busy cooking burgers on a long grill. “Lizza .. Lizza my dear. Do you have a moment?”

Lizza looked through the window from the kitchen to the dining area. “What do you want Mars-man?”

“My dear; we would like to borrow your phone for a moment to place a very important call.”

“What for?” Lizza asked.

Peppermint couldn't contain her excitement. She stood up and shouted across the counter. “Because we want to make ya rich Lizza. We just found a lot of money and we want you to have some.”

The whole cafe stopped and every customer and the two waitresses stared at Peppermint in stunned silence.

Mars-man was furious. He grabbed Peppermint's arm and pulled her hard back into her chair. “Sit down and shut up and let me handle this.” Peppermint put her hands over her eyes and began to weep.

Lizza put down her spatula and walked around the corner and up to Mars-man and Peppermint. She pointed at Mars-man. “You got no right to speak to Peppermint that way. She is too good for you. And I should call the police right now.”

Lizza reached across and put her hand on Peppermint's shoulder. “What's this all about honey?”

Peppermint gave a long snort and then wiped her eyes and nose with her forearm. “It's my fault Lizza. Mars-man told to be careful. It's all my fault. We just need to use your phone.”

“What's your fault? What is going on?” Mars-man started to speak, but Lizza put a finger in face. “Are you in some kind of trouble Peppermint?”

Peppermint carefully opened her purse and pulled out a paper slot machine ticket. She laid the ticket on the counter and turned it so that it faced Lizza.

“This here is a cash ticket that slot machines use to pay out jackpots. If you take this ticket to the cage they will give you whatever money it says on the ticket. They have to legally. But Mars-man and I have been banned from the casino. So we need someone legit to cash it in for us.”

Mars-man put his hand over the ticket. “Lizza this ticket is worth...” Mars-man looked around. “Nine hundred and ninety nine million dollars. And if you let us borrow your phone to make one simple call, I will give you one hundred thousand dollars after it is cashed in. What do you say?”

“Let me see the ticket?” Lizza demanded. Her hands on her hips.

“What? How do I know you won't steal it?”

“I am no thief. Either you let me see the ticket or you don't get to use the phone.”

Mars-man thought for moment and then handed the precious ticket to Lizza. Lizza grabbed the ticket and examined it.

“This ticket is not worth the paper it is printed on. It has no value.”

“What? How is that possible?” Mars-man was stunned. “I think you're just trying to keep the money for yourself.”

Lizza laughed and threw the ticket back at Mars-man. “Did you not notice the word 'void' across the top and bottom? Did you not see the date, which is nine, nine, nine, nine nine, nine? Or that written on the back it says, TEST TICKET – Not redeemable.”

Mars-man examined the ticket and then put his forehead on the counter. Peppermint turned to Lizza. “We ain't gonna be rich? We ain't gonna meet the King of Ketchup?”

Lizza shook her head. “Nope and it's two bucks for the coffee.”

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