Cook Punch Bang

by Tristan J Nankervis

My name is Tony, and I'm going to drink beer and fight people.

Lousy Order of Punchin' Chefs. More like... the Order of Stupid Chefs. My tiramisu was the best fuckin' tiramisu since that time Tara Mei-Soo had made tiramisu on the planet Terra May Sue! I mean, sure, I mashed that guy's eyes with his potato masher, but that nothing to do with my fuckin' exquisite dessert! It was no reason to fail me and mark me invalid! Now I can't become a chef! I'm blacklisted forever!

Dad was pissed. I'd grown up listening to him babble on about how he grew up listening to Pop babble on about how he grew up listening to my great-grandfather babble on about how he managed to bring the Order into existence by punchin' the right dude in the right place. Since then, my family has held the power in the Order. Pop is the current Head Chef of the Order, and Dad is a member of the Elite Punchers Of Dudes. He's punched hundreds of enemies of the Order into submission. If I didn't grow up to be a somebody in the Order, something wasn't in order right.

I looked down at the shiny white buttons that held my cook's suit together. The ceremony would have been now. My Dad would have proudly handed me my Chef shirt, with shiny black buttons. I snapped my head back up, in case anyone thought I was looking at my crotch.

That's when I heard him.

"Three beers," he said, taking a seat next to me.

I looked at him in surprise.

"You gonna drink three beers on your own?" I asked incredulously. He was a twiggy little bastard, his ballet costume hugging his stick figure, uh, figure tightly. His tutu looked like it could fit around my wrist. His face was a mess of childishly scrawled make-up. He smiled.

"No, I'm gonna share 'em with the big invisible bunnies with me," he replied cheekily.

"Oh, I am very much not in the mood for one of you fuckers," I said, taking a swig of my beer.

"One of what fuckers?" asked the man politely.

"Fuckers trying to piss me off. There are too many of you out there," I said.

"My name's King," said the man, offering his hand.

"Tony," I said, shaking his hand.

"Do you want to fight?" asked King suddenly.

I choked on my beer.

"Uh, what?"

"Oh, not me," said King conversationally. "It's just when I'm in a bad mood, I like to get drunk and start bar fights. I was wondering if you wanted to join in."

I looked him up and down. Like I said, the guy was a stick figure. I trained day and night with some of the best Dude Punchers in the Order. I've seen most of the techniques and mastered a few myself. I reckoned I could get this guy on the ground in one punch.

"Why would you do that?" I asked.

"Makes me feel better. Here, watch."

King downed the last of his beer, and smashed the bottle on the head of the nearest chef.

"The fork?!" cried the chef. I'd seen him around the Punchin' Arenas a few times. His name was Alvise. I'd seen him smash a stale fruitcake with his bare forehead. Worse, he had a hell of a temper. I've seen him smash a cook's nose into a brick wall for writing 'a lot' as one word.

Alvise stared at King for precisely one second. He then grabbed a barstool and brought it down on King's head. King blocked the stool, letting it shatter over his arm, then casually punched Alvise in the face.

Alvise was six foot two. Alvise was build like a brick shithouse. Alvise smashed fruitcake with his forehead. Alvise was out cold on the bar-room floor.

The bar was silent for a second. Everyone stared at King. He took a swig of his second beer.

"Still not drunk. Oh well." King took a breathe. "ALL CHEFS SECRETLY WANNA BE COAL MINERS!"

This inspired a reaction.

A tall and lanky chef swung her fist at King. King grabbed her hand and flipped her into a dude coming up behind him, bowling over three people at once. He then elbowed the guy coming from the other direction in the face, destroying the guy's nose.

"What the flaming fork?" I recognised the voice behind me. My former master, the man who booted me from the Order. He was staring, aghast, at King, who was flinging about a body like a flail. He ran over to assist his men, his face grim with determination -

- and tripped over my extended foot.

My master looked up at me. His eyes narrowed.

"Tony."

"Hello, Master."

"You don't get to call me that!" he spat.

"I'm sorry, Leslie."

"Why are you defending this fool? He's not one of us."

"Neither am I, remember? Maybe I like him better, anyway."

Leslie raised an eyebrow. "He's only been in this room for, like, five minutes tops."

"Which should say something about how I feel about you!" I snarled.

"Very well," My former master said as he stood up. "If this is what it has come to, then let it - "

He didn't get the chance to finish because I threw him out of a window.

I turned to King, who was currently piled under about half a dozen dudes. I charged, pointing my head at the target. I put all my fury, all my anger, every negative feeling I'd had lately into my skull, and pointed it at the dudes on top of my new friend.

When I collided, the dog-pile exploded. As in literally, a fireball extended out, consuming all in it's path. The force from the explosion pushed all the bodies out of the way, as it worked it's way through the room. Glass shattered as it came into contact with physics. Glass mugs, glass shelves, glass jaws, all basically collapsed.

King was on his back in the middle of a huge black ring, his tutu slightly aflame. He looked around the room, surveying the damage. Men and women were strewn throughout the bar, which itself was on fire. Alcohol dripped off every surface, though to be fair to me that tends to happen on Friday nights. King looked up at me and smiled.

"You're pretty good. Want to rob a bank?"