Gangrene Queen

Who Ordered This Cappuccino?

The next day at a high-class spa somewhere in Texas, the Powerpuff Girls and Princess were all enjoying mudbaths courtesy of Princess and her platinum card.

“Ugh!” Buttercup groaned impatiently. “This is a waste of time! The Gangrene Gang are probably long gone by now! What are we doing here?!”

“Is that the thanks I get for paying for a nice day of recuperation for all four of us?” Princess asked smugly. “Why are you complaining?”

“This is actually kinda fun!” Bubbles giggled. “I feel so relaxed! Flying around and looking for the Gangrene Gang for hours and hours can make you tired.”

“Bubbles is right,” Blossom agreed. “We can’t expect to fight the Gangrene Gang if we’re exhausted. We can spare a day to recover.”

Buttercup was shocked that Blossom would condone this nonsense, but then again, Blossom always disagreed with whatever she had to say, anyway. Buttercup groaned as Princess, Blossom, and Bubbles all giggled like schoolgirls

Meanwhile, the Gangrene Gang had continued on their journey eastward.

“I'm starving!” Angela whined from the back seat.

“Me too!” Arturo seconded.

“Me three!” Snake added.

“Me four!” Billy chimed in happily.

“Angie, how can you guys still be hungry if you ate all that stuff we stole from Wal-Mart the other night?” Ace asked impatiently. “You just ate three Twinkies, a bag of chips, and ten Slim Jims!”

“Those are great snacks, now I wanna eat!” Angela protested.

“Fine,” Ace relented. “Grubber, stop somewheres so we can get a bite to eat.”

Grubber pulled into the parking lot when he found a truck stop where the gang could grab something for lunch.

As the six green teenagers walked in, the smarmy blonde waitress took one look at them and tried her hardest not to allow her face to scrunch up in disgust.

“Didn’t your mother tell ya it’s rude to stare?” Ace asked irately.

“Table for six?” She asked, her voice dripping with fake sweetness. She smiled uncertainly. No one said anything. “Right this way,” she said awkwardly as she led the gang to a booth.

The green teenagers squished into the booth in the corner of the restaurant as the waitress plopped a plastic menu in front of each of them and disappeared. The restaurant was dimly lit and filled with cigarette smoke. Nearby, the other side of the dining room was filled with truckers sitting at booths, laughing and hollering, comparing stories of life out on the road. One of them, a burly and pale man, looked over at the Gangrene Gang as they all debated over what they were going to order.

“Hey look!” The trucker called out over to the booth where the Gangrene Gang sat. The six of them looked up uncertainly from their menus. Angela’s eyes darted nervously over to the trucker. He had unruly auburn hair and a bushy beard to match. The man vaguely resembled Sasquatch. “Those kids are green!”

“What happened to you kids?” Asked a trucker who was sitting at a booth across from Sasquatch. This guy was older and looked like he could pass for Santa Claus. “You kids look like you’re seasick. The coast is two thousand miles away!” He laughed and so did the other truckers.

Angela’s face turned bright red. Big Billy just sat there grinning in oblivion. Grubber and Snake had looks of confusion and mortification on their faces. Arturo looked more than irritated. Of course, Ace used this moment as an opportunity to work his charm.

“Oh, we’re not seasick,” Ace said, his voice edged with sadness. “My friends and I all have a rare blood disease that turns our skin this undesirable shade.”

“That’s terrible, son,” said the Santa Claus trucker. “What’s it called?”

“Erm, it’s called, erm, greenskinneosis,” Ace stammered, trying to concoct a fictitious ailment. He regained his charm over the ornery-looking truckers when he added, “We’re terminal. Every last one of us!” Sadness oozed from his eyes as the truckers looked at the Gangrene Gang with expressions of pity and rage at the fact that such young lives could be horribly cut short.

“The doctors told us we’re not gonna live very long,” Ace continued. “Why, we could all be dead tomorrow, for all we know!”

Big Billy began to wail loudly, not realizing that Ace was lying through his teeth. Of course, Big Billy’s tears made Ace’s story all the more convincing. “Big Billy no wanna die!” He sobbed as Ace placed a sympathetic hand on the shoulder of his giant friend.

“All we wanted to do before we bit the dust was go to New York City,” Ace said as though he too would begin to tear up. “My friends and I decided we would all go on a road trip to celebrate the last days of our lives.”

There was an awkward silence.

“Is that red convertible up front yours?” Sasquatch asked.

“Yeah, that’s ours,” Ace replied sadly. “That thing got us all the way here from California.”

