The Celebrated Barbecue-off of Cook County

demolished-purple-tent

PHOTO PROMPT © Jan Wayne Fields

I talked to an old man in my quest to find Don Optner.

“I know Jim Opnter.”

“No, I want Don.”

“Claimed he made the best barbecue, period.  Grew his own herbs and such and it was awfully good.”

“Don is…”

“He set up the Cook County Barbecue-off.  Had three Weber grills running and a tent.  Hoped to make a fortune.  People came from all over.

“A stranger had a pretty good sauce, worrying Don.

“Don went back for more herbs and some kids destroyed his setup with a firehose.  Said it was rain.

“And then….”

I left him, mid-sentence.

***

A maybe not so successful attempt at a parody of a parody, The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County.  Why Weber grills?  Look up the short story and the frog’s name ;) OK, Weber, Webster, a little different…

***

Word count = 100

Friday Fictioneers is hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.  This week’s prompt is here and uses a photo © Jan Wayne Fields.  Read more or join in by following the InLinkz “linky“.

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56 thoughts on “The Celebrated Barbecue-off of Cook County

  1. Nan Falkner

    This poor fellow is out of luck. He made 3 mistakes: Barbecue cookers can’t be trusted to help! 2. He was jealous of the other guys sauce. 3. Left the barbecue because he was jealous! Very nice story! Envy is the root of evil! Nice!

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  2. Nan Falkner

    This poor fellow is out of luck. He made 3 mistakes: Barbecue cookers can’t be trusted to help! 2. He was jealous of the other guys sauce. 3. Left the barbecue because he was jealous! Very nice story!

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      You are right on all three counts. There was a fourth one as well – he was too cocky and so sure he would win no matter what that he didn’t even think of protecting his gear.

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  3. granonine

    The Celebrated Frog. . .was one of my favorites to teach in English class years ago. Twain certainly was a master of the short story. Once I started reading your notes at the end, it all fell into place :)

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        1. trentpmcd Post author

          OK, real quick synopsis (not that you asked)… The original story is man trying to find stories about a famous person. The old man he asked tells him a tall tale about someone completely different (same last name, different first). In the tall tale, the main character trains a frog to jump and has a standing bet that his frog can out leap any comer. A stranger comes into town and takes him up on the bet. When the the frog owner isn’t looking, the stranger fills the trained frog with lead shot. The stranger thus wins the bet (by cheating). We jump back to the outer story and the old man starts on an even more far fetched tale, but the person looking for info leaves before he can get started.

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  4. fakeflamenco

    I love Twain’s story the Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County! I had the funniest experience with the title. After studying Spanish for twenty years, I picked up the book of short stories, looked at the title and a light bulb went on. Calaveras means skulls. I started laughing because I hadn’t realized that word tucked in there the first or second time I read the story. Your piece is a nice parallel to Twain’s. -Rebecca

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      No skulls here, but Cook County was more appropriate for the subject matter anyway ;) I didn’t know that’s what it meant, but I know enough Spanish (and other Latin based languages) to see it once pointed out. Thanks.

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      Optner is pretty easy to say (two syllables, and the p and t make one sound, like “opt out” – I have heard the name before), Opnter, not so easy! It was a mistake on my part, but makes the old guy’s mistake even farther off, so I’ll keep it…

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      Yes it is, and the fresh herbs that go into it… I changed the story to make them Weber grills – the frog was named Dan’l Webster. OK, not an exact match, but… Thanks.

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