New York, New York

Metro Crisis

Mike Bloomberg has been kidnapped and the rest of the city is threatened—by the cutest gang of lovable forest-sprite fairy thugs to ever take New York hostage.

People of New York and members of the local media:

We are holding your mayor hostage. And if you do not adhere to our every demand, he will die, your beloved metropolis will be subjugated to our merciless reign of terror, and in the pages of history—written in the blood of the proud and the foolish who defied us—will be our name: the name of New York’s most notorious gang of street thugs; the name that, following this brief conference, will heretofore be invoked only as a fear-choked whisper upon trembling lips. I swear to you as I stand before you all, regard us with anything less than gravity and fealty and you will rue the day you underestimated the cold-blooded ruthlessness of the Frazzleberry Dumpling Gang!

I will continue when the laughter ceases. I am waiting. Yes, yes, go ahead and laugh now but, mark my words, the last laugh will belong to the Frazzleberry Dumpling Gang. OK, great. Here we go again. Ha ha ha. But as you laugh, consider this: Does the condemned man laugh as he feels the hangman’s noose tighten about his neck? Does the lobster laugh as it is lowered into the pot? Does the Jub Jub Bird laugh as the rapacious Greedlebug, with razor-sharp pincers extended, suddenly emerges from the Gummi Patch with a predatory leap?

I see your laughter has given way to puzzlement—or is it just a paralyzing fear that holds your tongues fast? OK, I just heard someone yell out, “Puzzlement!” so we’ll just go from there and I’ll take a few questions before listing our demands.

We strike fear in the hearts of the ordinary and the besieged and, whenever the occasion presents itself, the Frazzleberry Dumpling Gang steals freshly baked pies cooling on windowsills.Where is your mayor, you ask? Well, now it’s my turn to laugh. Let’s just say His Honor is in a safe place far from here, well beyond Lemondrop Falls, past Sweetie Pie Valley, across the Delicious River, and deep, deep—impossibly deep—within the twisted licorice brambles crisscrossing the Forest of Tickletime, right near the abandoned sanitary napkin factory. Perhaps I’ve already said too much. Next question!

OK, a two-part question. That’s unconventional but I will allow it. Why haven’t you heard of any of these places and creatures, and what are these spellbinding shiny objects hanging from my gang jacket? OK, first part: Mind well that your ignorance of these things does not disprove their existence. For example, no one has seen the fearsome Greedlebug in captivity, yet it continues to terrorize the ever-peaceful Clan of Cuddlemore, with its thousand yellow eyes and enchanted breath that sours Fiddlemilk at 50 paces. I assure you, even without photographs or any physical or scientific evidence pointing to its existence, for the frightened Cuddlemore clansmen and -women, the Greedlebug certainly exists…in here. And yes, I’m pointing to the area on my body where the Clan of Cuddlemore’s hearts are said to be located. I apologize if this gesture appears lewd to you.

And these shiny items on my jacket, which have piqued your curiosity? They are jingle bells and geegaws. Next question, please.

Yes, you. It’s two “z”s and “frazzleberry” is one word, no spaces. In fact, it’s spelled exactly like “razzleberry” but preceded by the letter “f.” And I’m sure our typical gang activities and acts of felonious disorder are no different than your own Crips or Bloods or One-Eyed Jacks. The Frazzleberry Dumpling Gang fights like urban gladiators. We strike fear in the hearts of the ordinary and the besieged and, whenever the occasion presents itself, the Frazzleberry Dumpling Gang steals freshly baked pies cooling on windowsills. Yes, that was us. Did you think it was a fox?

Next! Yes, you, over there waving a kerchief—oh, that’s your hand? Really. You’ll forgive me, I hope, but what a bizarre looking thing. If you don’t mind me asking, are you missing all of the bones in your hand? No? Well, that’s what it looks like when you wave it about like that. Truly fascinating…and your question?

Ah, proof. Well, as you can see one of our junior members is passing around two items of proof. The first is an image of your mayor. You’ll notice he is unharmed, for now, and seated comfortably on a toadstool. He is also holding a copy of this morning’s edition of the Butterscotch Gazette. And yes, I realize it is not a photograph but I think you’ll find the sketch rendered with great skill, and bears a remarkable likeness to His Honor. The female wood sprite perched on your mayor’s shoulder, playing a lute, was a bit of artistic license—obviously, this tableau could never exist in reality because female wood sprites are forbidden from playing the lute by the Decree of Kewpie Doll Council.

The second item I hold in my hand. It is the mayor’s own copy of TV Guide magazine. I realize the mailing label is addressed to “resident” but the address itself is simply not up for dispute.

Now, our demands. Listen carefully. A helicopter. A Delorean. An enchanted school bus made of peanut brittle. Twelve unicorn steaks. A massive effort in social reform, including stronger enforcement of rent stabilization laws for pre-war, multi-unit residential toadstools. A bag of glitter. And we demand that you change the name of the United Nations building to the Frazzleberry Center for Conflict Resolution and Taffy Time.

If these demands are not met within 48 hours, your mayor will die! And many of you will be turned into snails or crickets. And the rest of you will be raped. Now if you’ll excuse me, I am going to loudly invoke our gang’s credo of valor, and then we will all disappear in a small, self-contained tornado. All that will remain will be the chilling memory of our threat seared into your collective subconscious, and a delicious cake with Ping-Pong Fruit frosting, as is customary when entertaining guests. Now heed these words: “With ruthless cunning and heartless guile, the Frazzleberry mission is to defile. From Sleepy Peanut Hollow to the shores of Tumbletown, no woman, man, or pie is safe as long as we’re—” OK, NO MORE LAUGHING!