Friday was usually the squad's day to treat themselves. With a long week of school, adventures, and work in the books, they just felt the need to indulge and mask their troubles, thanks to several of the restaurants New Pork City has to offer. But to determine which place they would go out to eat, the squad would take turns picking, to avoid redundant arguments that could take up too much time. And since Chuck had been fairly new to the tradition, he was given the choice of picking which restaurant they should go to. Of course, being a former resident of the Big Apple, their eatery of choice would be a pizzeria famous for its New York-style pizza called Donello's.
Sitting around the circular table with a large, thin-crust pizza topped with only mozzarella on a silver platter, the squad ate to their hearts' content. No one could turn down a piping hot slice of cheesy goodness, definitely a bright idea on Chuck's end.
"Wow... oh, this is so good! So glad I finally got the chance to come here, I always wanted to eat here but dad's always busy with work. Thanks for suggesting it, Chuck." Cookie grinned at the Brooklyn boy, giving her one back.
"Eh, no problem. And I ain't too surprised y'all like it since Donello's is like da king of New York pizza joints. Plus, da dude who owns dis place used to be trainin' partners wit' my dad," Chuck turned to an older male behind the register, giving him a thumbs-up. "Ya hear dat, Rick? You're still killin' it wit' da pizza biz, man, keep it up!"
"Really appreciate it, Chuck! And tell your old man we still got some catchin' up to do, we're overdue!" the male, Rick, hollered back with a chuckle.
"Will do, my man!"
"Uh, heh, cute... but, Chuck, care to explain why you're eating your pizza like that?" Kim focused on the folded slice in the Brooklyn boy's right hand.
"Like what, dis?" Chuck asked with a confused look.
"Uh, duh! Why do you have to eat it like that, do you not know how to eat pizza the right way?"
"Oh, boy, it begins..." Frankie said, grabbing another slice from the tray to watch the argument about to unfold.
'Kim, we're just having a nice, relaxing time eating, could you please not have this argument-" started Cookie.
"Nah, it's fine, Cook, you don't need to defend me or anythin'. But if Kim needs me to school her on how you're supposed to eat New York-style pizza, den shoot, I'm down. You may find dis hard to believe, but foldin' your slice IS da right way to eat it, you idiot!" spat the boy with the beanie.
"Oh, well, excuse me! I didn't know eating your slice folded is some new thing you made up." snarked the Korean girl.
"Whaddya mean-it's not somethin' I made up, you nutjob! You go down to New York yourself, find a pizza joint, and I bet you'll find every single person eatin' deir slices folded, I guarantee dat!"
"Well, just because they do it in New York doesn't mean you can do it here! You can just eat it unfolded and it would still taste just as good!"
"But it tastes better dis way, try it yourself and you'll see!"
"Uh, yeah, I'd rather not and watch you eat your slice unfolded so you'll see how stupid you were to do that!"
"Oh, geez, can't even go out to eat without having some pointless argument. Shouldn't we stop this before it escalates further?" Cookie glanced back at Frankie with a concerned expression.
"Just sit back and be a spectator. This is starting to get good..." the goth boy munched on his slice with intrigue.
"Eating your slice without folding it means you'll have more to enjoy and you can savor it longer!" Kim said in her defense.
"But foldin' it makes it so you can eat it in half da time and you can get more pizza in each bite! And if you're from New York, you'd know dat we're always on da go and eatin' it dat way makes it a lot easier for us!" Chuck also chimed in.
"But it looks stupid! Who just walks around with a folded slice of pizza?!"
"Someone wit' class, dat's who."
"Oh, ho, ho, this dude said someone with class! Hah hah, hilarious! But seriously, that is not the right way to eat pizza AT ALL. And nothing you say will make me think otherwise!"
"Well, nothin' you say will make me think twice about eatin' it like dis! So, how 'bout you stop wit' da preachin' and eat your pizza da lame, borin' way?!"
