So here we are. Back on Coruscant. The busiest damn planet in the galaxy. I had forgotten how busy this place is. It’s amazing what a year cruising on the gigantic water planet of Tropic-0 will have on calming the ol nerves. Balmy breezes…golden sunsets…lush little islands where I can stick my tootsies in the warm sand.
And it just took one day back to completely shatter those lovely relaxed nerves.
I suppose I got a lot of catching up to do. Not that there’s much to say for this past year. Me and Qui Gon have been like mellow kittens sailing around the world. Lord knows we needed a break. What with everything we’ve been through the year before.
Be warned: there will be a test later.)
But after a while I’ve been getting an itch, (No-no…not that itch. I went to the doctors and got that cleared up, thanks) to get myself back into the swing of things. You see I’m a Jawa. We Jawas live on business. It’s in our blood. As well as old dish rags, Buick Skylark hubcaps, trace amounts of rare radioactive isotopes, and a blood alcohol level that would kill a Bantha. But I digress.
It was time to return to our booming brownie business. Uncle Jinn and J.J.’s Super Fudgy “special spiced” brownies! Selling these suckers was how we were able to afford taking off a year and stay afloat.
Sorry. That pun was only worthy of Tak.
Near the end of our vacation, two things began to happen. (Well, three if you count that Qui-Gon’s poncho-which I don’t think was ever washed once and was getting more funky than James Brown. Now, I know dirty hippy is usually a stereotype but…ohmygod…that thing could walk on its own after a while.) The first was the enormous amount of souvenirs we had acquired. Or should I say…Qui Gon acquired. You see, Qui Gon is a fantastic guy. The best partner a Jawa could have and an amazing friend –cowbell and all. But he does have a tendency to…um…buy a lot of…shall we say…crap.
Tropic-0 is a huge water planet dotted with a myriad of tropical islands and on each island is a port and in each port there are literally hundreds of souvenir huts all around. And Qui-Gon has found all of them.
During our months of vacation, that man…eh…force ghost…must have bought every little nick-nak and curio from every vender on every island. Things like cocoanut lamp shades, plastic tiki idols that also open bottles with their gaping mouths, straw hats made from indigenous plant life in hundreds of shapes, colors and sizes, shot glasses by the truck load (those are okay…) any and every conceivable jewelry you can make from puka shells, snack bags of Funyons (no, it doesn’t matter that they’re the same damn things you could get anywhere in the galaxy), tons of t-shirts with witty sayings like “Gotta go to Tropic-0”, swim wear in bright colors never seen before in nature, miniature plam tree shaped tooth picks/swizzle sticks….the list just goes on.
And that’s part of the problem. At first I thought, eh! What ever. But he’s gotten so much stuff over the months that we just don’t have any more room in our stateroom…or the entire row of staterooms we bought out. In fact it had become so crowded with this crap that I couldn’t find the bathroom to take a crap. (I hope Qui doesn’t look too carefully at the stains on his velvet paintings…)
So with our rooms running out of room, I knew it was time to return home. I made him promise to buy a storage unit for all this stuff when we return and I promised him I would look into housebreaking lessons.
But that was only half the reason we had to return.
The other half had to do with our money itself. You see, we’ve been living on our brownie royalties while away, but month after month the money being wired to us was coming in smaller and smaller amounts.
When we left, Qui-Gon and I left Dooku to look after our business, after having him swear to Qui-Gon on a stack of ancient crumpet recipes that he would look after our interests like they were his own. He owed us for helping him revert from a Sleestak back to his normal self. Don’t ask. Long story. Looking back, that may not have been the brightest thing I’ve done, but hell, I was probably drunk at the time.
Now I’m beginning to wonder if the old coot is skimming our profits for his little lonesome.
So nearly creditless, we decided to take our leave and hop on the next transport to Coruscant. (After a brief stay at the old homestead on Tatooine. I had a hankering for some good ol home cooking. Yum!) ((Yeah, I know. A lot of links. What else do you have to do?))
So here we are. Back again. After such a long flight I would have loved to just head back to our kicking penthouse apartment but I knew the problem with Dooku would be hovering over my head all night. So Qui and I high tailed it over to the Uncle Jinn and J.J. factory for a little sit down.
