The Author's Note
Where on earth did I get the idea for this story, you may wonder? Not sure. Perhaps it was one of the countless days I went over to my friend's house to find his kitchen TV turned on to one of those absolutely infuriating cooking shows where "the competition is intense" and "the stakes are getting higher!" at all times. Come on. It's food. You cook it, I eat it, maybe you make it look good, but the idea of competing seriously with cooking has always made me laugh—no offense to those of you who enjoy such shows, naturally.
And then the absurd thought struck me, being the World War II freak that I proudly am—if these cooking shows are so far-fetched, why not take them to another level? Or, as I believe Emeril says, "Let's take it up another notch!"
—and bring on the most unlikely of characters. Yes. Hitler, Mussolini, and Stalin. Now that cooking show I would most definitely watch. However, all three of the above are deceased and probably wouldn't be likely to volunteer to be on a show anyway, thus I crave your indulgence for a bit of time travel involved. Hopefully, everything will work out and all the loose ends will clear themselves up—all I can ask is that you don't look too closely at the details of the not-yet-accomplished time travel and have a bit of fun. Enjoy!
Oh, and a hurried note—I am by no means a neo-Nazi, admirer of Hitler, Mussolini, or Stalin, holder of their ideals/beliefs, etc., nor do I intend offense of any group of people. (Actually, communism is kind of cool, but not how Stalin applied it) Any racial/political slurs mentioned here are what I believe the characters would say, so if Stalin repeatedly refers to "the imperialist running dogs" it's his view (actually, technically Mao's), not mine.
Host Bob—Host of Bob's Post-Hoedown Cooking Show. Short, slightly pudgy with straw-colored hair and brown eyes, rather good cook with a taste for square dancing.
Adolf Hitler—Former dictator of the German Reich until 1945, temporarily brought back to life in order to star in Bob's Post-Hoedown Cooking Show. Dark hair, very 1940's haircut, unusual mustache, usually seen in full dress uniform.
Joseph Stalin—Former ruler of the Soviet Union until 1953, temporarily brought back to life in order to star in Bob's Post-Hoedown Cooking Show. Dark complexion, huge, slightly corny yet nonetheless not-at-all-out-of-place-on-the-Show mustache. Rather portly—usually quite grumpy. Has a hard time smiling for the camera.
Benito Mussolini—Former ruler of Italy until 1943, temporarily brought back to life in order to star in Bob's Post-Hoedown Cooking Show. Broad faced, not a lot of hair, also not very photogenic. Has a thing for hats that make him look even balder and enjoys playing the violin.All competitors are accompanied by four of their soldiers at all times. Guest speakers might just come on too. Who knows?
Bob's Post-Hoedown Cooking Show's Interviews with Contestants and Host
(Audience applauds as Host Bob strides out beaming onto stage, upon which are three cooking counters draped with the flags of each contestant instead of the usual Bob's Post-Hoedown Cooking Show one. Gleaming, state-of-the-art ovens stand in the background. The Italian-style tile stage descends via stairs into the expansive wings. Above the stage out of sight of the cameras are the usual networks of microphones and lights.)
Host Bob: Good evening, guys and gals! Welcome to Bob's Post-Hoedown Cooking Show, which is brought to y'all live here tonight from the studio. Woohoo!
Host Bob: Well, y'all are in for a treat tonight, folks. We've got a brand-new program tonight with several guest cooks who're going to compete tonight for Bob's Post-Hoedown Cooking Show's Prize of Honor of wun hun'red thousand dollers. May I present to you the contestants: Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, and Benito Mussolini! Let's have a big "WOOHOO!" for our contestants, c'mon!
(Applause, some scattered "Woohoo"-ing)
Host Bob: So, our first contestant: Adolf—hey, can I call you Al?
Host Bob: K then, just checkin'. So then, Al, what 'xactly are ya making for us tonight?
Hitler: (stiffly) I am making Black Forest Cake for myself.
Host Bob: Alrighty then! Woohoo! Sounds great! So then, Joe, what're you making?
Stalin: (enthusiastically) It's an abstract dessert of my own creation: I call it "Cold Desert Wasteland".
Host Bob: Woohoo! Alrighty then! Sounds great! And you, er...Ben?
Mussolini: (defensively) It's BENITO!
Host Bob: Whoa then, no need to get your weird uniform thing in a twist, buddy. Okay then, so what are you creatin' for us tonight, huh?
Mussolini: (breaks down sobbing) I can't tell you. The audience says it's not modest enough, and the people are everything.
Host Bob: (hands him a Kleenex) Why, sure ya can! C'mon, Ben, what're you making?
Mussolini: Pasta...Pasta el Duce.
(Boos from audience. Mussolini hides as Stalin sniggers loudly. Hitler seems about to but abruptly stops himself and coughs instead)
Host Bob: Alrighty then! Sounds great! Woohoo! So, let's get this show on the road, contestants! You each have your materials, great, so get to your cooking counters and let's get started! Woohoo! Our reporters are coming around to interview the contestants for your benefit, folks, so stay tuned!
German Reporter: So, Mr. Hitler, how do you feel about your chances of winning?
