Friday, March 31, 2006

Retail Hell: Day 5

One more day…we just need to make it through one more day…

Still, the stale smell of the store when we walked in was almost enough to make me urp. Even my brownie intake has suffered. It’s amazing how little you want something you love when you’re constantly bombarded with it every day.

Once again, Mr. S’Naus Ages was there to greet us. “Hurry now, hurry. The doors will be opening up any minute.”

“Why….what’s happening today?” I asked wearily.

“Don’t you know what day it is? It’s clone trooper appreciation day! It’s kinda like Labor Day but for just clone troopers. They’re all off today so I set up another promotion. All clone troopers get a free brownie. Ain’t that great? Didn’t you see the line of them outside?”

“Sorry, must have missed it when I had to park my speeder in Bom’Fok Egypt!”


“Never mind. Where’s my apron. Let’s get this over with.” What a tool…


Surprisingly there were few instances with the Clone Troopers. But I think they were trying to get extra samples.

“I’ll take my free brownie, please.”

“Eh sure…hey, weren’t you here just an hour ago?”

“eh…nope. Not me.” I distinctly heard some muffled snickering from the other troopers.

“Hmmm….are you sure?”

“Oh, absolutely.” Some more snickering. “Must have been someone else. We do look a lot alike.”

“Then what’s that dark stuff on your helmet?”

“Oh…this…eh….mud sir.”

I gave him his brownie as other troopers in line started to laugh. ….Clones!!!

Other than that there wasn’t any problem with the clones…with us anyway.

There was that one skirmish when a family of Wookies waited in line for a dozen Fluky Fudge Ripple brownies and the clone right in front of them took the last ones.

Never come between a Wookie and his brownies.

Yup…the mall clones had to be called in for this one.


Later, a gran walked up to the counter and took out a sack and dumped its contents out. Inside were old candy bars of various stages of decay. I looked up at him perplexed. “What’s this?”

“um….do you guys except trade?”

“For what…brownies?”

“Uh….yeah. there’s some nice chocolate here. Wookiee Ways, Twi’lek Twix, even a Three Mustafarian.”

“no. We don’t do trades!”

“But they’re still good…”

“We don’t do trades. But I hear there’s a video game shop on the next level that will take almost anything. You can try them. Ask for Becks.”

“Oh cool. Thanks!”

“I knew it….damn gamers….”


Only three hours into the day and the line is once again huge. “Okay….next,” I announced wearily.

Some mall kids walked up dressed in oversized clothes dully tie-dyed. Their long hair and lazy eyes pegged them for slackers. “We’d like a fudgy brownie, Mr. J.J.”

“Sure thing, kid.”

“And could we like get your autograph too?”


“You’re like…our hero man. Before your brownies…we were like…lost, man. Then those brownies, like, showed us the way. We’re Brown-ites, man. We heard your plight on the radio. This new song is playing all the time. So we thought we’d come down here and see you in person-like. I even got, like, posters on my wall man.”

“Of me?”

“No, of your brownies man. Cool posters with day glow colors and stuff. They glow with my black light. Wow. I can’t believe we’re actually talking to you. Where’s Mr. Jinn?”

“He’s in the back making a new batch.”

“Oh…bummer. Tell him Tony said hi.”

“Eh…sure thing kid. Here’s your brownie.”

“Wow…a brownie given to me by J.J.’s own hand. Righteous! Oh…and can we have your autograph man?”

“Well I don’t have a pen. …but here. Take this napkin.”

“Cool. Can you first wipe your face with it?”


A smartly dressed Aqualish stepped up. Suddenly a strange chiming-bubbling sound came from his pocket. He took out his cell phone. “Hello? Oh hey No’otsa. How ya doing?”

“Um…What would you like, sir?”

He held up his finger at me to wait. “No, no, I’m not doing anything…”

“Sir, you’re holding up the line…”

“Hey….I’m on the phone here, buddy. One moment…”He then returned to his call without skipping a beat. “No, it’s nothing. Just some rude guy. So…how’s the kids? …uh huh……and the misses? …..uh huh…..and your plants? ….uh huh….”

“Next.” I yelled out. A Bith tentatively stepped forward.

“Hey! What are you trying to do, buddy?” The Aqualish threatened the poor Bith. “Don’t try to cut in front of me.” He certainly was cantankerous for having so many ‘buddies’.

“Sir, if you are not going to order, I need to take the next person in line.”
”What do you mean? I’ve been waiting in line for an hour.”

“Then what would you like?”

“Just one moment. Can’t you see I’m on the phone? Now you can wait for a moment…”

“I’m sorry sir, I’ll need to help the next person if you…”

“Hey, I’ll call you back. I’ve got some teenage Muppet giving me lip.” He then closed the phone and looked right at me. “I want to see your manager.”

Sigh. Here we go again. Bif walked up. “What seems to be the trouble?”

“You’re little helper here doesn’t want to serve me.”

“But…he was on the phone…the other customers…” I tried to explain before the inevitable…

“J.J., don’t you know by now, the customer is always right. Give him a free brownie of his choice.”

“But you are rewarding his behavior!!!” I threw down my paper hat and jumped up on the counter so my voice could be heard. “If you tell people who go to these kind of places that they have a right to do and say anything they want… that they can be as rude or obnoxious or as obtuse as they want to be and get away with it…that no matter what they do or say they are always right then you are just perpetuating the problem and creating a type of customer who is spoiled, indulgent, and unfeeling. We’re here to help the public but not at the expense of being someone’s doormat. We may serve you but we are people too and it’s high time we got a little respect!!!!”

…okay….I didn’t really jump up and say all that. …but I thought it…as I handed the smirking Aqualish his freakin’ brownie.

I also thought about taking my gun and blowing a hole through Mr. S’Naus Ages head. …that was kinda nice too.


