The Book of Refreshments


Chapter 3 – Tacomania

Describing the thoughts and travels of the Master, and how he came to be bruised in many places.

Verses 1 through 12

1. The Master looked upon the crowd as they were locked in throes of a great conflagration and spoke to them.

2. There once was a maker of tacos called Juan. He was very successful in his home town of Santo Poco and was well known for making the best tacos in the land. Sadly, all the lands around Santo Poco were struck with a horrible blight that caused the tortillas to wilt on the vine and made them unsuitable for harvest.

3. So Juan and his family travelled far to the north, to a land where tacos were few and far between, and there he opened a small taco stand to feed those who hungered for tacos.

4. The customers came to the stand, and among them was one named Rafael. His grandparents also came from the lands to the south, and he was widely considered to be an expert on all things taco. Rafael examined the menu quite closely and proclaimed “That’s not a taco. A ‘real’ taco contains cheese, lettuce, beef or chicken, diced tomatoes, and hot sauce within a crunchy corn or soft flour taco shell.”

5. And Rafael turned and left the taco stand without partaking of Juan’s tacos.

6. Seeing that Rafael had snubbed the taco stand, the customers also examined the menu and agreed that the tacos sold at the stand were not real tacos, and then they also left.

7. Juan’s hart was heavy with sorrow, and his shelves were full of unsold tacos.

8. But there were a small number of customers that were of adventurous palate. They tried the tacos of Juan’s taco stand and found them quite pleasing. Some said “It’s not a real taco, but it’s still good,” and others proclaimed “Hey, I like this.” Then one named Alfonzo said “This is a lot better than those crap tacos they sell down the street”.

9. Juan’s spirits were lifted, and his shelves were emptied day after day.

10. Then the Master looked at the confused crowd and explained.

11. A taco is not in the cheese, or beef, or crispy shell. A taco is in the warm, happy feeling you have after eating it… oh, and in the cillantro it’s seasoned with… and the cervesa you drink with it… and the sliced hot peppers, got to have those.

12. And the crowd became very annoyed and pummeled the Master greatly and with much vigor, and went on to debate the merits of tamales.

Verses 13 through 20

13. The Master came upon one named Bill who seemed nervous, and more than a bit paranoid. And Bill said to the Master “I won a beef soft taco, but that’s not important now.”

14. In great shock, the Master did then respond, “How can you say such a thing? A beef soft taco is always important.”

15. ”There will come a time when you can no longer obtain beef soft tacos at the local Taco-Shack. The cheese will grow green and fuzzy, the tomatoes will cease to be perky, the flour tortillas will wilt on the vine. And in such a time of woe will the people cry out for the beef soft tacos that they won but never ate.”

16. And Bill did only stare at the Master.

17. But the Master continued, for he was on a roll, “The taco famine will last for three and forty years, and the people will be forced to make do with cheese from squeezy-tubes pressed upon triangular chips, and small children will be forced to go to bed at night without having hot peppers at dinner.”

18. And Bill did further stare at the Master, with a growing suspicion of questionable mental health.

19. Still the Master continued, “The Armies of a Dark Fiend will rise up and attack the people of the Desert, and will capture all the chorizo to be found. Destruction will rain down upon the Land of Cleves. Yea! The Dark Fiend will plunge the world into a horrible chaos where no burritos will ever be found, and where the Taco-Shacks will be forced to sell small burgers with a paper band around the middle!”

20. And Bill, fearing for his own safety, did pelt the Master with large rocks, and did thus drive him from that place for quite some time.

Verses 21 through 32

21. The Master wandered through the grounds occupied by the mobile festival and enjoyed those things being sold in the various stalls.

22. Of the breaded sausages did he partake, and of the fried cheese, and of the small cubes of roasted beef, and of the mysterious fluffy pink sweet stuff that instantly turns to nothing on the tongue, and all of these were available to be eaten upon a stick.

23. And the Master was very happy, as was his tummy.

24. But among those who sold the many and varied things to eat upon a stick did the master find one who was selling tacos, and this taco vendor was filled with despair.

25. ”Why are you so heavy with sadness?” asked the Master of the taco vendor.

26. And the vendor replied, “No one is purchasing my tacos, and if I do not sell tacos then I do not make any money, and if I do not make any money then when I go home my children will not get all the expensive things that they demand and then they will cry in woe and then my spouse will no longer sleep with me.”

27. The Master examined the tacos closely and saw that they would not be easy to eat while walking about.

28. Then the Master did tell the taco vendor “Take a taco and dip it into the batter used by the sausage vendor and then fry it deeply and place it on a stick for your customers. Oh, and give them some salsa in which to dip the taco-on-a-stick. Do this and you will sell many tacos and make lots of money and your children will get all the expensive things they demand and your spouse will sleep with you.”