Sure enough, Ol Dooks was there in our office, sitting in a brown leather chair sipping a cuppa something and reading over the recent Variety magazine. We must have surprised him because he instantly began choking on his tea the moment he saw us.
Oh wait…no. That’s right. He was choking because I had my HANDS AROUND HIS WITHERED TURKEY NECK SQUEEZING THE LIFE OUT OF HIM!!!
“Good lord. Is that anyway for civilized people to greet each other? Even for a Jawa? You’re lucky I don’t smite you down and take away your diners club card.” He then turned to Qui-Gon. “What’s all this about, ol chap? Who put the bee in J.J.’s cummerbund?”
“Um…well…it’s like this, master. He seems to have this thought of…well…like you’ve been ripping us off while we’ve been away.”
“That’s preposterous. The fee you two have provided me has kept me comfortably flush. There’s no reason for me to steal from you.”
“Says you, ya second rate vampire,” I yelled back at him.
“Now, now. There’s no reason to bring up my past…”
“I can assure you, I have not been stealing from your business. I gave you my word, Qui ol chap, that I would watch over your business while I was gone and that’s just what I did.
“Then where did the money go, Mcdooku?”
“Perhaps it went to its rightful owner…namely me.”
“What do you mean, rightful owner?? Qui-Gon and I are the rightful owners of this brownie empire,” I screeched back at him.
“Were…would be a more precise term. You see, while you two were away getting banana boat tan lines, I was busy launching a hostile takeover of your company. It was rather easy, actually. You would be amazed at just how few people you have to kill before they give you what ever you demand.”
Qui-Gon turned to his former master and I could see the betrayal in his eyes. Or was that mascara? Hard to tell these days.
“Oh man…Dooks. This is like…no way man…You’re like bumming my high. I trusted you to look after our business. And…and you like…woah…”
“He had nothing to do with it,” Palpatine said smoothly walking over to our desk. “But once I completed the hostile takeover of your puny brownie business, I kept our Count Dooku around. After all, he was under contract. He had no choice but to obey his Sith Lo- …I mean, his employer.”
“So…that means…YOU now own Uncle Jinn and J.J.’s brownies?!?”
“That is right. And you are in MY office, now,” he said reaching into the top drawer of the desk and taking out a tiny cute kitten.
“But the money we’ve been receiving all these months…?”
“A small gratuity…for using your likeness.” He smiled stroking the little gray and white animal.
“And what of our brownies…” Qui asked.
“I will incorporate them into my line of fatty snack foods, replacing the famed ingredients with imitation lard # 5 and Bantha bone marrow!!!” He maniacally cackled, snapping the head off the kitten and tossing it in the trash bin with the others. Funny how I didn’t see those when I walked in.
He then pressed the button on his intercom. “Jenkins!!! More kittens! I’m feeling rather evil at the moment. Oh…and send in the gungar guards. I have some rabble to throw out into the street!”
Three and a half minutes later, our asses were resting on the curb. I just sat there…stunned. I couldn’t believe it. Everything I worked for…gone. Qui Gon was even more distressed, I think. He kept shaking his head and mumbling “he can’t replace my spice with lard #5…he just can’t…he just can’t…”
It was getting dark. There was nothing we could do about it tonight. I got up, lit a new cigar and flagged down another cab.
“C’mon Qui, Let’s go home. I’ll be dammed if I let that second rate Vader touch our warm brownies but there ain’t nothing I can do about it tonight. I need some sleep. Looks like you could use some too. Let’s get back to the pad and get some rest. We can bitch-slap this guy tomorrow. Gods, I hope at least our I-SUC unit has been holding down the fort for us at home while we were gone…and uh, hasn’t tried to kill himself again.”
With a little coaxing on my part, I got Qui settled into the cab and we zoomed across town. I got to admit, he looked pretty stunned.
A half hour later, the speeder cab stopped at
In one day, our brownie business and our luxury penthouse apartment…gone.
What more could happen?
“Hey Mac,” the Toydarian cabbie yelled at me. “That’ll be eight hundred and fifty credits.”