Ten minutes to go before closing. My nerves were shot. “Next…” I called out hoarsely. The person in front of me waited then pointed down at his feet. I looked down.

“Evening, J.J. A green riddle chunky monkey I would like.”

“Master Yoda. What a nice surprise. It’s good to see a friendly face here. You can’t believe what kind of week this has been”

“Almost over, it is. Then rest you may. Very busy you are, so your time I will not waste. For me, just a brownie.”

I wrapped up his brownie and gave it to him.

“Oh, also need twelve dozen more to go, I will. Late Jedi meeting tonight. To bring the snacks, my turn is.”

I suddenly heard the crash of dishes hitting the floor in the kitchen.

“Fresh and warm I hope they will be, too.”

Followed by Qui-Gon’s loud screams.


Two hours after we were suppose to be closed; Bif walked in and locked up the doors. “You guys did well today. This week has been great, don’t you think?”
”eh….yeah. Sure.” I replied without the will to live. “At least the week is finally over and we can get our spice permit.”

Bif looked at us surprised? “Over? You still got the weekend.

“The…what…?” Qui asked. His eyes twitching something fierce.

“Why, the weekend. That’s part of the week too, you know. Oh, and you better get all pumped up. Weekends are busy. Really busy. Not like the weekdays.”

“But…..but……but……but….” I now understood I-SUC’s determination to end it all.

(Read the exciting weekend conclusion at the Lost in Spice blog this Sunday.Hoo-Boy! It’s a doozy!!!)

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Retail Hell: Days 3 and 4...

Oh light above…when will it end?

The days are becoming a blur…that is if there actually is any daylight. Hard to tell in this mall. It is like a hive of consumers…buzzing…always buzzing.

It’s all the same. Everyday…is now the same…

Blah…blah…blah…blah…endless lines of freaky mall customers….

Blah…blah….blah…angry customers….

Blah…blah…blah…stupid fat customers…

Blah…blah…blah…problems with people cutting in line….

Blah…blah…blah…treckies…damn..f***ing treckies….

Blah…blah…blah…screaming wookiee babies…blah…blah…blah…impatient jerks….blah…blah…blah…and it just goes on…

I wish I could tell you more of what has happened…but it all has melted together into one big retail working piece of goo. I’m tired…so tired…

Qui-Gon remembers more. More stuff you just wouldn't believe. He’s holding up for now, but I can see his eyes starting to twitch. That’s never a good sign.

One more day…just one more day to go…

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Retail Hell: Day Two

Well, what do you know…It feels like I was just here.

Ah yes, the familiar morning mall smell of burnt cinnibuns and stale crushed dreams.

I think Qui-Gon was up the whole night baking. Sure, he’s a force ghost but I’m sure he needs to rest sometime. Me? I think I got four hours of sleep before I had to turn around and do it all again.

I knew this wasn’t gonna be a pretty day when I saw our evil boss, Bif S’Naus Ages at the counter waiting for me.

“Ah, there you are J.J.. You’re late two minutes, but don’t worry, I won’t dock you any pay…this time.” He said with a smile as if he were making a joke.

“Yeah, you’re all heart, boss. Whatcha doing here this early?”

”I had to drop off the coupons before the doors opened.”

“Coupons? For what?” My hands began to sweat.

“Why for the new flavors of Uncle Jinn & J.J.’s brownies, of course. We would have had them out for the public yesterday but the printers weren’t finished with these here coupons.”

I forgot about all the new flavors Qui was making prior to our first day.

Bif continued. “Now these coupons are good for one free brownie if they buy any two of the new flavors. Ulp. Looks like the line is starting. Put on your aprons, I’ll open up the doors. Smiles everyone, smiles.”

Qui-Gon drifted out of the kitchen and gave me a tired nod. We then stood there behind the counter, bracing for the worst.


“Hey, I’m the first one!” Yelled an overly exuberant (for that time in the morning) child. “What do I get for free?”

“A swift kick in the pants?” I offered back. The mother gave me an indignant look and Mr. S’Naus Ages folded his arms and shook his head at me. “Eh…I mean….you get a free brownie bite, little cute girl…”

“I don’t want one of those stale brownie bites. They’re from yesterday. I want a fresh brownie right out of the oven.” She stamped her feet down and gave me a petulant look that mirrored her mom’s.

“Hey Qui,” I leaned over to whisper. “Ya got any fresh Yatta Wasabi brownies for the little tike?”

Qui-Gon’s eyes smoldered back to life and a smile crept into his face. “I think so, J.J.. I think so…"


“I’ll take three Super Fudgy brownies; I got here this coupon for the third one free.”
”Uh….yes but is says the two you do buy have to be one of the four new flavors to get the third one free, sir.”

“Well that shouldn’t matter, should it? They’re all brownies, right?”

“Well yes, but…”

“What’s the matter? I just want to use this coupon. Is there a problem?”

“No sir. It’s just the coupon says you need to buy one of the four new…”

“I don’t believe this. Can I speak to your supervisor?”

“Um….well he’s not in right now.”

“Well then can I speak to someone in charge?”

“I guess that would be me.”

“Well then, here’s my coupon…why don’t you give me my brownies and I’ll go.”

“Uh sir….it doesn’t work like that. You…”

“Hey! Would you just hurry it up, buddy?” Yelled a man from the line. “I’ve been waiting here for almost an hour.”

“Yeah, me too.” Piped in another. “Just give him his brownies. What are you? A moron? It’s not that difficult a job.”

My eyes started to twitch uncontrollably as I handed the smug customer in front of me his brownies. I think Qui-Gon had to restrain my hands from lashing out…but I don’t remember much after that.


Lunch time. Qui and I wandered off to the closest food court where we had a meager meal of Toxic Bell while Mr. S’Naus Ages surprisingly covered for us. We ate in silence. Or almost silence. The Mall music echoed throughout with the dulcet sounds of Barry Mon Calamari and Helen Reddy Whiphid. It was enough to almost make me lose my lunch…literally.