"No, your way's the lame, boring way, mine is the cool, trendy way!"
"Sure, if you're a hipster."
"Who are you calling a hipster?! And another thing, I'm WAY too awesome and stylish to be one!"
"If ya insist, ya poser."
Wasn't until the next day that the Sugar Squad hung out at Mama Sug's, where Cookie returned from the back after retrieving something.
"What did you make, Cook? What did you make, what did you make?!" Kim bounced on her sneakers in anticipation.
"If you'd stop being a nuisance for once, she'll tell you." sneered Frankie, glaring back at the girl.
"Heh, you tell her, Frank." smirked Chuck.
"Pfft, haters. Haters, the both of ya." the Korean girl scoffed.
Cookie giggled, taking out a tan cupcake with a puffy, white topping, "Guys, don't give her such a hard time, you already did that at the pizza place. But I'm happy to announce that I have found another recipe to experiment with, behold!"
She then took the cupcake and held it up in the air like she would after baking something with a rare ingredient, but it didn't seem to amuse her friends.
"Eh, heh heh... sorry, couldn't help it. Here's some key lime pie cupcakes I made last night. Kinda got inspired after finding my grandma's recipe for key lime pie. Try it out and tell me what you think."
"Huh, not really a big fan of lemon-y, lime-y stuff but anything for you, Cook!" Grabbing a cupcake from the plate, Kim was about to bite into it until she spotted Chuck doing another seemingly peculiar thing.
The boy with the beanie took the cake part of the cupcake, split it in half and placed one of the halves on top of the meringue topping.
"So, do you guys like it?" asked Cookie.
"Mmm, no doubt! Dis almost puts my mom's recipe for key lime pie to shame!" Chuck chirped.
"Tch, speaking of shame, can we talk about how this guy should be ashamed of himself for eating his cupcake like a freakin' sandwich?!" the ponytailed girl pointed out.
"Ugh, again wit' dis nonsense..."
"Kim, what are you complaining about now? And what's wrong with eating your cupcake like that, anyway?" the girl in the denim jacket came to the boy's defense.
"I-It's... it's just not the right way! And I should've known you have a very backwards way of eating stuff, Chuck!" spat Kim.
"Not as backwards as your logic, however." snarked Frankie.
"What's wrong wit' da way I eat stuff? You never had a problem wit' it 'til now, what's your problem?" the boy from Brooklyn snapped.
"What is YOUR problem eating like this?! You're eating a cupcake, for crying out loud! Save that foolishness for a sandwich like a normal person!" the ponytailed girl began to bicker.
"Kim!" cried Cookie.
"Okay, first of all, you're probably da last person who should be tellin' me to act like a normal person when you can't let people eat da way dey want and second, dis is da most optimal way of eatin' a cupcake. You get equal amounts of cake and frostin' in each bite!"
"Er, technically, meringue isn't frosting." the goth boy pointed out.
"Whatever, Frank! My point is if I wanna eat my cupcake like a sandwich, den dang it, let me do that! And if you're not so hung up on eatin' things 'the right way', why don't ya try it yourself? Hmm, guys?" Chuck glanced at the others.
"Hard pass, nope! Nuh-uh, not happening! Never! ...no!" Kim feverishly shook her head. "And I don't want you guys to listen to his nonsense either!"
"I don't know, Kim, it does look like a pretty interesting and fun way to eat a cupcake. ...eh, why not give it a shot?" Cookie started to split her cake in half before putting one half on top.
"Sorry, Kim, nothing wrong with trying new things."
"I'm going to eat mine like this to spite you, Kim." Frankie also followed suit, much to her dismay.
"Heh heh, see? Now, dese guys aren't afraid of addin' a little more excitement to deir lives! Whaddya say, Kim, feel like joinin' us and bein' one of da cool kids?" teased Chuck, bobbing his brows at a mortified Kim.