29. And the taco vendor had reservations about the whole thing.

30. The Master watched as the taco vendor followed his instructions, and then he tried out the first taco-on-a-stick only to have it fall from the stick in small pieces leaving a devastation of spiced meat and grated cheese.

31. And the Master looked down upon the devastation and said only “Well that didn’t work.”

32. And the taco vendor did take up the stick and poke the Master with great malice and did puncture the Master many times until he did flee the grounds occupied by the mobile festival.

Verses 33 through 43

33. As the Master was walking through a village far from the last that he had visited, he came across three men who were engaged in a discussion about where to have lunch.

34. The first was one called Stephen, a priest of the order of Chalupa, and he wished to eat at a nearby Taco-shack as was commanded by his faith.

35. The second was one named John, and he also wanted to eat at the Taco-shack, for while he was not of the order, he had seen the chicken quesadillas there and was surely tempted.

36. The third however was one known as Barry, who had made the noise of “Blah” in reference to Taco-shack.

37. The one called Stephen had just yelled “Blasphemer!” and was prepared to administer the rightous drubbing that was required by the order in such circumstances, when the master did step into their midst.

38. ”Do you not see?” said the Master, “You are both right. There is both good and bad in all tacos, cheese that is tasty and yet fattening, meats that are both zesty and yet cheap and overseasoned, lettuce that is both green vegetable and yet brown and wilted.”

39. And Barry did note that the Master had said nothing about fish.

40. And John did note that the Master had said nothing about quesadillas.

41. And Stephen did note that the Master was a real nutter.

42. Then did the three look to each other and were suddenly one with purpose.

43. They did kick the Master until he was very injured, and did continue to kick him just to be sure.

Verses 44 through 55

44. It came to pass that the Master did wander far to the east, for at that time he was not greatly appreciated in the land of his birth.

45. There he did walk through a village, and in its public square he found many cooks quietly discussing what to do with an unexpected bounty of eggs.

46. ”We should fry them in olive oil until they are golden on the outside and softish in the middle,” said one cook.

47. ”Or in lard,” suggested another.

48. Then a third said, “Then we could top them with a cooked salsa picante, chopped onions, cilantro leaves, and the like.”

49. Then the first cook did speak again, saying “Ah, yes. These eggs will make excellent huevos rancheros.”

50. The Master was then overcome with the spirit of the Great Powers.

51. And he did knock some of the cooks down, and push some of the cooks, and did tread on the toes of the others.

52. Then did he speak most powerfully, “Blasphemy! True Huevos Rancheros must be an omlette made with a sharp cheese, sausage, bell peppers, and spices like cayenne or chili powder, and then topped off with salsa!”

53. And then did the Master realize that he was outnumbered by a disturbing amount, and that he should probably be leaving.

54. And the cooks did stand up and brush off their aprons and gather themselves together in a way that just happened to encircle the Master.

55. Then was the Master beaten most severely, and somehow got cayenne rubbed into his most delicate places.

Verses 73 through 80

73. In the thirty-fifth year of the Great Thrashing, the Warrior-Monks of the Order of Phaesoline and the Death-Friars of the Sepulcher of Carnotis did meet on the plains of Asada.

74. And they were each prepared to engage in terrible battle to right the wrong done by the other to the One True Chili Recipe.

75. Then did the Master appear between the Holy Armies and did wax wroth at them, for it was the afternoon of the seventh day and they were severely harshing his mellow.

76. And he said unto them, "Fools! Think you that the name of Chili is limited to one single recipe?

77. "Meet or meatless, beans or none, all are favored by the Great Powers as long as they have the Eternal Fire that makes the hair sweat and the tummy burn in the wee hours of the morning!"

78. But the Warrior-Monks and the Death-Friars were to him as a large group of screaming men wearing heavily padded helmets and charging into battle.

79. Then was the Master trampled quite painfully and then sat upon by a very heavy monk named Hubert.

80. And the Great Powers did watch the battle with much interest for there was good money riding on the outcome.

Verses 87 through 89

87. Inspired by the example of St. Kith, the Master did take a solemn vow to eat tacos on every Tuesday until the eve of the elections.

88. And then he did announce this to the masses saying, "There is no need to thank me for this sacrifice; it is nothing but my duty as a citizen. All those who wish to join me in the quest know this; all are welcome at the Supermarcado Guanajuato."

89. Then he did look upon the crowd, only to find they had rushed ahead of him and had eaten all the carnitas.