When we returned, the place was a shambles. Gift sets and boxes were tossed on the floor, napkins were all strewn about, the back counter was like a war zone and there was Mr. S’Naus Ages grinning away like an idiot. “Ah, good. You two are back from your lunch. Well, I got to go. You can take over now.”

“What happened to the place?” I asked.

He looked around then looked at me. “Oh yeah, well it was busy. Clean this place up before you go.”

“Where’s I-SUC? Isn’t he supposed to be cleaning?”

“Oh yes. He is. He’s in the back room right now cleaning the kitchen. There was a small accident with the batter bowl. I’m sure you guys can take care of it.”

He then walked out like there was nothing wrong. I looked at the store in amazement. “We were only gone twenty minutes…”


“Excuse me…this brownie is bad. I wan’t another one.” Some old sour faced woman stated.

“Of course. Do you have a receipt?” Surprisingly she did. ….from yesterday. She then handed me the brownie wrapper void of any brownie except a few crumbs. “Um…First off, this was from yesterday and second….you ate it all.”

“Well I was hungry.”

“So it was good enough to eat.”

“Oh no. It was so stale it hurt my jaws. And it tasted like soap. I want another one.”

“But you ate it….”

“But it was bad.”


And so it went. For eight hours straight until Qui-Gon gave me the bad news. “Uh dude, I think we’re out of Super Fudgy flavor.”

”What!?! That’s our most popular flavor!!! And we still got another hour to go. And look at that damn line!!! I swear we’re gonna be here for another two hours after we close the doors.” But word started to leak out that we were running out of our most popular flavors and customers in line began to push and shove their way inside, desperate to grab their brownies before we ran out. Arguments broke out and fists almost started to fly. It was getting bad until…

“Look! The Mall Troopers!” Qui-Gon pointed at a band swaggering armored men.

Yes, it was the Mall Troopers. Not quite Clone Troopers, the Mall Troopers had fake plastic guns and almost no real authority beyond the walls of the mall, but they did break up the crowd well. In fact so well, it looked like we were going to get out of here on time. My eyes started to beam a little brighter at the prospect. When we closed the doors exactly at closing, I was smiling from ear to ear. That was, until the Mall Troopers looked at us with hunger in their eyes. “Okay, we got the crowd away for ya, now…can ya fix us up with some brownies?”

“But…it’s closing time….” I stammered.

“You want us to come back tomorrow and break up the crowd before closing again, don’t ya?”

I looked at the two dozen Mall Troopers in the store and my heart sank. Slowly I put back on my apron and steadied myself by the cash register.

“Eh…..what will it be….sir….”

“I’d like three Super Fudgy brownies. Oh, and I got a coupon.”

Monday, March 27, 2006

Retail Hell: Day One

Okay. So this can’t be too bad. Qui-Gon and myself have to man the new Uncle Jinn & J.J. Olde Brownie Shoppe in the Coruscant Mall for a whole week to get our permanent spice permit. No problem, right?

First off, I forgot how huge that freakin’ mall is. Fourteen levels, six food courts, and a few thousand shops all crammed together. Not only that but we couldn’t even park anywhere nearby. Those spots were for “paying customers” as we were told so we have to hike five miles just to get inside.

Once we saw our little shop we noticed it just happened to be right across the way from a Veers having a huge sale. Spiffy.

Not like we needed extra customers. It seems word leaked out that our brownies were going to be made available to the public once again but only at this one location to start with. Needless to say, our loyal fan base was out in droves. Before we even opened our doors the line snaked through the mall all the way to the Alderaan Eagle and the Max Rebo Shack. It was gonna be a long day.

But Qui and I put on our smocks and our best game faces and prepared to meet our wonderful, adoring public. I took on the register and greeting duties while Qui, who worked tirelessly through the night baking our goodies, was now behind the counter packaging up the orders as they came. Even I-SUC helped out cleaning up the place.

* * *

“So what flavors do you have?” A Twi’lik woman asked.

“Our regular Super Fudgy or Green Riddle Chunky-Monkey.” I answered back.

“Oh….What’s the difference?”

“One has nuts, the other doesn’t.”

“Oh….hmmm….well….I wonder which one I should get.”

“Why don’t you get both?”

“Oh, I can’t afford both. Hmmm….Do you have any with caramel in them?”

“Uh…no. Just with and without nuts.”

“How about with marshmallows?”

“No. Just those two.”


“NO. Just those two right there in your hand. Now which one do you want, lady?”

The woman stood there in line for over twenty minutes sighing and muttering to herself. I mean, come on! It’s only two different flavors. Grow a spine and make a decision! She was about to take the Green Riddle Chunky Monkey when she muttered something about wishing we had some caramel fudge brownies when Qui-Gon chimed in. “Oh you know that Corellia Caramel shop two level up might have something like that.”

“Oh you think?” She beamed, and then she was gone, and so were those twenty minutes of my life – never to come back again.

* * *

It was like that all day.

“Hey buddy,” a man yelled at me from out of line. “How much are these brownie gift boxes over here?”

”What does the price tag say?”

“Eh…twenty credits.” He then stood there waiting for me to answer.

* * *

Or…”I’ll have three Super Fudgys, one Green Riddle Chunky Monkey and two orange sodas.”

“Um…we don’t serve any drinks here. Just brownies?”

“What? But we’re thirsty.”

“There’s a water fountain just around the corner or a food court just above us on the next level.”

He then folded his arms and looked squarely at me. “Well then, hurry up and get me two orange sodas from upstairs.”

“That’s…not our job, sir.”

“Hey, I’m a paying customer here, and the customer is always right. Now why don’t you just run along and get me those sodas.”

I was about run his ass out of here when our boss, Inspector Bif S’Naus Ages, sauntered in. “What seems to be the trouble here?”

