By David Larson
Kathy turned to her sister, “Katie, Truck Off!”
“Hey, that’s not nice. What did I do to you”?
“I said Truck Off, not what you think I said.”
“I still don’t get it.”
“Look at this notice that I found on the windshield this morning. The city is having a Truck Off during the centennial week, and all food trucks in town are invited to spend the week at the fairgrounds. Each day a truck or trucks will be eliminated until four or five trucks remain. Then one will be selected as the best food truck in town. It’s a playoff for food trucks.”
“Let me see at whatever you have there. You’ve got me curious now.”
Katie and Kathy were known as the Burger Babes, and their truck was called Buxom Burgers and Flirty Fries for the size of their hamburgers, leg-shaped french fries, and two cute girls.
Katie started reading the notice, which listed all the upcoming activities at the cities centennial celebration. Besides rides for the children, musical groups were to play every day, fireworks were planned, and the food trucks were to face off. All entrants would be available to feed the planned attendees on day one. Each day, trucks were to be eliminated until the last day of the event. Then a panel of judges would decide which truck wins the Mayor’s Fork as the best. The winner would show the fork off for the following twelve months as the winner of the Truck Off.
“Kathy, how many food trucks are there in town? Have you ever counted them”?
“I’d guess there must be around a couple dozen. You have our group of four at this construction site, and you have a couple that spend the evening downtown by the bars. There’s always one or two near the college. Plus, there’s the other construction site by the new casino.”
“We need to enter the competition. Wouldn’t it be great to show the fork off”?
“It says here there is an entry fee of $100. We’d have to sell a bunch of burgers to cover that amount of money.”
“Yes, but we will be at the fairgrounds all week, selling. Even if knocked out of the judging, we can still sell. Plus, if you read down, the top two trucks win prize money and the right to tell other trucks to truck off.”
“Let’s go see if the others here are entering the Truck Off.”
The girls usually parked with three other trucks near a massive construction project. Each of the four trucks offered different foods. Gerties Gyros sold gyros, while Bob’s Kabobs featured various meats and veggies on a stick. The fourth truck was run by Gus and called Gopher A Sandwich. Katie would occasionally ask Gus how much meat an individual gopher has.
Gus, who didn’t have much of a sense of humor, would always answer, “There is no gopher meat. It means to go for a sandwich, I keep telling you that.” His truck featured BLT’s, PB&J’s, grilled cheese, Rubens, and others.
Kathy gathered the three truck owners, who also had the notice. “We’re going to enter, which means we may not be here that week. So if you three stay, you’ll have the extra business.”
Gertie, a cantankerous older woman, disliked the burger babes. “You boobalas are not going to win an actual food competition. This won’t be like the wet t-shirts contests you usually participate in. You’ll actually have to have edible food, and I have the experience and recipes to win something like this.”
Bob liked the girls to the point of tattooing one of them on each of his forearms. He felt guilty about tattooing them nude, so he always tried to be helpful when asked. “You three ladies don’t realize how many different things can be done with kabobs. I’m going to enter also. May the best man win.”
Gertie replied, “Don’t you mean the best woman”?
Three truck owners looked at Gus. “You three go and make fools of yourselves. I can’t make a hoagie or Monte Cristo different enough to win. So I’ll stay here and enjoy the extra business. My daughters will be out of school that week; I’ll bring them to help count the money.”
Looking at the girls, Gertie asked, “Do you two even have the $100 entry fee? Or are you planning on working the pole at the strip club for the money”?
Tired of being accused of being strippers, Kathy replied, “Gertie, we don’t work at strip clubs nor enter wet t-shirt contests. I bet you didn’t know that I can research history at the library. Do you remember the summer of 1984 when the police raided that pleasure bus owned by a limo company? If I remember correctly, several women were arrested for prostitution. I would bet you could increase your business if I posted that picture near your truck.’
“Kathy, let’s go online for some ideas on how to win this thing. And check if any of the judges will be men. You may not like to flirt, but I do; I can bat my eyelashes and pat my butt and purr like a cat. That should earn us some brownie points.”
“Let me study at that flyer again. So I can precisely see what the trucks will be judged on. I doubt flirting will be considered.”
