The second to last chapter of my best selling novel in my critically acclaimed Guy Fieri YA fiction universe, “The Battle for Flavortown”
“Of course,” Guy thought to himself. “There was only one place this was ever going to end.” Kitchen Stadium loomed on the horizon as he tore down the battered road on his motorcycle. Already he could smell the oil wafting from the battlefield. Papa John was doing something profane.
His motorcycle gave out a short walk from the entrance. He let it lie there in the road. He touched the flames on the gas tank, like the flames on his own shirt, which he thought of as his own gas tank. “One last diner, old friend. One last dive. You deserve to rest.”
As he walked into the stadium, he could taste the abominations on the air. Orange juice and toothpaste. Tomato and bubble gum. Chocolate and anti-peanut-butter. If John was combining flavors like this, he might be too far gone to save. He might be too far gone to defeat… “No!” thought Guy, “I can’t let myself think like that. I have to trust the flavors.”
Kitchen stadium was falling apart around him. John must have been scrapping it from the inside out to build…what? What recipe could need insulation? AC fluid? The smells got stronger, and he approached a gaping hole in the wall that opened onto the arena. “Come in! Come in,” a voice bellowed. “I can SMELL you, you oily fool! Come see the food of the future!” Guy slowly entered the opening and looked down on a horror. A cruel mockery of a kitchen, cookware spliced with industrial equipment, spinning construction refuse into cheese substitute. Dough expanded with metal shavings. The fallen chairman’s throne, broken for its Formica and paint chips, which had been worked into that horrible marinara. At the center of it all, like a mad conductor, stood Papa John. He turned his head to regard Guy. “You’re looking thin, Fieri! You should eat something!”
“I’m not here to eat, John,” said Guy. He descended slowly into the arena. “Oh no? What then? If the slovenly fool of Flavortown isn’t here to stuff his face, then what is he here for?” Guy’s face was still. “I’m here to talk, John.” Papa John let out a sickly bellow. “Talk? TALK? There is nothing for you to say other than to congratulate me on my coronation as the new chairman and king of Flavortown!”
“You can’t become chairman like this, John, this isn’t right…” Guy gestured to the machinery.
“Oh SHUT UP!” roared John. He flung his arm in Guy’s direction, and a volley of breadsticks, hard as steel, shot forth like javelins. Guy dove for cover. “Oh, hahaha,” John giggled to himself “yes, I solved the bottomless breadstick equation, quite simple, really.” He massaged his wrists. “That’s…that’s not possible-” Stammered Guy. “Isn’t it, though? Guy, you can’t imagine the flavors I’ve tasted. With the Chairmen gone, there’s no one left to stop me. I’m no longer caged by the old ways. I can combine flavors without restriction to things like “palatability” or “cravability”. I’m free, Fieri.”
“No, John. You’re lost.”
John’s face contorted and warped in disgust. “I expected more from you. If anyone was going to be able to understand the new ways, I thought it would be you. But I guess I was wrong.”
“You’re wrong about a great many things, John. But it’s not too late-”
“YOU DARE!?” Another barrage of breadsticks flew from John’s arms, pulverizing the refuse around Guy. “You DARE condescend to me!?” Another barrage, and Guy scrambled for new cover. “I am the greatest in a great line of Papas John! I have done what no other Papa John could do! I’m the greatest chef in Flavortown!”
“If you’re so sure, then let’s have it out. You and me. Here in Kitchen Stadium.”
John’s eyes flared. “I would like nothing more.” He raised both hands like a priest, and breadsticks flew from them in a stream. Guy drew his spatula, dodging as best he could, deflecting the rest. John laughed “You can’t do this forever, Fieri! But I can! My infinite breadsticks with bury you with cheap starch!” he was right, and Guy knew it. He would have to go on the offensive, and soon. He ran in a wide arc around John, and waited for an opening. As John began to speak more, Guy made his move. He took a direct hit to the shoulder, but it gave him enough time to cast his spatula. It flew straight and true, the tip striking John’s right palm. A loud CRACK and a flare of light filled the stadium, and when it subsided John was clutching his right hand with his left. Fury. Disbelief in his eyes. Guy stumbled sideways. The impact of the breadstick to the shoulder had been crushing. Possibly a broken bone. He stretched out his hand, and his spatula disappeared from its place at John’s feet, reappearing in Guy’s hand in a flare of light. He stood up fully.
John’s face moved from anger, to incredulity, to crazed mirth. “Very good, Fieri! Very good! It would be too small of you to die to my breadsticks. You deserve a warrior’s end!” He, too, stretched out his arm, and in it materialized his Iron Peel, a pizza peel 10' long, weighing hundreds of pounds. The blood caked on that peel…how many of the Iron Chefs had died by Papa John’s hand under it? John let the full weight of the peel strike the floor, and Guy felt it vibrate in his feet.
“Ready?” teased Papa John.
Guy said nothing, and they launched at each other through the air.