They entered a big room, and in the middle were a crowned gingerbread person and a dog. The dog was wearing a glittery purple dress, which was bursting at the seams. A golden bracelet was around the dog’s front leg. Brown tufts of fur poked out.
The king had a ridiculously large hat-like crown. The base was ice, but on top of it was a puffy spinach drape. Omelet stuffing threatened to leak out. At the very top of the hat was a biscuit. Candy came from all around the hat, making it look like a fountain of solidified water.
Everett guessed that it was a king, and he looked like somebody that Everett did not want to argue with. This man had permanent frown lines. Everett did not want to have this person frown at him, but he was. Beyond that angry mask, Everett did not know how tough he could be. He was wearing a furred coat, and was overweight, just like the dog. Everett noticed that for some reason, the king looked like a cube – he was as wide as he was tall.
There were benches on the side, and many gingerbread people were sitting there. The room was crammed with portraits of kings and queens.
Chocolate bowed, “Your majesty, I have brought a guest!”
Everett did not know what this was about, but he did not have a good feeling about it. “Um… bye,” he said. “I… er… need to go home. Uh… thanks for your consideration. I’m leaving.” And with that final remark, he rushed outside.
“Halt him!” Everett heard the shout, and imagined the king on the throne raising his hand. Dozens and dozens of soldiers barred Everett’s path. The only way left for Everett was back to the throne room.
There was no way to the painting that might send him back. For the first time, Everett realized that he might never be able to go back home. Despair crashed down upon him.
Everett groaned. FIRST, he was with the gingerbread people. SECOND, he did not know where he was. THIRD, he was, apparently, a prisoner. FOURTH, they seemed to have no intention of letting him go. FIFTH, this was the second night that he would be missing. SIXTH, there was no way out except escape. SEVENTH, Everett never really had been a good escaper. EIGHTH, there was no guarantee that he could escape. NINTH, there was not even a guarantee that Everett would ever get out. TENTH, when, no, if, he got out, he would most likely be grounded for life by his mother just to be safe. Everett groaned again. There were so many reasons to worry.
“Where is he from?” The king demanded.
Chocolate answered, “He is from Sand Hose-ae, Your Majesty.”
The king bellowed, “Liar! There is no Sand Hose-ae! Escort him to the Room of Honor!”
This was getting confusing. Why would the king send a prisoner to the Room of Honor? Or was this so-called Room of Honor the name for the prison? Everett also wished that they would at least call San Jose by its proper name, and not Sand Hose-ae.
“Wait, your majesty! I will bring some of the precious liquid that you thirst for.” Chocolate hurried out. He came back with a goblet containing liquid.
The goblet was made out of ice. Everett could see through it. The fluid was transparent. It kept on bubbling. Everett knew what it was, without a single doubt. “Hey, is that soda?” Soda was Everett’s favorite drink. For a moment, he fancied that they were going to give the soda to him. Then he noticed the bright yellowish brown hue. It stopped looking so appetizing.
Maybe they weren’t going to give it to him. The king gulped it all down in one swallow. He seemed to grow fatter.
The king inquired, “What is this…sold-aye? I have never heard of sold-aye. I am drinking the source of legendary drinks, coupled with the right touch of hot chocolate and yellow marshmallows.”
Chocolate flashed a small, smug grin at Everett. “It is called ‘sold’ in our world, SOLD, the Source Of Legendary Drinks. What a coincidence that this child knows about sold-aye!”
“It’s called soda!” yelled Everett. He didn’t know why Chocolate was so smug. However, from Chocolate’s attitude, he had good enough reason to believe that Chocolate wasn’t going to help him escape this gingerbread world.
Suddenly the king asked, “Where can you find sold-aye?”
Everett almost laughed out loud. Where could he find soda? It was a no brainer! Everett tried to keep a straight face. “In a supermarket. Soda is found in a supermarket.”
The king murmured, “Supermarket, supermarket, supermarket…”
Chocolate’s face brightened. “SOLD, he knows about SOLD!”
“So?” The king shrugged and turned to Everett. “Where can you find natural water, the Source Of Legendary Drinks?”
Everett thought for a moment. Maybe the king meant soda near natural water. There was no natural soda anywhere. He replied, “At a vending machine near the Yellowstone River.”
“Where is the Yel-lawstone River?”
“Where is W-w-wyuning?”
“In the United States.”
“Where is the United Stetes?”
“In North America.”
“Where is North Anerica?”
“Where is Earth?”
The king seemed rather stupid and ignorant. The gingerbread people probably weren’t very smart, if they all were as ignorant as their king. Even Chocolate, who Everett considered was the smartest of everyone he had met in this gingerbread world, was being smug for no reason.
Everett was tired of this nonsense. “In the Milky Way. I really think that you need a geography lesson–”
Chocolate interrupted. “Nobody dares to insult the king like that, especially a Candy king. We are also talking about SOLD, not geography lessons! I would put you in prison for insolence–” He stopped in mid-sentence.
Everett could guess the words. They could be “if I was the king”. This sure was an ambitious person.
The king shouted, “Silence! There is no way out for him. He would have to run through our guards to get to the painting. He will be candy washed!”
Chocolate pleaded, “No! He is useful. He knows about SOLD. You will be wasting precious materials!”
The king yelled, “Take him to the Room of Honor then, while we figure out what to do.”
Two guards came forward, and Everett was taken away.
Everett asked, “Hey, are you going to candy wash me with soda or what?”
The guards stopped. One of them glowered at Everett. The other one scowled. “We certainly won’t waste SOLD on a fumbling flibbergit puny thing like you!” Then the guards dragged him away.