“Okay, Miss Smarty Pants, one of the categories is service. We can win for our service. You remember the waitress’s trick to touch the customer’s hand or shoulder; that always brings home bigger tips.”
“I’m glad you said tips. I was afraid you’d try to wear a push-up bra again. The last time you wore one, it almost pushed your boobs up and out. Some guy thought you had stuck a couple hamburger buns on your chest to keep them warm.”
“Well, pardon me for trying for attention. Another of the categories is creativity. Cutting our fries to look like legs is creative, and adding antacids to the meat to prevent heartburn is creative. If I think about it, I’ll come up with a couple more ideas.”
“That’s what I am concerned with. The fairgrounds will be full of families and not our usual clientele of construction workers. You can’t call the curlies fries pubic fries when children are around.”
“How about you coming up with ideas for a change.”
“Okay, I’m not creative like you. But I still think using chocolate syrup instead of ketchup is a winning idea. What are the other criteria”?
“We might be okay in the category of visual appeal, we are cute, and that should count for something.”
“I think they mean the appeal of the truck and signage. Maybe even our website. We can’t afford to have the van repainted to remove all the obscene graffiti, so we’ll have to try to cover it up as best we can. We have to remember not to use watercolors in case it rains. Are there any other categories for judging”?
“The last three are the quality of the food, daily sales, and ROLF reviews.”
“Our food is good. I forget what are ROLF reviews”?
“That’s a local website where people give their opinion of various eateries. ROLF stands for ‘Ratings Online of Local Foods.’ We can ask our regular customers to give us rave reviews if we flirt with them.
“I wonder if our sisters are entering, those two will put a stripper pole outside the truck if it gets them better ROLFs”?
“I’ll call them and ask.”
The burger babes two older sisters run a food truck on the other side of town called Sexy Sausage and Fresh Buns. The sisters had agreed to work on different sides of town to avoid sisterly squabbles.
Kim, are you and Kylie entering your truck into the Truck Off”?
“This is Kim. Who’s calling”?
“You know who I am. You’re just mad because we can sell fries and hash browns while you are stuck with potato holes.”
“They are called tater tots. You’re thinking of the doughnut holes that are making you fat. Anyway, the tasting contest was rigged; you bribed mom to decide in your favor.”
“So, it had nothing to do with you needing ketchup to cover up the oil in the holes”?
“Okay, let’s be civil. Why are you calling”?
“Katie and I are entering the burger truck in the Truck Off contest. Will your truck be there also”?
“If your entering, we’re entering. We should have a little side bet to sell fries while you peddle the tots. Are you game”?
“We’ll take that bet as long as you two wear bras and regular shorts. There will be families in attendance all week, and they don’t need for you to display your massive T & A.”
“It sounds like you are concerned about us outselling you with the men who attend. I heard you added your bra size to the menu as sliders. Will you rename the D Cup burger the Kim burger and the C Cup as the Kylie”?
“Have you had implants in your derriere also? That would mean your buns aren’t actually fresh as they have more filler than the wieners you peddle.”
“Oh, aren’t you testy today? How about this, if we win, you name something on your truck after us, and if we win, we’ll rename the ‘pigs in blankets’ after you two.”
“Then I guess we’ll rename our plastic drink cups after you two. The 32 ounce will be the Kylie, and the 64 ounce will be the Kim.
“Bring it on, sis. We’ll be waiting.”
The burger babes were home on their day off, hoping to develop a plan for the contest.
“Kim, the local newspaper listed the food trucks who signed up to compete in the Truck Off. I’m unfamiliar with half of these trucks. I’ll read off the names, and we can guess what kind of food they sell.”
Gerties Gyros sells Greek pita bread sandwiches.
Bob’s Kabobs, and Bob’s menu is easy to figure out.
Norweigan Lutefisk Tacos. Do you have any idea what lutefisk is? I don’t.
Pudding Potpourri. This must be a dessert truck.
Russel’s Sprouts has to be a salad truck.
The Spam Ma’am. This truck could be trouble if there is a big Hawaiian community in the area.
Corn Cobblers. How many different ways can you serve corn on the cob?
