Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Food Stories: Custard's Last Stand

In this short story, the unthinkable happens.  A town's worst nightmares are realized.  They question whether life is still worth living.  Don't let the pun in the title fool you; this tale is full of woe and sorrow.  So enjoy!

By D. Reed Kreeme
August 13, 2012

PLAIN PLAINS, IN – Last night, in a controversial and much-debated piece of legislation, the Plain Plains city council passed a law outlawing frozen custard.  The ordinance forbids any sale or ingestion of custard products in the town.  The penalty for violating the new sanction is a thousand dollar fine and up to a month in jail.

The law will be implemented on Monday, August 15, leaving the city’s custard stands little time to close up shop.  It is anticipated that most of the custard sellers will close their doors permanently, although some may begin selling other, legal, products.

            “What has this town come to?” exclaimed Nathan, putting down the newspaper.  “I couldn’t possibly imagine a more useless, inane law.”  He had obviously forgotten about last summer’s illegal honey debacle.
            Nathan shook his head in disbelief.  Then, in a moment of realization, his eyes grew wide.  “No more custard.”  His emotions began to spiral out of control, leaping from sorrow to anger to depression and back to sorrow again, all before settling on a conflated and convoluted mix of disbelief and mourning.
            “I think the only thing to do is drown my sorrows by binging on some delicious custard.”  He paused, as the fact set in that he would never be able to do this again in two days.  Then Nathan began to bawl.
            After recovering after a few minutes of healthy crying, Nathan wiped his eyes.  “Well, I better take advantage of what I can get now.”  With this newfound determination, he set out to buy himself some delectable custard.
            The best thing about Plain Plains was the variety of custard stores.  One could be found at every street corner, but the demand was so high that they all were successful.  The only downside:  it made choosing which custard store to visit a challenge.  However, as Nathan wandered through the downtown area, he noticed that every custard store was already closed.  It seemed that the owners decided to throw in the ice cream scoop immediately upon receiving the bad news.  Nathan went to every shop he could think of, but every single one was closed. 
            Dejected, Nathan began to mope back to his home.  But then he remembered that there was one last stand he hadn’t yet tried:  Cream Dreams, located in the town’s main park.  It was just a small, portable stand, but their custard was to die for.  And it seemed like people might actually die for it, based on the size of the crowd gathered around the stand when Nathan arrived.  Turns out there was one last custard stand still open in their quaint town of silly rules.
            When Nathan was about halfway through the line, a grumbling mumble slowly erupted from the front of the line.  The sighs of disappointment wafted over the rest of the line, carrying with them an unshakeable melancholy.  Cream Dreams had run out of custard.  And now that it was going to be illegal, they would not be able to restock in time to sell more.
            Most large groups of people angered by unfortunate news would form a mob and riot against the people angering them.  Luckily for the custard stand owners, the creamy dessert lovers knew the shop owners were not to blame.  So instead of rioting, the still growing mass of townsfolk hungry for custard decided to form a demonstration.  What’s the difference between rioting and demonstrating?  Absolutely nothing, but let’s give the poor people of Plain Plains a little benefit of the doubt, shall we?
            The custard-deprived masses decided to form a human wall between the remaining custard stand and the officials that would surely come in two days’ time to shut down the fine establishment.  And that is precisely what they did (both the demonstrators and the enforcers of this absurd statute).
            Early Monday morning, after two days of little sleep or food but plenty of camaraderie, the custard defenders awoke to find strangers trying to maneuver their way through the townspeople to get to the custard stand.  Immediately, the throngs of dessert lovers began pushing back, successfully ridding their camp of the interlopers.  But it was only a momentary victory, because the enforcers returned minutes later with backup.  Now it was an even match:  hordes of average citizens who only wanted to have the freedom to eat custard versus the representatives of lawmakers who have too much idle time so they issue edicts of questionable sense and morality.
            To make a short story shorter, both sides fought fiercely.  But in the end, despite the custard protectors’ most valiant efforts, they fell at the villainous hands of the creamy concoction removers.  On that day, August 15, 2012, the quiet town of Plain Plains lost a valuable institution:  custard.  The whole town mourned.
            Except for the lactose intolerant folk.

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