“Welcome, one and all,” says Will Scarlet, with a broad smile and a bow, “to Will & Allyn’s Interactive Theatre!”
“Every Saturday,” says Allyn-a-Dale, “Will and I and our friends from the story world of ‘The Outlaws of Avalon’ trilogy—”
“Coming one of these days to a book retailer near you!”
“—Will take at random two of the suggestions gleaned from you, our gentle audience, and incorporate them into… well, the sort of tomfoolery Will calls entertainment.”
“So make yourselves comfortable,” says Will, “as we now present to you: ‘The Camelot Cooking Challenge’!”
[The curtain rises on a stage divided into two areas. One side has been outfitted with countertops and cooking apparatuses. The other features a table, behind which sit three men in shining chainmail and surcoats bearing the Pendragon crest. Front and center stage stands the lovely Queen Guinevere in a medieval gown that seems to pay homage to a sharp modern suit.]
Guinevere: Welcome to the Camelot Cooking Challenge, where contestants fight for the honor of feeding the most honorable fighters legend ever knew: The Knights of the Round Table! Presenting our panel of judges, Sirs Bedivere, Gawain, and Lancelot.
Knights: [a wave, a salute, and a nod, respectively]
Guinevere: And now, introducing our contestants. All the way from twelfth-century Nottinghamshire, England, please welcome everyone’s favorite noble-turned-outlaw (not counting his cousin), Will Scarlet!
[Enter a smiling and waving Will Scarlet in a red apron embroidered with the words “Kiss the Chef”.]
Will: In it to win it, folks! Let’s do this thing! Whoo-hoo!
Guinevere: And from the worlds-away kingdom of Carillon, give a hand for the Merry Men’s most marvelous minstrel, Allyn-a-Dale!
[Allyn enters the cooking area, unintentionally adorable in a blue chef’s hat.]
Allyn: May the best man win. Or the best chef. Time may tell whether I prove to be one and the same.
Will: Ooh, eloquent smack talk, is it? You’re going down, bucko!
Guinevere: Gentlemen, you have each been provided with the same ingredients, and must in some way incorporate ground beef and bread dough into your dish. You have five minutes.
Will and Allyn: Five?!
Guinevere: Don’t worry, the ovens and things are magical, thanks to our sponsor, Sage Mage Appliances! …a.k.a. Merlin. Contestants, are you ready?
Will: Bring it!
Guinevere: Judges, are you hungry?
Gawain: Well, it is lunchtime.
Guinevere: Then let the Camelot Cooking Challenge begin!
[A neon hourglass blinks on over the kitchen area, the sand trickling down as Will and Allyn tackle their ingredients.]
Guinevere: Ooh, would you look at the grace and elegance with which Allyn is tossing his dough in the air. It looks like our minstrel has decided to go for a pizza.
Allyn: Hamburger pizza.
Guinevere: Nice! And you, Will?
Will [rolling pepperoni, mushrooms, and mozzarella into patties of ground beef]: Pizza hamburger!
Guinevere: Leave it to this pair to go in completely opposite directions. Judges, what expectations do you have for the outcome of this contest?
Bedivere: Difficult to say. They’re both fierce competitors with an allergy to losing. When it comes to appreciation of food, Scarlet’s got the edge. But his enthusiasm has been known to make him sloppy, whereas Allyn makes a habit of precision. Question is, can either of them even cook?
Lancelot [wrinkling his nose]: If that’s the question, I have another: Why did I agree to take any part in this?
Bedivere: Hey, Gawain and I have had to do two of these skits so far, and the first one involved singing. You’re getting off easy.
Guinevere: Allyn’s pie is entering the oven, and Will has pulled out the stove-top grill. Mmm, listen to that sizzle!
Will: Allyn, do me a favor and throw my dough in with your pizza, will you?
Allyn: We’re competitors, Will. I don’t owe you favors.
Will: But what about my buns?!
Guinevere: Sexy as ever.
Will [with a wink]: Thank you, Your Majesty.
Allyn: I can’t believe you scripted that.
Gawain: I’d have been shocked if he didn’t.
Will: But seriously, Allyn, I’ve only got two hands. Please can you make sure my hamburger buns get baked?
Allyn: Only on the condition that you apologize to Guinevere.
Will: Fine. Sorry I stuck you with the buns line, Your Queenship. Next time I’ll give it to Lancelot.
Lancelot: There will not be a next time.
[Cutting utensils flash and garnish flies as Will and Allyn race to plate their dishes. With the last grains of sand passing through the hourglass’s center, the neon light blinks out. Their time run down, the chefs present their handiwork to the panel.]
Guinevere: What say you, judges?
Knights: [much chewing and muttering amongst themselves, until…]
Bedivere: Based on the quality of the cooking, it’s too close to call.
Gawain: But based on the Code of Chivalry, the winner is clear.
Lancelot: For outstanding sportsmanship on the field of battle and upholding the honor of women, we hereby award victory to Allyn-a-Dale.
Will: WHAT? [facepalms] Bloody dang. I should have seen that coming.
Allyn [bowing]: My thanks to you, good knights and exalted queen. And better luck next time, Will.
Will: Eh, it wasn’t luck. It was just the best man winning. Congratulations, Allyn.
Allyn [eyes smiling wickedly]: Thank you, Sexy Buns.
Will [points at Allyn]: Let the record state that he totally improvised that, thank you very much.
“Aaaand SCENE!” says Will.
“Thank you to audience member Steven Bourelle,” says Allyn, “for providing us with the inspiration ‘hamburgers’ and ‘tossing pizza dough’”
“If you enjoyed yourselves,” Will says, “(or if you didn’t, but you totally did, right?), don’t forget to leave suggestions for future productions in the comments! Words or phrases we’ve got to include, a prop to use, a prompt to run with… anything goes! Until next week, friends! Will and Allyn out!”