Pull Your Pork. Pulled port sandwiches are always a favorite; they could be a contender.
Chicken Cordon Chews. I’ll go out on a limb and say they make chicken chunks.
Lookie, It’s A Cookie; this could be a contender. You can make dozens of different cookies.
Squid Pot Pie. Wouldn’t Calamari Citchen be a better name unless they really do a pot pie with squid? Or is Squid the name of the guy who runs the truck”?
Bootilicious Burritos. I can’t figure out if the burrito is sexy or the seller.
Harry’s Pie on a Stick. How does he keep the pie from falling apart on a stick?
Deviled Egg Foo Tongue. I don’t even want to think about this one.
And we already know what our dear sisters and we sell. That’s sixteen entries. The story says the winner gets half of the entry money while the runner-up takes 25%. Trucks will be eliminated daily based on sales until four are left on Friday. Then the judges will decide who is the champion.”
“Does it say who will be doing the judging”?
“It looks like a few local celebrities. You have a celebrity chef impersonater, Emerald LaGasse, local rapper Shaved Ice Flo, and food critic Butterball Turk.”
“I’m unaware of them. If we can’t come up with specialty burgers, we’ll have to depend on daily sales and excellent service.”
“Kathy, I need for you to try being creative. You’re good with the operations part of the business, but now we need to brainstorm some burger ideas. Say anything that comes to mind.”
“We’ve never done a pizza burger; what do you think”?
That’s great. Mozzarella, pizza sauce, and we could add pepperoni bits to the sauce. What would you think about using a sausage patty instead of hamburger”?
“I like it. I just saw a commercial for pineapple on pizza; we could add that to our burger also.”
“No, but what if we add a slice of fruit to our regular burgers instead of cheese. What do you say we try out a citrus burger with slices of lemons and oranges. Or we try different cheeses. We could use that really smelly cheese and play around with a cute name, like a LimBurger.”
“That is cute, but it’s tight quarters in the van on hot days. Do we really want to add stinky cheese to the funk we already have”?
“If we don’t come up with anything else, we may have to try it one day. I just thought of something. They deep fry everything at fairs; how about we take our sliders in the bun, batter dip them, and deep fry them.”
“To do that, we’d have to drop the potatoes from the menu. We only have one frier.”
“We’ve done poutine before. That way, we can use the existing cheese and fries and put the burger bits that we usually discard into the cheese sauce. If you remember, it did okay the time we tried it. Who else in the group of entries will be catering to the Canuks.”
“How many bottles of the antacid do we have left. We can promote heartburn-free food if we have enough to mix in with everything.”
“I’m not sure; the last time we mixed in the antacid, we got questionable reviews about our customers pee turning green. Can you image some kid peeing his pants and his mother finds his undies green?”
“Maybe we could use a different antacid”?
“We’d have to buy another. Remember, we got the Tagamet for free when my ex left all his samples in the apartment.”
“You’re right; let’s use what we have. Any kid that eats a burger will tell their friends to have one, so they can compare the color of their whizz.”
“Let’s go to the store for supplies. Tomorrow morning we go win the Truck Off.”
Buxom Burgers pulled into the parking lot at eight the following day, and they joined five other trucks. Once all the trucks had arrived, the Truck Off coordinator had all teams assemble for instructions.
“I’m Loudon Bridges. I’ll be your contact during the five days of the competition. I’m passing around a parking chart for the fairgrounds. We will draw in a couple minutes for placement. Eight locations are indicated on the map; two trucks will be at each site. I have two teams of secret shoppers who will stop by each van to check on service and food. They may or may not eat, but they will talk with your customers.
We will gather here later to eliminate three trucks from the competition. We will give you a cash box with a predetermined amount of cash to make change. The teams with the fewest sales will be eliminated. However, those teams will be allowed to stay on the fairgrounds all week. You can still sell product and make money, but it won’t count in the Truck Off. The secret shoppers will grade you on the menu’s food quality, service, and uniqueness in case of a tie. Trucks will be eliminated each day until Friday, when the last four trucks will be judged by the original criteria. The guest judges will then make the final decision. Any questions? Okay, each team, come and pull a number from the hat. That will be where you set up for day one. Sell until 7 PM, and then we all meet back here. Today is senior citizen day. They will be asking for samples and may take extra napkins, condiments, etc. They may seem innocent but watch them. Good luck.”