“This gentleman wants me to go up to the food court and grab him two sodas. I told him n-…”

“Of course we can, sir. Anything for the customer. J.J., run up there and get him what he wants. Be quick about it.”

My fists balled up…my toes balled up. My gut balled up. I couldn’t believe it. But there I was, pushing my way past the crowd to get this jerk his freaking soda, all the while I wanted to stuff those damn hair knobs down Bif’s throat.

And that was just the beginning. It seems when I returned, ol Inspector Bif thought is would be a good idea to hand out tiny brownie samples…to boost the sales.

When word spread of the free samples, half the mall was waiting outside our door. And they were getting ugly too. Shouts of hurry up in there, ya bums, and other disparaging remarks echoed just outside. Some waited so long that they, of course, took it out on us when they got up to order.

“I think you should let us have some brownies for free for the amount of time we wasted waiting in your line.”

“You can have a free sample.” I offered.

He took a handful and stuffed it in his mouth.

“Uh…Qui….we need another sample plate.”

Poor Qui was like a whirling dervish, running back and forth filling orders in-between making new batches to keep up with demand.

* * *

And another… “That will be 18.65.” I told a customer.

“But I only bought fifteen credits worth.”

“uh…there’s tax too.”

“Well…I’m from Bespin. We don’t have tax there.”

“That’s nice. We do on Coruscant. That will be 18.65.”

“Well I don’t think I should have to pay it…” and so it went. The day was a blur. I vaguely remember our two five minute breaks and half hour lunch. Me and Qui sat huddled quietly together, our eyes glazed and our hands shook as we ate our stale McDooku burgers. This was harder than I thought. And this was just the first day.

By the time the mall closed we still had two dozen people waiting in line. Even though the clock said we were closed we still had to serve them before we could leave. It wasn’t until forty five minutes after we officially “closed” that I got the last customer of the day. Some old lady from Ord Mantell. All she got was one Super Fudgy brownie.

“That will be 1.75.”

She then took out her change purse and dumped it on the counter and started counting out coins. “Let’s see….five…ten….twenty…twenty-five…fifty…oh wait. That’s one of those new twenty-five cent coins. I can’t give you that. I collect those.”

“Of course you do…”

“Now where was I? Five….ten….twenty….thirty seven…”

“Uh…that’s a Geonosis seventeen cent piece. We don’t take those here…unfortunately.”

“Oh…okay then. Five… fifteen….twenty….thirty….thirty-five…forty….forty-five…oh my….that’s the same age as my grandson. Did you know that?”

“I do now. Um…look can I help you with that.”
”No, I can do it. I ain’t dead yet, young man. Let’s see…..five….ten……twenty….”

“It’s just that…we’ve been closed for almost an hour and I really do want to go home.”
”I’m going as fast as I can, young man. Oh…now you made me forget where I was….sigh…five….ten…..twenty…..twenty-five….twenty-six…twenty-seven…oh…you do take pennies, don’t you?”

“……I…….I…….I’m afraid….we do….”

“That’s nice….they’re still good money, you know. Five……ten……fifteen….twenty-five…

Forty five minutes later… “One dollar seventy-three…One dollar seventy-four….one dollar seventy-five. There you go.”

I scooped up the change and dumped it in the register. “Thank you come again,” I said in a weak voice ready to crack.

“Aren’t you going to count it?”


Finally. The doors were locked. Our ten hour day of hell was at an end. All I wanted to do was go home and get in the Jacuzzi with a cigar in one hand and a stiff drink in the other.

Just as we were walking out the door, Inspecter S’Naus Ages came up to us. “Well, we did a great first day, didn’t we?”

“oh…yes WE did.” I spoke back, never once meeting his eye.

“Uh…where are you two going?” he asked perplexed.

“Home. Goodnight.”

“But you still have to count out the register and write up the receipts and deposits and Master Jinn, we need to bake some more brownies. Our supply is almost all gone and we’re expecting twice as many customers tomorrow. I put out a full page add in the Coruscant Chronicle. Now come along you two. A little extra work never hurt anyone.”

With a heavy sign that sounded more like a whimper, we turned around and re-entered our prison.

This was gonna be a loooooong week.

Friday, March 24, 2006

The Meaning of Spice

“It has come to our attention, here at the M.O.S.,”* (*Ministry of Spice) “that you two have misplaced your permit to sell spice in the guise of delicious snack items, and now wish to procure a new one. Is that right?” Inspector Bif S’Naus Ages asked us with a menacing stare.

And all I could concentrate on was that damn thing on his head. I mean, really…what the hell is that? Hair? A hat? A malignant growth? He was also beginning to make the room smell of biscuits and gravy. But since he was the only thing standing in me and Qui-Gon’s way to returning to our business of spice brownie mongers, it looks like I would have to hear him out.

“Okay, bub. What do we haveta do?”

“First off, you must go thorough a few tests. I’ll only need one of you to complete these tests.”

I looked over to Qui Gon who was busy opening a jar of pickled onions and freeing them all over our rug. “Eh…I guess that would be me.” I told him.

“Excellent. It’s an eye exam and IQ test all rolled into one. My colleague, Inspector Bif Wellingt’n will administer it.”

He then walked in.

“Good evening. First off, I need you to read out loud all the words on this paper. Don’t pay any mind if they don’t quite make scene, just make sure you read them out loud.”

He handed me the paper and I read it…













The room burst out in laughter. “Ah, that was splendid. Splendid indeed.”

“I don’t get it,” I told him. “What does that have to do with getting a spice permit?”

“What? Oh…uh, nothing at all, actually. We were just having a bit of fun at your expense. Now…on to the real test. Let me bring in a few associates of mine. This is Inspector Bif Shank…”

“…And Inspector Bif Jurk’ee. They will test your reflexes.”

