The Great Brachway’s Swindle of ’08 was one of the pivotal events in confectionery history, only it didn’t happen the way they all said it did. I talked with a guy who wrote a book on it, and he said he was unwrapping the “sticky, faded wrapper off the caramel-filled scandal.” I think he actually wrote that, but he was probably drunk at the time. He was drunk when I talked to him, too. I’m not sure if there even is a Brachway’s, but he said back in those days candy was grown the same way as corn or cucumbers – you had to plant gumdrops and everything, but you could only do that in Munchkin Land. Old Man Brachway was the governor of Munchkin Land, and he told everybody to make as much candy as they wanted and they’d sell it to the poor saps in the real world and they’d just go about their lives, having business meetings and going on golf trips and spilling their coffee on me when they get on the train, without so much as an “excuse me.” Some people.

So the people went all along making candy and a rival candy company bombed the hell out of them and they died and went bankrupt at exactly the same time.

I had read in a magazine the other day that Munchkin Land wasn’t actually the name of a state, and that Old Man Brachway wasn’t actually their governor. I told the guy who wrote the book about the article and he says I’m “protecting the conspirators” and he tried to choke me with a big piece of hard candy, only a man in the restaurant sneezed and his dentures flew across the room and landed on the guy’s nose. So he let go of me and I hit him with a phone book and ran to Fannie May to report the crime.

Then, out of the blue, I got a telegram from Chester Alan Brachway Jr. the Third. It said: “THE CONSPIRACY IS REAL STOP DONT BUY ANY CHOCOLATE WITHOUT TALKING TO ME STOP I AM CURRENTLY IN ANOTHER DIMENSION BUT I WILL BE BACK ON THURSDAY MAYBE WE CAN HIT DENNYS STOP” It was like a detective novel only you couldn’t take it from the library and then pretend you lost it when the overdue notice came in.

Chester showed up at the restaurant that morning and told me all about how his family had been persecuted by the people who made Circus Peanuts and that everyone in the world was under the mind control of the Five Dollar bar. I asked who put the mind control drugs into the candy, and he said “It’s a man known as…” and then the food arrived! Chester said it was “just too convenient” but I forgot to eat the last couple days so I went right at the hash browns. And yet when I looked up to ask the name again… Chester was gone!

And Richard Simmons was in his place! “Don’t eat those fatty foods,” he says, “Deal a Meal with me today!” And he starts this exercise routine, which was just weird. When the check came I made him pay half. And he wouldn’t say anything about the conspiracy.

Then, when I got back on the train there was a guy handing out free newspapers and I had to haggle him down. I guess he was part of the whole thing too. But the train conductor was pretty nice so it’s not all bad.

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