Kylie drew first, getting position six near the bandstand. They left to start prepping. Kathy drew next to last and got position five, next to their sisters.
As Katie drove up, something became apparent. “Kathy, I believe our sisters have decided to go into stripper mode. We asked that they wear a bra, but I thought they’d be wearing a shirt also. And those shorts have their butt cheeks hanging out. They must have changed clothes while we were still drawing our position.”
“Well, if it isn’t our little sisters. Kim, don’t they look like they were dressed by nuns”.
“You two need to add a stripper pole to the back of your truck. I’d bet if one of you fell off the pole, landing chest first, you’d bounce right back up. You agreed to wear bras and regular shorts.”
“As you can see, we are wearing bras, and these are the shorts we wear regularly. It’s not our fault you give off a cute and innocent vibe while we are sexy and dangerous. Go salt your fries with your tears.”
“Oh yeah, why don’t you two, go, er, to, er, just go.” Many local retirement communities brought busloads of senior citizens to the fairground. Women with their husbands pulled the men away for the Sexy Sausage truck. Single men kept sticking dollar bills into Kim and Kylie’s bra and panties before buying a hot dog. The couples and single women gravitated to the burger truck. It was soon noticeable that the burgers were outselling sausages three to one. Both trucks closed their service window at seven before the sisters spoke again.
“Kathy and I will be telling Mr. Bridges that most of the money in your cash box is not from selling wieners, and it shouldn’t be counted as food sales. Let’s go find out how we did.”
Once all 16 trucks arrived, Louden Bridges took the cash boxes to total up each van’s sales.
“Truckers, I have the results of day one of the Truck Off. Today’s top seller was the Spam Ma’am. Congratulations, you narrowly outsold the Corn Cobblers. Now the bad news. Squid Pot Pie, you not only sold very little, and the ROLF reviews said your food was mostly crust with rubbery mystery globs. Russel, did you forget that people want dressing to go with their Sprouts”?
“No, I didn’t forget out the dressing. You were right; I turned my back to the seniors, and they grabbed every packet I had for actual customers. Next year I’ll have a security guard.”
“I’m sorry, but I did warn you. The other truck being eliminated today is Deviled Egg Foo Tongue. Most people couldn’t figure out what your menu was. Were you selling deviled eggs, Chinese food, or stir-fried cow tongue? You three are welcome to come back tomorrow. You will be assigned spots near the row of Pee & Poop Potties. In the morning, we will draw for parking spots once again. Go stock up and come back tomorrow.”
The burger babes pulled in the parking lot and up next to their sister’s truck.
“Kylie, how are you dressing today, leather and lace”?
“Kathy, you were always a bit of a smart ass. We can admit when we screwed up. We didn’t realize so many senior citizens would be here yesterday, nor how many listen to their wives. Those women bad-mouthed us on ROLF. So today, we have modified business suits.”
“Katie and I didn’t expect you two to be wearing slacks, a sport coat, a white shirt, and a tie. All that’s missing are black horn-rimmed glasses on a lanyard. Oh, there they are. Putting your hair up in buns is a nice touch; you look like librarians selling little wieners. Good luck with that.”
“You two are dressed a bit more suggestive today. Polo shirts with all three buttons undone. If you two could produce some decent cleavage, you might have a chance for sales.”
The burger babes were much happier with today’s parking spot draw. They got spot number two, next to the Norweigian Lutefisk Taco truck. The sausage girls would be sharing a spot near the roller coaster with Getie’s Gyros.
Day two of the Centennial Celebration was Salute to the Military Day. Once the gates opened, hundreds of current armed forces and veterans overran the fairgrounds. The majority of them were men looking for attractive women to hit on. Trucks operated by those women were quickly overrun with male customers.
Buxom Burgers, Bootilicious Burritos, Lookie It’s A Cookie, and Pull Your Pork all had attractive women who attracted attention. The girls at Sexy Sausage were snubbed while Gertie tried but failed to help Kim and Kylie’s spirit.