“Hold your hand here…” Inspector Bif Shank placed my hand below my chin. Suddenly Inspector Bif Jurk’ee smacked me with a plucked chicken.


“Good, good, but we want more of a ‘Waaaahhg’ sound.” Inspector Shank clarified. “Now put your hand here.”

“What?” The chicken again… “Waaaahhg!”

“Oh better, better.”

“That was great!” Inspector Bif Wellingt’n wrote something on his clip board. “High scores indeed.”

“I still don’t see what this…”

“And now we must bring in Inspector Bif Spam Spam Spam “Spam” and Bif.”

The final inspector came through the door with a fist full of grapes and a crazed look.

“Look out Mr. Juice!!!” Warned Bif Jurk’ee, “He’s coming at you with fresh fruit!!!!”

The inspector started to scream and run at me, only to be intercepted by a tiger that came out of nowhere and ate the man where he stood.

“Well…that was quick thinking, Mr. Juice. Bloody good idea about that tiger and all.”

“But…I don’t own a tiger…I don’t know where that came from…”

Just then, Count Dooku began to quietly laugh. He stopped when we all turned to him. He looked at us with those big globe-like eyes and said, “Oh…well…I had to amuse myself while you were away. A tiger seemed the logical choice.”

This was getting all too silly for me. My mind couldn’t take it. “That’s it!!!! Who are you guys really???”

They all looked at me (except for the one being eaten by the tiger, of course) with an air of innocence. “I’m not sure I follow you.” Inspector Bif S’Naus Ages stated. We’re here to give you and Mr. Jinn a spice permit, providing you pass our tests.”

“And did I pass already?” I asked fuming.

The inspectors suddenly huddled together and looked over their notes. When they broke off, Inspector Bif S’Naus Ages stepped forward. “Yes…well almost. You see, A new law was recently enacted that states that all those now applying for a spice permit must have at least a weeks worth or retail experience. In other words, to be able to sell your special spiced brownies all over the galaxy again you must first be able to sell them…by yourselves…in a special retail shop.”

“Well that doesn’t sound too bad…”

“…in THE MALL!!!”

“NNNOOOOOOOOO!!!!!” I heard Qui-Gon yell behind me. I quickly turned to him. “Don’t worry, Qui ol buddy. We can do this. We have to do this.”

“I…I know, man. It’s just…have you ever been to the Coruscant Mall before? It’s evil, man. Pure evil!”

“Yes, well I’m sorry but if you want a new spice permit,” Inspector Bif (whoever) said, “You WILL have to do this final test.”

“Yeah, Yeah…I get the picture. We’ll do it. Jeezz!!! I didn’t expect a Spanish inquisition!!”

“NO ONE EXPECTS THE SPANISH INQUISI- oh damn. The post is over.”

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Recap --Just Add Plot Thickener

“Okay…backup…tell me again why our brownie empire is now defunct?”

I lit up a new cigar and began to pace in front of the fireplace. Qui-Gon shimmered in the doorway, glancing ever so often at my unopened can of soda. What the hell’s gotten into him? Count ‘lizard-boy’ Dooku continued to sit in his chair with that dumb expression on his face.

“Um, you see, “Qui-Gon began, “It seems someone called the cops on us when Dooku and I were…uh…eating some brownies and all. Everything would have been fine except the spice permit you keep in your office was missing…so we were taken to jail for a few weeks. …a few very long…long…weeks.”

“Missing? Who took it?”

“It seems,” Dooku interjected, “that it was your ex-wife Rhonda who took the permit thinking it was the only one, and then called the cops on us.”

”Rhonda. …damn that Ithorian. She was always two faced…eh…two mouthed that is. Where is she now?”

“Oh, don’t worry, my boy. She’s taken care of. It seems she had an accident once we got out of prison. A bit of a coincidence, don’t you think?”

“It was like…they found her dead in her apartment in a pool of vomit, man. Um…although it wasn’t her vomit, come to think of it.”

I shook the image from my brain. “Okay, so back track a bit. Why didn’t you guys send word or come and get me at the Big Brother House? I always keep a spare permit on me at all times.”

Yeah, I know. But I was stuck in one of those…those...dark…dark boxes….and could only tap out Morse code and all. But we did finally get some help, man. We sent the best we could while in jail. We sent the F.O.O.F. men, Frick and Frack.”

My jaw dropped. My cigar fell from my mouth but Dooku snatched it up with his claw with better reflexes than I would have guessed a Sleestak had. “You’re kidding. Those two?” They couldn’t (insert joke of choice here) with both hands!”

“Oh, but it was okay, J.J. They got into the Big Brother house and got your copy of the spice permit.”

“They did?” I hastily reached into my robe’s hidden pocket where I always keep my important documents: blackmail photos, secret bank account numbers, Twil’lik phone numbers, an emergency brownie…but he was right. No spare spice permit.

“So the pulled through and brought you my spare, right?”

Qui and Dooku glanced uncomfortably at each other. “Well you see, ol chap, they….how should I put this…they burnt it.”

“What!?!?” My jaw dropped again. Dooku caught my cigar again.

“But like the ghost of Jo Jo got us out of that dark… dark…oh so dark…prison box….*shudder* and we’re now all home safe and sound.” He gave me a half hearted smile.

“Oh yeah, everything is dandy. Lizard lips here is permanently stuck as a Sleestak. You can’t go five minutes without opening something up, and our production of brownies has come to a crashing halt until we can get another spice permit. Do I have it right?”

Qui-Gon thought about it for a moment then nodded vigorously. “Yup, that should just about catch up the readers of the events of the past month. But everything is fine now. Now that you’re back from Big Brother, we can go downtown together and apply for a new permit. I already made a few calls.”

It sounded reasonable enough. I took a drag off my cigar, cringed at the sleestak taste it somehow acquired, and began to pace some more. Something wasn’t right. Something still nagged at me in the back of my head. Something about new spice permit laws just recently enacted. Now what were they?

