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Big Con Artist
by Michael A. Kechula

Ed was whale watching when he heard a whale call, “Hey, Mister, what’s your name.”

“Ed,” he said, wondering if he were hallucinating.

“Could you do me a big favor, Ed?”

“Depends on what it is.”

“Let me explain. I’m the King of the Pacific Whales. Last week, a tour boat was here. People aboard ate something called pepperoni pizza. Some of it fell overboard. Several of my subjects tasted it. Now they’re hooked and in open rebellion. They said if I don’t arrange to feed them pizza every day, they’ll replace me with somebody who can. If you could get some pepperoni pizzas and put them in the water, I’ll add poison. That would get rid of my rebellious whales before they infect more of my subjects with their weird dietary ideas.”

“How many pizzas do you need?” asked Ed.

“Seven-hundred extra-large.”

“That’ll be very expensive. How much money do you have?”

“I’m broke,” said the King. “But maybe you can help. In exchange for your generosity, I’d fix it so great white sharks won’t ever attack you, should you ever fall overboard. And I’d arrange with alligators to never bite your hands off, in case you ever want to pet one in Florida.”

“Thanks for the offers, but this will cost me about $14,000.”

“I’ll sweeten the offer,” said the King. “I have a beautiful daughter with a huge dowry. Perhaps you’d be interested in marrying her.”

“What’s her dowry worth?”

“Ten thousand tons of kelp, twenty thousand tons of seaweed.”

Ed figured he could sell the kelp and seaweed to sushi restaurants for mega-dollars. That’d cover the cost of using his credit card to buy seven-hundred pepperoni pizzas, ten-thousand times over.

“It’s a deal. But, it’s gonna take a while to make all those pizzas.”

“While you’re gone, I’ll get my daughter and her dowry ready for you. We can conduct the ceremony when you return.”

“Sounds great.” Ed figured he’d make a bundle by selling a female whale to Japanese fishermen. “When I return, how will I find you so I know where to drop the pizzas?”

“I’ll set off flares,” said the King.

Ten hours later, Ed arrived with the pizzas. The King heard the boat’s engines, came to the surface, and set off flares.

After Ed dropped the pizzas overboard, his future bride came to the surface along with her dad.

“He so cute, Daddy,” she said. “He looks good enough to eat.”

“Indulge yourself, my sweetie-pie,” said the King.

Ed was gone in one gulp.

The King dried the pizzas, and sold them to hungry tourists who came on boats to watch whales frolic in the Pacific. He made so much money, he bought the island of Tahiti, where he lived happily ever after with his subjects—none of which had ever heard of pepperoni pizza, or ever tasted it.