“Ladies, remember this is a five-day competition. You should have done well yesterday with the older women, like us. You might want to change your truck’s name from sexy to sensible. I’ve been doing this for years; remember, the slow and steady succeed and not the fast and loose.”
As the trucks gathered after shutting down, all four sisters sat together.
“Kim, did someone come by and shoot bunnies out their back end. How did you get along with Gertie”?
“Sis, we didn’t think today would have so many young guys in attendance. We heard some say Gertie was our more youthful sister. Don’t tell me you did well.”
“I can picture Gertie as your younger, 50-year-old sister. Did you two fill up your Depends today”?
“Kathy, laugh all you want; we were outsmarted today. Tomorrow is family day, with children under 12 being admitted for free. We’ll clean up tomorrow.”
Louden Bridges called the trucks to attention. “Truckers, today was a winning day for several of you, and we will bid goodbye to three more trucks. Congratulations to burrito chicas, as your burritos were muy buscades.
Now comes the time for three to be dropped from the competition. I’m sorry that Bob’s Kabobs are now kaput. Several reviews said they enjoyed playing with the skewers. While Bootilicious Burritos enjoyed success today, Norweigian Lutefisk Tacos didn’t. ROLF reviews said your food tasted like fishy jello. And I’m sorry, but Pudding Pot Pourri is also leaving. Maybe you should have had spoons for your customers. It wasn’t pretty watching people try to lick pudding from a cup.
“We had spoons that went missing during the night. I’d like to check the remaining trucks for our spoons.”
“I’m sorry pudding people, every truck will have spoons. It was your mistake. We have ten trucks still competing, and tomorrow we will see three more eliminated.”
Day three’s draw for parking spots found Kathy and Katie next to their older adversary, Gertie. Kim and Kylie were next to Chicken Cordon Chews.
“Gertie, you may not care for Katie and me, but we have always respected you. Can we be civil to each other today”?
“It’s too bad you aren’t more like your sisters. They dress and act like professionals; you two boobalas could do the same.”
Katie commented, “Professional hookers, you mean. You think we’re strippers, and they are proper ladies. I’d bet they’re wearing bikinis today, like kids doing a charity car wash. You need to check your glasses.”
“The only thing I need to do is outsell you today, and I’d bet your sisters will do also.”
The burger sisters and Gertie were parked near the exhibition hall. Children were swarming the centennial. The sausage girls and the chicken chews were next to the kiddy rides, like the merry-go-round.
“Katie, we have a problem. Our deep fryer won’t heat up. We may have blown a fuse. Would you go check the fuse box?”
“Is everything else working? There is a missing fuse, and I don’t think we have a spare.”
“How do we lose a fuse. They can’t just pop out and run off. The grill and refrigerator are working. But with no fryer, there are no fries for sandwiches or poutine.”
“Do you think someone took the fuse? Who would do that? Do we ask Gertie if she has an extra”?
“She wouldn’t give us anything. Go find our sisters; maybe they will have an extra, or else we’re screwed today.”
Kathy took off in the direction of calliope music and went to the service window of her sister’s van.
“Kim, we have lost a fuse, so we can’t use our fryer. Do you two have an extra we could have”?
“You have a lot of nerve asking for help. You must have opened our propane tanks up last night, so we are out of gas. We have no refrigeration today, and most of our sausages are spoiled. We’re going to protest to anyone and everyone we can protest to.”
“Why would we ruin your chances to win? We want to beat you fair and square; you’re the ones who play tricks. Where is our fuse”?
“We know you couldn’t beat us in a fair contest. Who else hates you enough to sabotage your truck? And for that matter, who would sabotage us also”?
“Wait a second. If I stand on my tiptoes, will I notice you are not wearing underwear”?
“We have on flesh color bikini bottoms. We want to make sure we sell all the men who come by today.”
“You two are disgusting. Why can’t you just try to win without tricks”?
“Well, we can’t win if someone emptied our gas tanks.”
“Oh gart, I realize who.”
“What’s a gart”?