Then in mid stride, the doorbell rang. I diverted my pacing towards the front door and answered it.

“Yeah? What do you want? It’s late”

Hello. My name is Inspector Bif S’Naus Ages I am from the Ministry of Spice I am here personally to talk to you about your new spice permit. It seems you have a bit of a problem.”

Oh course. What else is new?

Monday, March 20, 2006

Honey...I'm Home!

Ahh…it’s good to be home. Look at this place…Who would want to live here? I mean, come on…a two story penthouse located at the center of the Coruscant capital and merchandizing hub, with a huge game room, home theater, patio with hot tub…don’t take my word for it. You can see the whole floor plan here.

What I guess I’m trying to say is, is that I think I’ve been traveling too much. What with hosting the Survivor show, participating in the Big Brother:Naboo show. I think it’s time to have a little down time.

Ahh…what a view. Qui’s lava lamps bubble and glow like my bowels after eating Mustafarian Moost-Mex, the faint odor of incense could be detected wafting throughout the room. All was at peace.

Next to the fireplace I spied a robed figure sitting close by with his feet up sipping a cup of what looked to be tea. Even in his smoking jacket, Count Dooku still demanded to keep his top hat on his head. Hmm…I forgot he was still a guest at our house.

“Well Dooku, I’m finally back. I bet you weren’t expecting me to….HOLY CRAP!!!!!

“Well good evening, dear boy. Would you like a spot of tea?”

“I…uh…no….that is…What happened to you?”

Dooku looked down at his green, three pronged hands and sighed before answering. “Oh yes…this. It seems I’ve put myself in a bit of a pickle…”

As if on Queue, we lifted our ears in silence neither one of us daring to move.

“Did you hear it?” Dooku whispered.

“Yeah, I think I did. Jedi temple’s that way, right?”

“I believe so. Thirty miles away…that’s a new record.” He gave a chuckle and took a sip of his tea before continuing. “Now as for me, it seems I lost a fight with this Starbucker chap in a magic-off and now I am reduced to being a Sleestak. Rather disturbing, actually, since I don’t have anything that goes with moss green skin. I’ve sent for a doctor. She should be around in the morning to take a look at me.”

Just then, my I-SUC droid wheeled himself inside with my luggage. Dooku took one look at the droid and said, “Oh my. I see you’ve acquired an Internal Salvaging and Undermining Citrus droid. How quaint.”

“Uh…yeah. I-SUC, take those bags into my room.”

“Yes sir.” He responded in his low, monotone voice. “Oh, and sir…I’ve been meaning to ask you…What exactly is a side-kick?”

Dooku and I coughed uncomfortably before I even ventured to answer. “Why do you ask, SUC-man?”

“Oh, just something Jon said back at the Big Brother house. He told me I was your side kick…then started to laugh hysterically. I don’t understand.”

“eh…well…It must be that gladiator humor. I don’t quite understand it either. Is Qui around?” I asked Dooku.

“I believe he’s in the kitchen trying to make a sandwich.”

I hopped down the hallway towards the kitchen. I couldn’t wait to see by buddy Qui-Gon. Of all the people in the galaxy, he is the only one I can truly call my best friend. It’s been ages since I’ve seen him. First there was that month long sabbatical in the ether, then I get whisked away for that reality game show for another two months. I wonder how he’s doing? I wonder what he’s been up to for the past few months. I wonder…

I enter the kitchen and see him standing there pondering over jar of mayonnaise. I look around the kitchen and notice that all the cupboard doors are flung open as well at the oven door and refrigerator.

“QUI!!! I’m back! How are you, you ol force ghost, you? Eh….you lose something?”

He looked up kinda distracted like and gave me a glazed stare. “Uh…no man. Why do you ask?”

“Oh… no reason, I guess.” Glancing at the cupboards once more, I gave his poncho a big hug. “So what’s been going on since I’ve been gone?”

Qui continued to ponder the jar of Mayonnaise like it was going to suddenly strike at him. He began to bite his nails and nervously mutter something. This wasn’t good.

“Eh…Qui…what’s up. You okay man?”

He suddenly reached for the jar and opened the lid with one furious motion before upending it and shaking the entire glob of mayonnaise out. With a deep breath, he set the jar down and allowed himself to relax.

I, on the other hand, began to feel rather uneasy. “Um…like a lot of mayonnaise on your sandwich, do ya?”

He turned to me with a flat stare. “Oh no, man. Can’t stand the stuff. I’m a mustard man.”

I glanced over to the one of the open cupboards where I saw a 24 pack of mayonnaise on the shelf and sighed.

“Dude, maybe you should come into the living room and sit down for a while…have a brownie or two.”

“I can’t. We’re all out.”

“So whip up a fresh batch.”

“um…we can’t. We can’t make anymore.”

“What do you mean? That’s our business.”

“Um…not anymore, man. We’re shut down. Didn’t you read the paper two posts ago?”

He then handed me the paper. This was more serious than I thought!

Friday, March 17, 2006

Heading Home

I will be so glad to finally get home. It seems like it’s taking forever! It doesn’t help that I decided to fly Jawa Express Airlines, either. Man, I forgot just what a load they are. The ship may be big, but because it caters to jawas, the seats are tiny and cramped, everything smells like old droid oil and I swear the right engine looks like its about to fall off.

To make matters worse, we had a twelve hour delay at our stop at Dantooine. I guess the pilot thought it was Tatooine and decided to knock off early.

Even though it was cheap, it’s just taking too damn long. And look at this crap…

What else are jawas supposed to do?

And the meal? Some old Sarlacc sandwich with week old scurrier and dip.

Not again. I can’t wait to get home and see Qui-Gon and have some real food.

