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Oh Bean Curd! by Byron Lanning
published in Volume 1, Issue 1 on January 15th, 1994

One day in a creme de cacao, contrabassoon country a king summoned his agriculture minister to his bed. "Reuben," he cried. "How goes the bean curd harvest?"

"Not good," replied the agriculture minister. "The rancid season came a few minutes late and the beans never had a chance to curdle."

This news deeply upset the king. The last time the bean curd harvest failed an insurrection among his subjects broke out. During the rebellion, a group of radical Mexican chefs tried to assassinate the king by faxing him a large burrito containing a stick of dynamite. The assassination attempt failed though because the king had left the palace to go to the Arctic Circle to hunt trophy-sized lemmings. However, the burrito did cause serious damage in the palace. When it exploded, it blew off the queen's new face lift and destroyed the king's mounted heads of mice, voles, and gophers hanging in his den, which over the years he had killed on safaris.

The king started to pout. He didn't like insurrections at all. They gave him headaches. He ordered his mistress, who lay in bed next to him, to bring him his fishnet panty hose because he wanted to wear something that would make him feel good that day. She paid no attention to him, for she lost herself in calculations, doing permutations of random numbers to prove mathematically that God actually made the universe in five not six days and took the entire weekend off.

The king then asked the agriculture minister if they could use last year's bean curd harvest for this year, but the agriculture minister said if the king used the remainder of last year's bean curd harvest, the kingdom wouldn't have enough bean curd for the big college football game in the Bean Curd Bowl. The king wouldn't hear of such a thing. He loved the Bean Curd Bowl, not for the football game, but for the half time show at which he announced the winner of the Miss Bean Curd Contest, the woman who had the personality, intelligence, and looks most like a tub of bean curd.

This agriculture minister's admonition caused the king to pause and reflect. As the king paused and reflected, his mistress put down her permutations and said, "Why don't you use next year's bean curd harvest for this year?" The king replied, "Yeah, why can't we do that?"

"Well, we could do that," said the agriculture minister, "but this proposal has two problems. First, what do we do next year for a bean curd harvest? We won't have one if we use next year's harvest this year. Second, some disgruntled wizard, angry at your high bikini taxes, put a hex on next year's bean curd harvest. Anyone who eats it will get an unquenchable desire to gulp down coffee grounds and percolate."

"Hmm, that does pose a problem," said the king. He scratched his mistress' beard in contemplation and suddenly said, "Heck," he said, "we'll just borrow off this year's bean curd harvest for next year." The agriculture minister reminded the king that this year's harvest failed because of a late rancid season, to which the king retorted, "Don't bother me with details."

The king then addressed the problem of percolating, said it didn't seem so bad in comparison to insurrections, so he directed the agriculture minister to use next year's bean curd harvest this year despite its hex.

The king's mistress then suddenly had another idea. She told the king, "Why don't you make percolating a national pastime. That way no one will think percolating is out of the ordinary."

"I like that!" shouted the king. He immediately declared a proclamation, proclaiming that percolating had replaced arson as the national pastime.

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