“It’s a fart caused by a gyro. Gertie hates us, and she was parked next to you yesterday; she’s next to us today. She’s afraid of both of our trucks. We’ll give you our spare propane tank for your spare fuse. We’ll have a late start to the day, but at least we can sell something.”
The sets of sisters made the trade and got working hours late.
“Gertie, you’ve made it clear you don’t like us but stealing our fuses and emptying the gas on our sister’s truck is dirty. I hope you are proud of winning by cheating.”
“Kathy, what are you talking about? You don’t open for half the day and think I did something.”
“I had to be you. You parked next to our sisters yesterday and today next to us. You don’t like any of us, even if you think Kim and Kylie are good girls.”
“They don’t fool me; they’re strumpets. If their propane tank is empty, that only spares them from melting silicone while working the grill. If you four lose today, you weren’t family-friendly. Besides, my two-day-old food is better than your fresh cooked roadkill.”
At seven, the remaining trucks gathered to see who would advance in the Truck Off. Once the cash boxes had been counted, Mr. Bridges announced the results.
“Today was a great day for the dessert trucks. Lookie It’s A Cookie; do you have anything left in your van? Today’s total was the highest of any day so far. Congratulations. Now the bad news. It seems the family attendees avoided our sexier trucks. Buxom Burgers, Sexy Sausage, and Bootilicious Burritos have been eliminated. Tomorrow the seven remaining trucks will compete for the last four spots in the contest. Are there any comments or questions”?
“Yes, Bootilicious Burritos would like to make a complaint.Our truck was sabotaged last night, and we had no power this morning. Somehow our solar panels were disconnected, and all our power was lost. We didn’t have any power until about one this afternoon, so we request a redo of today.”
“Katie and I would also like to join the complaint. We found a fuse missing this morning, so our fryer wouldn’t work. And our sausage sisters had their propane tanks emptied. Someone has deliberately hurt the chances of the three of us to win. What are you going to do about this”?
“Ladies, the Truck Off committee can’t be responsible for you not protecting your trucks. Do you even know if the so-called problems were caused here at the fairgrounds? Or where you park the trucks at night”?
The women of the three ousted trucks looked at each other and just shrugged.
Day four started with the burrito, burger, and sausage truck parking with the others who lost previously. Today was college day as any student with a valid ID got in for free. This turned out to be a massive day for sales for the three trucks.
The burrito girls wore one-piece swimsuits, showing plenty of side boob. The sausage sisters wore hot pants and tight tanktops. Kathy and Katie were cute while wearing their polo shirts and cargo shorts. But they were still giving off sex appeal.
Frat boys openly debated which truck had the hottest women. Unfortunately for the burger girls, they usually were the least favorite.
The four sisters went to the daily elimination even out of the competition.
“Truckee’s, unfortunately, three more terrific trucks will be eliminated. Today’s top sales went to Harry’s Pie On A Stick; I am told your frozen, chocolate-covered key lime pie got raves. Now the bad news, day one winner, The Spam Ma’am, had no appeal today with college kids. And Corn Cobblers, what happened? You finished dead last.”
The cobbler spoke up, “Yesterday, a couple trucks said they felt they had been sabotaged. I think someone got into our truck and replaced our butter with soft, white cheese. Nobody wants corn on the cob without butter. We would like to go on tomorrow and prove we can win.”
“I’m sorry, corn people, but your chance has popped.”
Hissing was heard from several truck owners.
“The third truck to exit today is Chicken Cordon Chews. The comments we received said your nuggets were chewy. Or, as the French say, moelleux. All of you are welcome to come back tomorrow to sell and watch as we have a winner of the Mayor’s Fork.”
“The Chicken Cordon Chews would like to protest also. Somehow our oven temperature gauge was messed with. We thought we were cooking at one temperature while the oven was much hotter. We didn’t realize the chews were tough until mid-day, and we got the oven corrected.”
“People, as I’ve said in the past, we can’t be responsible for problems that happen. Come back tomorrow, sell, and find out who gets Forked and prize money.”
Katie and Kathy looked at each other. “Who’s left in the competition besides Gertie”?