At least the in flight movie was good…

Wednesday, March 15, 2006


The halt of production to Uncle Jinn and J.J.’s Homemade, Super Fudgy, Special Spiced Brownies has caused turmoil throughout the known systems. Reports of millions of loyal and addicted customers who have been satiated by an abundant supply of the chocolaty yummy and some-what mind altering snack have now been forced to face the horrible reality of a brownie shortage. Ever since the alleged incarceration of Qui-Gon Jinn and Count Dooku for baking and consuming “spice” brownies without a permit, they have been forced to shut down their brownie production. As a result, their tasty treats have become rarer than a good script by George Lucas.

Now hundreds of thousands of beings all across the galaxy have been taking to the streets, clamoring for the last vestiges of brownies that could be found.

When asked by co-owner and dead Jedi Knight, Qui-Gon Jinn, when production would resume he responded, “Umm…like yeah. We want to get back to baking them again but like we seemed to have misplaced our permit for spice. And both J.J. and I have to be present to do that. And…well…He ain’t back from Naboo just yet. I hope he didn’t stop off on planet Melov-U-Longtime.”

Reports of price gouging are rampant. Recently, a brownie package went on E-Bay for the ridiculous price of 300,000 credits. It was sold within minutes.

Other reports of looting are almost as common. Just two days ago, a young hooligan broke into one of Uncle Jinn and J.J.’s storage warehouses in the vain hopes that some brownies were left behind. He was discovered in a corner licking some stale crumbs and muttering “Oh my beloved brownie…how I love to taste your chocolaty center…” He was quickly escorted out by security as seen here.

When it was discovered that the person taken into incarceration was a Fluke Starbucker, reporters were sent to his ship to interview the young jedi wannabes’ second in command, Mr. Sprok. Unfortunately the lack of spiced brownies in his system had made him go on a five day rampage against puppets and was unavailable to comment.

Reports of brownie hording can be found as far away as the planet of Tatooine where a family of moisture farmers and part time leaders of the local Hitler youth group, the Lars family, were reported to have horded two dozen batches of the brownies. They told reporters they were willing to sell them for more comments on their blog.

With systems in rising turmoil, we asked the Jedi temple what their plans were to bring about peace in the galaxy once more. Jedi Master Yoda was unavailable to comment directly with us but did offer up a finger salute, signifying the Jedi’s are still ‘number one’.

Master Windu was also unavailable to comment. Sources say he was busy polishing his head as confirmed by this photograph. Unfortunately, the photographer is now permanently blinded when his camera flash bounced off the jedi’s cranium.

There was one Jedi who was available for comment. Anakin Skywalker, seen here giving an interview to whoever would listen to him said that the jedi’s would look into this brownie matter as soon as possible. “Yo, check it. As soon as my speeder is all pinped out and spit, I’m on it. What? Of course I’m gonna be leading this mission. I’m the Chosen One, ain’t I?” He then started signing off for our cameras while singing ‘It’s hard out here for a pimp’.

With no end in sight to the brownie shortage, people are advised to stay at home, lock their doors and eat a Snickers bar injected with liquid crack until this disaster has been cleared up and production of the brownies can resume.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Monday's with Dooku: The Great Magic-Off!!

Hello and welcome to Coruscant’s first annual Magic Off!!!

I’m your host, Dill Dixby who will be calling the action packed shots…eh…shot by shot. But first. Let’s say hello to our panel of three magical judges who will be grading our contestants on style, aptitude, and originality.

Let’s give a warm welcome to…Mr. Harry Potter- Student extraordinaire from Hogwarts School of Magic.

Mr. Gandalf the Gray of the ancient order of Istari, lesser Maiar and all around grumpy old man.

And finally….um…is this right? Oh…okay. And our third judge….Magic Johnson, who I can only guess we got because his first name is Magic.

Now let’s bring out our contestants. Our challenger for today is that Sith lord of fast food, The Count of Dooku!

And our defender is that founder of the new jedi order wannabe…the great Flukeizmo!!!

Okay, you both know the drill. You each have two minutes to complete each of the three challenges that will be presented to you. Afterwards, our judges will score your endeavors on a scale of 1 to 10 with ten being the best. The person who scores the most at the end of the contest wins the title of super tremendous, brilliantly wonderful, splendidly excellent, superbly terrific magical person of the year and gets this cheap plastic award. Are you ready? Great. Let’s start…the Magic-Off!!!


Your first challenge to both of you is to test your skills of dexterity and slight of eye.

Fist up…Dooku.

And it looks like he’s going for the classic “pulling something out of his hat” routine. Not too original but a crowd favorite. Yes…he’s taking off his top hat and making a display of rolling up his sleeves. He’s reaching in. Is it a bunny? Is it a…? No! It’s a rancor!!! Oh well done. That will have the judges sitting up and taking notice.

Let’s go to the judges. Herry Potter…how did you score this?

H.P.: Well, it’s not as exciting as say a troll or a dragon or any of the other creatures I had to battle all by my self…

Yes yes, whatever kid. What’d you score him?

H.P.: I gave him a 7.

And you Gandalf the grumpus…

G.t.G.: That’s gray, you FOOL! In any case, I gave him an 8.

Very good, very good. And now Magic Johnson. How did you score our Count Dooku?

M.J.: Why, that was a slam dunk, man! I gave him a 10

Alright. Well, that gives you a score of 25 so far, Mr. Dooku.

Now it’s Flukizmos turn. As you know he’s quite good at slight of hand as you can see from this old clip of ours where he dazzled us with a card trick. I wonder what he will do tonight?

He’s got his hands out…he’s got one finger up… and he….

Transfers the one finger to the other hand…just like that!!!

And what did the judges score? Mr. Potter?

H.P.: Well, my friend Ron attempted something quite similar in his first year at Hogwarts where…

Yeah, we get the picture. What’s your score kid?

H.P.: I gave him…a 5.

Alright, and now Mr. Gandalf. What did you give our fine Fluky friend?

