They all looked ever so tasty...
“Hey chief, how much for three with chili?”
The scroungy vendor tapped his price chart with sauerkraut-laden tongs. “All toppings, 35 cents extra,” he said gruffly. Really gruffly...
“It sounds like you could use Halls® Breath Mints! They’ve got ‘vapor action’ and-”
“There you are! I’ve been looking all over zis park for you!”
I turned around, nearly dropping the fanny pack I’d acquired last week from the professor during our introductory brunch. Standing nearly a meter (or “metre,” for those of you who prefer the Queen’s English) in height, the X-Man scowled.
♪ We... are the champions...
“Gambit! What brings you to Central Park? Is it the horses? ’Cause I can hook you up, man. I know this guy, and he feeds the horses for this tourism company-”
“You’re three days late for the challenge. Three!
” He held out his gloved hand, obviously trying to shame me with his ability to count using his fingers. It wouldn’t work this time.
“For your information, Mr. I-can-convert-matter-to-energy, I’ve spent the last week on an expedition to find the greatest mapmakers of the British Isles. With their aid, I was able to accurately draw the most direct and convenient path from this location to the Sears Tower!”
He shook his head. “The Sears Tower is the tallest building in North America, but it’s not in New York.”
“Oh. Well, I’ve got a contingency map to the Empire State Building right here,” I laughed as I pulled out the sepia-coated scroll. It smelled strongly of dandelion and sedge. I held my breath and closed my eyes. “It’s... that way!”
“Let me see zis map.” Gambit swiped the parchment from my metallic claws faster than a bald eagle in a wind tunnel. “What is zis ‘M.R.’ written next to zee numbers?”
“That’s the distance in Megalithic Rods; the Empire State Building is almost 3,200 Megalithic Rods from here.”
“Who uses Megalithic Rods?!”
“The people who built Stonehenge, that’s who uses them. You should know this, you’re from
there.”“I keep telling you, I am an American mutant!”
“Not with that attitude.”
He let out an exasperated groan. “Do you even have a car?”
“Oh no, my friend. We don’t need a car.
” I smirked and held up a cardboard box, shaking it sneakily.
“What’s in zee box?”
“Yesterday when I got back from Wales, I went to see an old buddy of mine, Sid. He runs a limo service, and he was more
than happy to give us a lift to the Empire State Building in exchange for our team’s $100.”
“You better not have spent all our- wait, until thirty seconds ago, you thought we were going to Illinois!”
“What part of ‘contingency’ don’t you understand? Anyway, I was thinking about ponying up the dough, when I ran into this guy who was selling... POTATO ON A STRING!”
“‘Potato on a string?’”
It’s a POTATO! On a STRING! Buy it! BUY IT NOW!
“It set us back a pretty penny,” I beamed. “But I got us a whole box for only ninety bucks!”
“You mean we only have ten dollars left?!”
“That reminds me...” I handed the vendor a crumpled $10 bill. “Yo chief, I’ll take three with chili. Keep the change.”
“Here you go.”
“Ah, New York City hot dogs! There’s really no beating ‘em.”
As I popped the first one into my mouth, I turned to ask if Gambit would hold the third chili-dog while I got to work savoring the second. But I could see he was far too busy trying to meditate, as mutants are wont to do. His face was such an intense purple, he must have been close to a new mental plateau.
“Looks like we’re hoofin’ it, dude!”