“Katie, two dessert trucks and Pull Your Pork are still alive. There’s something wrong with this contest. Who is so desperate to win they would undermine several of our chances to win”?
“We don’t know those three trucks, but we know Gertie. Is she nasty enough and desperate enough, and petty enough to hurt others’ chances to win”?
“I just realized something about the trucks that claimed dirty tricks knocked them out of the contest.”
“Wait, who got knocked up”?
“That’s funny. I hope you aren’t talking about yourself. How many of the trucks eliminated were run by women, hot women? You and I are attractive. I hate to admit it, but our sisters are more seductive than us. The burrito babes, the chicken chicks, and the pudding cats can fill out a blouse. The corn and Spam trucks are run by middle-aged women.
“Okay, let’s examine the four remaining trucks. We know how Gertie feels about us. Pull You pork is run by that hefty old guy covered with bar-b-que sauce; and his cute daughter. Lookie It’s A Cookie is owned by the fat baker and his chubby wife. The owner of Harry’s Pie on a Stick is a mystery.The girls who work the counter are still in high school and have braces. They can’t be smart enough to understand the inner workings of food trucks.”
“Let’s think about this tonight. I don’t want to sell tomorrow. Let’s ask Kim and Kylie to help watch the four trucks. Maybe we can catch one of the trucks red-handed.”
The sausage sisters were upset enough to help the burger babes watch the four remaining trucks.
“Kathy, we are losing money by not selling today. Who do you think is guilty of screwing us over”?
“Kim, I don’t like that we are losing money also, but if we can show the contest is rigged, we can sue.”
“Okay, who do you think is doing the screwing”?
“You are so predictable; you always go to the gutter. Here’s what we know. Gertie hates both you two and us; she is probably jealous she lost her looks”.
“I think Gertie liked us; she was impressed by how professional we looked when next to her truck.”
“When you were gone, she called you strumpets and thought you were professional like a high-priced hooker. She thinks Katie and I keep the truck in business by working a stripper pole and entering wet t-shirt contests.”
“That only proves she is insane. The barbeque guy has a better rack than either of you. And I’m not talking about his smoker.”
“Enough, we need to work together. The cookie couple sells out almost every day. I mean, who doesn’t like cookies? I don’t think they need to cheat. We’ve never seen the pie guy, just the two kids who work his truck. But high schoolers can be devious, so I can’t rule them out. Mr. barbeque is too big to climb around in some of the trucks. Yet, you can smell the smoke and sauce wherever he’s been. We need to ask the others if they remember his smell in their trucks.”
Katie spoke up, “Is it possible two of the remaining vans are working together. There’s $1200 in prize money, and if they finish one and two, they could split the money. They won’t know how the judges will vote, but they would each be guaranteed $600 if the other two trucks are eliminated.”
“Kim is right. She always said you two got the brains while we got the bodies.”
The four sisters drew from a hat to see who would be watching which truck. They agreed to text the others of anything odd happening.
Kim found a spot to watch Gertie without being noticed. Katie watched the pie truck while Kathy watched the cookie people, and Kylie got the pork truck.
Once in place, Kim texted Kylie, “Are you hitting on the barbeque guy yet”?
“I hope you aren’t sampling the pies; your butt is large enough for two already.”
“Girls, let do what we are supposed to do. Only text if you notice something unusual.”
“Like Katie trying to make her ass look smaller”?
Within minutes of the final day of cooking, teams were complaining. The cookie truck said their truck was overrun with ants, and Harry’s Pie said their cooling system was out. The barbeque truck started claiming sabotage loudly. Loudon Bridges was seen speaking to Bobby and Barbie of Pull Your Pork. All three wrinkled their noses with Bridges just shaking his head as if to say, sorry. Gertie didn’t seem to have any problems.
When the bell sounded to bring food to the judges, all four teams presented their products. The judges tried the pulled pork dinner, including baked beans and cornbread. After a taste, they gave the meal four stars out of ten.
Chef impersonator LaGasse said the bread and beans were perfect, but the meat tasted like insecticide. Barbeque Bob loudly said someone had switched their hickory wood in the smoker for creosote-soaked logs. Barbie apologized for the chemical taste of the pork, adding that she agreed it tasted terrible.