G.t.G.: It was a rather preposterous display. I’ve seen better finger manipulation from a Uruk-Hai prostitute. I gave him a 3.

Ooo. Tough scores. Magic…what did you give him?

M.J. Man! That was a slam dunk. I have him a 10!

Well… all right then. That gives Flukizmo a score of 18. He’s going to have to work hard to catch up now, though.

Now for the second challenge. This challenge will test our contestants on their ability to make something…disappear. Once again, the challenger Count Dooku will begin.

It looks like the count is selecting someone from the audience. …A rather pretty girl from the audience. And it looks like…it looks like…he’s giving her his phone number. And she’s blushing…but she’s nodding her head yes. Oh that’s a good sign. She’s now returning to the audience and it looks like Count Dooku is ready to start the challenge.

He’s taking off his cape…and he’s covering the huge rancor’s head with it. I’m not sure how he’s going to make the rancor disappear when we can still see the rest of his body…but wait. He’s doing something with his hands….and…he’s…tossing the cape aside. OHMYGOD!!! OHMYGOD!!! The Rancor’s head is gone!!! Now the rancor’s body has collapsed to the ground! Blood from its savored arteries is gushing everywhere. But this holiday bank crowd is going wild. They really enjoyed that one. Let’s hear what the judges have to say…

H.P.: Splendidly exiting. I wish I had thought of that when I enrolled in the triwizard tournament, I would have…

Look kid, no one cares. What’s your score?

H.P.: I gave him a 9

And now Gandalf?

G.t.G.: Finally a bit of talent. Unfortunately I got blood on my hat so I gave him a 7.

And Mr. Johnson?

M.J.: That was a three point shot if I ever saw one. So I gave him a 10 points.

And that brings Count Dooku’s score up to 51. Flukizmo is really going to have to impress the judges this time.

So next up…Flukizmo. And it looks like he’s ready for the challenge. He’s putting on a bandana…no, wait…it’s a napkin. And now a tray with a huge plate of what looks like spaghetti and meatballs is being wheeled out. The great Flukizmo is sitting down at a table and…yes! He is digging in to the meal with a ravenous apatite. Look at him go! I’ve never seen someone make a meal disappear so quickly. And….he’s finished with 35 seconds to spare!


H.P. It would have been better if he was eating Bertie Bott’s every flavor jelly beans but…

Look. One more silly reference to your life and I’ll have Dooku rip off your head, got it? Now what’s your score?

H.P.: ulp…um…7


GtG: Rather pathetic, actually, when compared to the skill of hobbits. I gave him a 4


M.J.: That was just another slam dunk. I gave him a 10!

…………… have no idea what you’re doing here, do you Mr. Johnson?

M.J.: Not in the slightest.

With the scores Dooku 51 and Flukizmo 36, we now come up to our final challenge. In this challenge contestants must transform something into something else. No slight of hand or illusion here, they must actually physically alter the existence of one object into another. Are you ready, Count Dooku?

The Count is nodding his head but he looks a bit stunned. I think he may have met his match here. Wait…he’s turning around…he’s hiding his face…and now…he’s turning back and….he’s changed himself! Look at that!

No wait. The judges aren’t buying it. Harry Potter?

H.P.: Why, that’s just a mask. Zero points.

G.t.G.: Hardly worth the effort of turning around. Simply appalling! Zero points!

M.J.: Wow! How’d he do that? 10 points.

Now it’s Fluke’s turn. He only needs 26 points to win. Can he do it? Flukizmo is pacing the floor. He’s starting to sweat….time is running out. Wait. It looks like he’s stepping over to Harry Potter…and he’s asking the kid for his wand…now he’s physically threatening him….AND IT WORKED! He’s giving Flukizmo his wand. Very irregular move but since this is a no-holds-bared contest, a perfectly legal move. He’s now walking over to the masked Dooku and tapping his head with the wand.

And times up! I don’t know what the great Flukizmo was trying to accomplish but is seems like nothing happened. This looks bad. The judges are discussed with him…but WAIT!! Count Dooku is taking off that ridiculous mask…and his face…IT’S BEEN CHANGED. HE’S CHANGED DOOKU INTO…A SLEESTAK!!


H.P.: 10

G.t.G.: 10

M.J.: 10

And that does it!!! Flukizmo wins with a score of 66 to 61. Simply amazing!!!!

Well, that’s if for tonight. The great Flukizmo will go home with this tacky trophy while I suspect Count Dooku will go home and play with pylons…or what ever sleestak do.

This is Dill Dixby saying goodnight and happy conjuring.

(and look for J.J. to be returning to his own blog later this week.)

Monday, March 06, 2006

Mondays with Dooku: A Magical Challenge!

It has come to my attention that when I listed possible Jedi to go after once my incarceration came to an end that I neglected to add one Fluke Starbucker.

This Founder of the New Order Jedi Wannabe is nothing more than a pretender to the FOTNOJW throne. Up until very recently, the only thing this chap did was tightened and loosened bolts on moisture vaporators for no apparent reason that I can discern.

Although I have discovered we do share a similar interest – a secret power if you will. No, I don’t condone the use of the Spores to make people dance. I’m talking about…magic.

It seems Fluke’s magical alter ego is none other that the Great Flukizmo! As it turns out, magical tricks are also my specialty. That is, before I changed vocation to leading the separatists to war while secretly being in league with Darth Sidious, but how long can that last? After all, it’s not like I’m offered a 401k or stock options in that line of work.

Besides, I have a nifty cloak tailor made for just such an occasion.

So although I could go after some of the other jedi in an evil smiting fit, I think this time I will send forth a challenge to young Starbucker!

I call forth you, Fluke Starbucker, for a no-holds-bared MAGIC-OFF!!!

If the young Flukizmo is man enough to step up to the dais, we shall begin next week in a three part challenge to determine who is the best prestidigitator of the galaxy.

And may the best man win.