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The Pepperoni Prince


“YOWWWWTTTCHH!” He said when the golf ball whacked him in the skull. “For the love of God. I’m keepin’ it this time!” he shouted outside his door.

“Just toss me the damn ball,” a voice said, “but out the other side this time. Please.”

Demanding little shits. He poked his head out the door, but not too far, so as not to get scalped by the whirling death blade. It usually went slowly, about ten rotations per minute, as a 1/10,000 horsepower motor drove it, but on days when the wind picked up, sometimes it whirled like the propeller on a helicopter.

“You stupid kids! Why I oughtta…” Oughtta what? What was he going to do? Kick their asses? The kid holding the putter was a good five-foot-ten, and he was three-foot-something, depending on footwear choices. Anyway, what business is it of yours? Anyway, he may have been short, but he was burly. He could whoop the other dwarfs’ asses if he were so inclined. Well, some of them, anyway. But all this kid had to do was kick him, and he would get punted like a football in that homecoming game your high school lost against their rivals, so you ran home crying to your mom, and she told you to get out there and get laid like any normal sixteen-year-old boy who didn’t have severe acne. Your mom was an all-right lady.

“What are you gonna do?” the kid asked. Ignorant little shit.

“I’m keeping your ball, you little ingrate!” he snarled, adding it to the golf ball jar filling up nicely this season.

“Why, you…” the kid charged the ten-foot windmill, but it’s not like he could do much since he couldn’t fit in the four-inch high doorway. (Neither could any of the dwarfs; that’s why there was a secret door around the side.)

The kid looked in, careful not to get his nose nicked by the spinning blade. The dwarf stuck his tongue out.

“Arrggh,” the kid said in frustration.

“What are you gonna do?” the dwarf asked.

“I’m gonna go get another ball,” he answered.

“Oh, no, you’re not,” the dwarf said as he picked up the phone that tied in directly with the front desk. “Hello? Gladys? Yeah, don’t give any balls to the bratty kid that’s gonna come up there and ask for balls. What’s that? Beans? Sweet. What kind? Bush’s Grillin’ Beans? Sure do. What’s that? Oh yeah, Miller Lite is fine. Au Renoir.” He loved speaking French when he could. One thing he loved more than the French language was beans and beer. Of course, they gave him terrible gas, but what didn’t? He was the gassiest dwarf he knew. That’s how come Farty Dwarf got to live in the windmill. It was airy enough, and the propeller on the front acted like a fan to get the stench out when necessary. It wasn’t as posh as the lighthouse replica that Larry got to stay in, but it was nice enough. This was a fun place to work and a swell place to live. Farty and six of his friends worked and lived on the premises. He did general maintenance, like painting, diving for stray balls in the water traps, and leaf blowing. He loved it all, but the leaf blowing was a pain until he finally got the hang of it. At first, he just wasn’t very good at it. The blower was as long as he was tall, and whenever he turned it on, it would shoot him in the air like an untied balloon spinning around the room. It was fun to watch but kind of aggravating to be a part of.  He tried a rake, but again, too tall for him. It wasn’t until he realized he had his greatest asset attached to him. He soon learned that if he dropped his drawers (only after hours) and aimed his gas in the right direction, he could blow the leaves clear across the grounds.

“Go back to Mordor, you midget!” the young kid shouted. Seriously? He was still here?

“I’m not a Hobbit, you dumb little twerp. Why don’t you go back to the whorehouse and get your daddy? Your mom’s looking for him.”

“My dad’s dead!” the boy shouted and stormed off.

“Whatever,” Farty muttered, tossing the ball out the back door. It ricocheted off the back wall, off the rock, and into the cup.

“Hole in one, kid!” he yelled out the front door. The boy didn’t answer. He risked a glance out the terror hole that was his door and saw the kid sitting on the bench and crying. Farty sighed. Time to do some patching up. He went out the side door, letting it slam shut. He waddled up to the boy. What a pathetic sight this was. There he was, sitting on the bench, his head in his hands, his girlfriend twirling the end of her putter on the turf like she was unsure what to do.

“There, there, little guy,” he said to the boy. Poor choice of words, but it was out now, wasn’t it? “I’m sorry about the attitude.”

“Hey, come on. Move onto the next hole,” a man yelled behind them.

“Give us a minute, wouldja?” Farty yelled back. He turned back to the boy. “Really, I am sorry. I was just woken up from my nap by getting pegged in the head by your golf ball. I didn’t know your daddy died.”