Gertie presented a specialty gyro with fish for the meat and two kinds of cheese, and three kinds of lettuce and tomatoes. Food truck critic Turk announced Gertie’s gyro sandwich got nine points out of ten.
The cookie bakers brought one cookie to the judging table. It was a unique cookie with pecans, walnuts, and mint-flavored chocolate chips. Rapper Shaved Ice announced they earned six stars for the one cookie and that points were taken off for entering just one. They apologized for throwing out five other varieties due to the ants.
Harry’s Pie on a Stick brought a bowl with melted Key Lime pie, and the judges had to eat the dessert with a spoon. After a discussion, Harry’s earned one star. LaGasse said that the pie was excellent, but they were downgraded since it wasn’t on a stick.
Loudon Bridges announced Gertie’s Gyros won the Truck Off and would receive the Mayor’s Fork. Immediately the other three finalists claimed Gertie had sabotaged them and most likely sabotaged other trucks during the week.
Mayor Hoppie Hopenstance spoke with the judges and Loudon Bridges, then announced. “Gertie Gyro’s has been disqualified for treachery to undermine the chances of her opponents. Lookie It’s A Cookie is the winner.”
Before he could take the Fork off a chain around his neck and give it to the cookie people, Kathy and Katie rushed to the front.
“Mr. Mayor, Gertie did not do anything to hurt the chances of the others in the Truck Off, and we can prove it.”
“You girls have the burger truck; why should I not give a fork to the bakers”?
“Because one of the others did the dirty work to make Gertie look guilty. We don’t get along with her, so this is not something we want to do. Please follow us.”
Kathy led the four finalists, the three judges, the mayor, and Bridges. While walking, Kathy filled in what she hoped was true.
“The pork smoker was here all-night. The railroad tye of a log had to have been exchanged for the regular wood after most people left yesterday. Creosote is an oily substance that is not easy to clean. And it is potentially harmful if the chemicals that make it up are ingested. The person or persons who changed the logs could have killed someone. Why would the pork people taste their food and potentially harm themselves?
Harry’s Pie on a Stick lost all their ice and refrigeration. It was lucky that they could scoop up enough pie to present it to the judges. They knew that there was no way to win if Gertie was disqualified. As their entry was not what was to be entered for judging.
Everyone now turned to the Lookie It’s A Cookie truck. The truck owners quickly spoke, “All but one of our cookies were covered with bug spray, and our entry cookie was still in the car, so it wasn’t contaminated by the bugs.”
“Mr. Mayor and Mr. Bridges, my sisters, and I were watching all four of the final four trucks to see if we could spot any funny business. I watched the cookie people and saw them enter the truck. Once they started screaming there were bugs, they started spraying the inside of the truck. They threw out the cans of bug spray into this trash can. Come look and see.”
“Young lady, I do see the cans of spray; this only proves they had to spray the bugs.”
“That’s right, sir, but do you see any cookies that have been thrown away? I also saw them bring a container of cookies out of their car, and those were the cookie submitted for judging. If there were no cookies in the truck, they used the bug spray so people would think there were bugs. I doubt there are any cookies in the trash. I would also look deeper into the trash for gloves stained with creosote. They made it seems as if Gertie was the saboteur.”
“Young lady, that’s impressive. Mr. Bridges and I need to confer.”
When the discussion ended, Louden Bridges took the stage. “It has been decided that Lookie It’s A Cookie is disqualified. The mayor has also revoked their license to operate in this town. None of the three finalists will be declared a winner since two could not show their skills. We will, however, divide the prize money up three ways. The mayor will wait until next year to give a fork.”
Gertie looked at Kathy and Katie, “I still don’t like you two but thank you for keeping me from being disqualified. You owe me some money since I shouldn’t have split the prize money. Also, I should have been forked. See you Monday.”
Bio: Dave Larson is best known for his research and writing on professional baseball in the early 1900s. His work has been published by SABR in journals and online. Burger Babes Truck Off is his third story for The Yard: Crime Blog. His other stories include, Buxom Burgers and Flirty Fries, along with Crash and Dash. He lives in the Orlando, FL. area.