“Wow,” Sasquatch said in awe. “Well you’re not gonna get much further in that thing if the snows hit. It is November, after all. I'm on my way up to Maine and I have a stop I need to make in New York. How would you guys like to ride in my rig?”

“Bud, what’re you doing?” Santa Claus asked. “You know that’s not allowed.”

“I know, but those kids are terminal. The least I can do is make sure they get up to New York and have the time of their lives.”

The waitress came by to take the orders of the Gangrene Gang. Santa Claus called out, “Ma’am! Their meal’s on me! Those kids need it.”

The waitress looked perplexed. She smiled and then said, “What can I get you kids today?”

“I want five hamburgers!” Big Billy requested joyfully as he patted his gelatinous belly.

“I’ll have what he’s havin’,” Ace said.

“That sounds good,” the waitress said. She looked at Snake and asked, “What can I get for you?”

“Grubber and I wanna split the bottomless steak and fries,” Snake said as Grubber blew a raspberry in agreement.

“And how ‘bout you, hun?” The waitress asked Lil Arturo.

“Do you have any tacos?” Arturo asked.

The waitress looked as though Arturo announced that he wanted to eat a guinea pig.

“Sorry, but we don’t have those here,” the waitress said. “You’re in an American restaurant. And try to speak more clearly. I’ll take your order when I can understand your accent.”

“That’s messed up,” Arturo complained.

“You wanna share a stack of pancakes with me, Arturo?” Angela offered.

“I guess so,” Arturo said as he shrugged his shoulders, still seething over how unfair this place was.

“All right honey, I’ll bring you a stack of pancakes,” the waitress said sweetly. “What flavor would you like?”

“I’ll have buttermilk,” Angela said.

“And what would you like to drink?” The waitress asked as she jotted down Angela’s order.

“If you have those, I’ll have a cappuccino,” Angela requested.

The waitress’s expression turned into one of horror. She bent down and whispered to Angela so as not to be heard by anyone else, “Look here, Missy, we don’t serve those here. Those aren’t American, and so the owner doesn’t put them on the menu. I can have one made for you if you promise not to tell anyone. M’kay?”

“Yes Ma’am,” Angela said sheepishly as her cheeks burned in embarrassment.

Five minutes later, the waitress brought out a steaming hot mug and began walking towards the booth that the Gangrene Gang sat at. She wasn’t more than fifteen feet from the table when the owner showed up.

The owner was a hulk of a man with a head full of white hair, a face full of wrinkles, and torn-up overalls.

“Hold on Meredith,” he said to the waitress. “What is that?”

“It’s just a regular coffee with milk,” the waitress replied meekly. Terror colored her face.

“No, that ain't no coffee with milk,” the owner barked. “That’s a cappuccino. What’d I tell you ‘bout serving anything un-American?” He walked to the center of the dining room and bellowed, “WHO ORDERED THIS CAPPUCINO?!”

The entire restaurant went dead silent. Truckers and tourists alike stopped in the middle of their meals to turn their attention to the red-faced, furious owner

“I'm a hard-workin’ American farmer, and I’ve worked too hard to have anything un-American in my truck stop. We have a little rule ‘round here,” the owner announced dangerously. “Anyone un-American has to lick the bottom of my boot. And believe me, these boots are muddy and nasty from this year’s harvest. So who ordered this foofy un-American drink? Anyone?”

Angela gulped hard. She would’ve gone back home and faced the punishment of her family for running away and stealing from her uncle before licking the bottom of an old farmer’s boot.

No one said a single word. Finally, the waitress pointed over to the table the Gangrene Gang sat at.

“It was them, sir!” The waitress cried. “Please don’t fire me! I was only doing my job! The customer is always right!”

“Hehehe, the customer is always right!” Ace repeated nervously. As a sea of angry faces stared at him and his friends, Ace made a break for it as the rest of his gang (and the rest of the restaurant patrons) followed behind him.

“Those kids ain’t terminally ill!” Santa Claus accused. “After them!”

The Gangrene Gang hopped into the convertible as Grubber fumbled around with the keys. He stuck the key in the ignition and slammed on the gas as they drove away from the angry mob of truckers and good ol’ American tourists.

“Well, we’ll never catch them,” the owner said somberly. “A semi ain't fast enough and my tractor only gets eight miles to the gallon.”

“Yeah, but they’re gonna slide out on a patch of ice or somethin’ sooner or later,” Sasquatch said. “Not to mention there’s a blizzard coming in.”

Of course, the Gangrene Gang didn’t even stop to think about the weather. They couldn’t seem to get out of that truck stop fast enough.


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