He got no response from the boy—just more tears.

“How did he die?” the dwarf asked.

The boy wouldn’t answer. Again, more tears. So the girl answered for him. “He killed him.”

“Let me guess. He tripped over you as he was going down a flight of stairs?”

The boy shook his head.

“He tripped over you as he was coming up a flight of stairs?”

The boy shook his head.

“Tractor accident?”

Head shake.

“Car wash?”

Head shake.

“Marinara sauce?”

Head shake.

“I give up. What was it?”

The voice shouted from behind them: “Can we at least play through?”

Farty had had enough with this dude. He tromped his way over to the man and said, “No. You cannot play through. Give us a goddamned minute!”

Suddenly, the man had his hands around Farty’s waist. He threw him up in the air, and when he came down, he met with the man’s foot, and he flew across the fairway like a football, landing in the pool below.

“That’s it!” Farty said when his head popped up above the water. He climbed out of the pool and ran toward the man. It was always a funny sight to see a dwarf run, and it got the boy laughing.

The dwarf turned his back toward the man, dropped his pants, and let one fly. The gust of putrid wind sent the man flipping across the green like a weightless tumbleweed. This caused the boy to laugh even harder. It was good to hear this sound. Much better than that crying noise he was making earlier.

“You like that?” asked Farty, pulling his pants up. He did a funny little dance and a couple of cartwheels, as it was always amusing to see dwarfs doing cartwheels. The boy ceased his laughter, however, and his expression turned sour. He turned away from Farty and vomited.

“It’s the smell, isn’t it?” asked Farty.

“It’s terrible,” the boy said. “How can you manage to stink up the entire outdoors?”

“That’s why they call me Farty. Anyway, you got a minute? I know something that will cheer you up. Wanna go meet Snow White?”

“Snow White?” the boy asked.

“Yeah. She runs the joint. You can meet her if you want to. She’s the most beautiful woman on the face of the earth. Although she is a little dumb.”

“Nah. I’ve been to Disney. I’ve met her. Wasn’t too impressed.”

“That wasn’t the real Snow White. She wouldn’t be caught dead working for a bunch of corporate fat cats like Disney.”

“So she runs a mini-golf course instead?”

“Not just any mini-golf course. This is the Bad Apple Miniature Golf Slash Action Fun Park. There are three franchises, and she runs them all.”

“If she’s so dumb, how can she be smart enough to run them?”

“Well, it’s really her dad that ran it. Known as the Mattress King of the Bronx, he was also a good golfer. He played with Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods. Was good, too, although he really sucked at mini-golf.  Snow White just kinda stands there and looks pretty and collects a paycheck.”

“The Mattress King, huh? Boy, I sure know what that’s like having to live up to a legacy with a king for your dad. My dad was the Pepperoni King of Jersey.”

“The Pepperoni King of Jersey? I’ve heard of him! Best pepperoni in the state! Boy, what I wouldn’t give to have a king for a dad.

“Nah. Truth is, I couldn’t stand him. Nothing I did was ever good enough for him. I tried to make good pepperoni, you know, make him proud and stuff? But no. Pepperoni too spicy. Pepperoni too sweet. Pepperoni not wrapped tight enough. Everything with him was so serious. I was always disappointing him with the pepperoni. He couldn’t even see the humor in being friggin’ Pepperoni King. Anyway, yes, I’m the Pepperoni King’s son.”

“Then that makes you…”

“The Pepperoni Prince.”

“But since your dad’s passed on, why aren’t you the new king?”

“Oh, I will be soon enough. It’s not like the old days when all you had to do was wait for your father to die to become king. Nowadays, you wait for the lawyers to settle all the legal crap. Shouldn’t be long now, though. To tell you the truth, I really don’t care much about titles.”

“Nonsense. That’s something to be proud of. At least you’re some kind of royalty. Probably beats living in a miniature windmill and blowing leaves around with your ass. Anyway, it’s dinner time. You wanna come meet the rest of the crew?”

“I’d love to!” the Prince said. “Whadda ya say?” he asked his girlfriend, who, Farty just noticed, was pretty.

“Nah. I better be heading home. I’ve seen enough. You have fun with your little friends.”

“You sure?” Farty asked. “You’re gonna be missing out on some fine baked beans and dogs.”

“Baked beans?” she said. “Yuck. No thanks.” She gave her boyfriend a nice long kiss, for they were very much in love, and headed out of the park. “See ya, Pep.”

“Bye, Bun-Bun.”


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