Hitler: I am completely certain that I will win. There is no question. My team is prepared and I'm feeling very confident, and if one of them changes his mind, well…firing squads aren't all that common in this country then or now. Maybe we can change that. (smiles hopefully)
Reporter: What about the other contestants?
Hitler: (shrugs dismissively) Well, Mussolini owes me one after I had him rescued from almost certain death—come on, I hired Otto for his good publicity and nothing else—and he's a bundle of nerves as it is, so he is most definitely out of the picture. Stalin, on the other hand....(grins fanatically)...I have some plans for him.
Reporter: Would you like to tell me about that?
Hitler: I could tell you—but then I'd have to kill you.
Reporter: (glances around nervously) Uh...no, no offense intended. Can you answer this question? Have you, in your short time in the future here, been given access to any...ah...action movies? Current films?
Hitler: I have the right to remain silent.
Reporter: (scratches head) Well, technically as a German citizen you don't—but then again, you're technically dead, so...um...
Hitler: (lower lip trembles) I want a lawyer.
(At the Italian Cooking Section pool. The Italian reporter, his Vespa key dangling from his pen, is seated on the edge of a deck chair while Mussolini dangles his feet in the water.)
Italian Reporter: Ciao, Signor Mussolini. How are you feeling?
Mussolini: Better. Kind of tired. Time travel can be exhausting, you know.
Italian Reporter: What about the competition? Are you nervous?
Mussolini: Perhaps a little. Then again, I haven't had an espresso for…well, technically decades. Wow. (stares at feet) That's depressing. Where's the nearest café?
(Attendant carrying paper tray places Starbucks cup on small table beside reporter's chair and hurries off to the next section, looking irritated)
Italian Reporter: (Indicates the cup) Try that, signor. It's a non-fat whipped caramel mocha with double shots and sprinkles.
Mussolini: (absently) A what? (He picks up the cup, searches briefly for an opening in the top, gives up, opens it, and takes a large swig) AAAAAAHHH! HOT! OWW! HOT! DAMMIT! AAAAAAHH! OWOWOWOWOWOW!!!!
Italian Reporter: Sorry, sir! Here, let me take that! I'm so sorry! Quick, someone get some ice water! Hurry up! Sir, are you all right? I'm—
(At a nearby Russian restaurant. Stalin is sitting alone in a secluded booth with a large bottle of vodka and an upside-down New York Times)
Russian Reporter: Ah, Comrade Stalin! Would you mind—
Stalin: No comment.
Russian Reporter: But can you just tell me how you feel abo—
Stalin: We shall crush them.
Russian Reporter: Adolf Hitler certainly seems convinced that he will win. Do you regard him as a threat?
Russian Reporter: I mean to your chances of winning.
Stalin: No comment.
Russian Reporter: Okay, can you tell me how you feel about Mussolini?
Stalin: (Laughs) You are kidding, yes?
(At Bob's Pre-Cooking Show Hoedown. Bob is seated on a hay bale dressed in his typical cowboy outfit tapping his boots to fast-paced fiddle music. Well-dressed reporter eyes proffered hay bale dubiously and declines Bob's offer, choosing to stand and whipping an iPod with a high-tech recording device attached out of his pocket expertly without mussing his manicured nails.)
Reporter: Ah…hello, Mr.…Bob?
Bob: (happily) Yessiree, that's just fine and dandy by me! Go on, have a seat.
Reporter: No. Thank you. Would you mind answering some questions for me?
Bob: Nope. Fire 'way.
Reporter: (adopting a businesslike tone) Online polls—taken on the Internet. The computer—seem to be revealing the uglier side of your nature, or so fans claim, Mr.….Bob. (brightens and scribbles what he has just said on his notepad, underlining certain passages furiously and circling them several times)
Bob: Just Bob works.
Reporter: (icily) Quite. As I was saying, online polls indicate that fans of Bob's Post-Hoedown Cooking Show are a bit upset by the presence of several guests on your Show, primarily Adolf Hitler. As you know—may know—Hitler was completely responsible for the Holocaust.
(Several teens wearing bright orange T-shirts reading 'ASK ME ABOUT MESSERSCHMITT 262 ENGINE COMPONENTS' wander over in a close pack looking a bit lost, overhear the last sentence, and begin to drool simultaneously)
Orange T-Shirted People As One: WORLD WAR II!!!!!!!!
Bob: Oh, hey, guys an' gals. Hey mister, these are my consultants. Pretty smart bunch 'a kids, huh?
Reporter: (eyes group dubiously) Er…hello?
Orange T-Shirted Girl: (glares at him) You're wrong. Hitler wasn't completely responsible. That was more the SS. Himmler and Heydrich and Eichmann and...
(She begins ranting on and on and is quickly swept back into the group for further discussion. Much nodding and muttering from orange T-shirted group. Looking apprehensive, the reporter smiles vaguely and turns hurriedly back to Bob)
Reporter: Any comments?
Bob: On Himmler…? Never met the guy.
Reporter: (impatiently)No, on what I just said.
Bob: (blankly) What was the question again?
Screen abruptly fades out to black as the reporter opens his mouth again. After several seconds, large pink letters scroll into sight reading, "We're sorry: Bob's Post-Hoedown Cooking Show's Interviews with Contestants and Host is experiencing technical difficulties. Please stayed tuned for further updates.