"N-N-No way... I refuse! I refuse to be a part of your messed up eating shenanigans! A-And... how dare you find yourselves brainwashed by the craziness he's feeding you?! I don't know you! I don't know any of you, aaaggh!"
All of a sudden, Kim ran out the bakery to the rest of the squad's confusion. That felt odd... they've known Kim for being a goofball and a bit too over-the-top at times, but it seemed hard to tell if she was acting or seriously freaked out about this.
"And that just happened..." the lavender-haired boy took a bite of his cupcake sandwich. "Hmm, you weren't kidding, Chuck, this truly is the optimal way of eating a cupcake. Perhaps, you're not a total dunce after all."
"I'm just gonna act like dat was a compliment but no problem, man! Glad I could put things in a whole new perspective for ya," Chuck grinned, turning to Cookie who didn't eat her cupcake yet. "Say, Cook, you and Kim are real close, you know if she's gonna cool down after dat little episode?"
"Probably, for all I know, she's just making a big deal out of nothing. It's not the first time something like this has happened with Kim." answered the girl in the denim jacket.
"And it certainly won't be the last." snarked Frankie.
"Kim has a way of bouncing back from things like they never happened. I'm sure once she's relaxed and in better spirits, she'll look back on everything she's done and feel pretty stupid. Give her some time and she'll be back to her regular self before you know it."
"Hmph, if you say so." shrugged the Brooklyn boy, not convinced by the girl's claim.
Little did the others know that Kim didn't plan on taking Chuck's unique ways of eating sitting down. Storming back home, she took to her computer to take her food feud to another level. On MealTicket, a food-based social media site for the food-fighting community, the ponytailed girl went ahead and called out Chuck for his obscure eating habits to her followers, even calling his harmless actions "a crime against the food world." And if that wasn't enough, she put together a type of chart showing the "right way" to eat certain foods, including pizza and cupcakes, to really add salt to the wound. She titled it, "Kim's Good-Eating Gospel", but then again, she considered anything that came out of her mouth gospel anyway. Much to her surprise, the Korean girl managed to gain more followers and people even thanked her for opening her eyes. Or rather, she blocked out(or literally blocked) those who questioned her opinions. It's her opinion, why does it matter if she's wrong?
The day after, Cookie, Frankie, and Chuck were all at Mama Sug's again without Kim present. They were aware of what happened on MealTicket with Kim and her "preaching", but they didn't think much of it. And they didn't think of adding more fuel to the fire by responding.
"Gosh, I wonder what's going on with Kim. I've been texting her all night and morning, but she hasn't responded. She can't be that upset about the way you eat, Chuck." Cookie spoke.
"Eh, dat's her problem and hers alone. Thought about replyin' but what good would dat do?" Chuck shrugged, still indifferent about the whole thing.
"Well, you have her legion of mindless followers to deal with, which could get messy quite fast. I will say, while I don't care for this whole debacle on how to eat certain foods, this drama has been giving me the entertainment I needed for the week." remarked Frankie.
"Frankie, don't encourage this! If Kim doesn't stop by, I'll come to her house and talk her out of this drama. We only need good, positive vibes around here." the girl with the bun was then surprised to see Kim enter the bakery with her phone out.
"Chuck, you've got some explaining to do, mister!" the ponytailed girl trudged up to the Brooklyn boy, standing by the counter. "Thanks to the brilliant, inspiring chart I posted yesterday, my 957 followers, and counting, would like to know why you refuse to eat like a normal person! Namely, me!"
"Tch, get outta here. Dis whole thing is stupid, you coulda left me alone about da pizza thing and you could've let da whole cupcake thing slide, but nah. If you think I'm gonna entertain your ridiculousness, you're kiddin' yourself." Chuck huffed, folding his arms.
"Oh, okay... one more reason for everyone to think you're a loser who can't eat properly. In case you weren't aware, my followers have been going IN on you since I called you out yesterday, calling you 'mentally-challenged with food' and questioning if you're actually human. Social media can be a cruel beast, Chuckles."
"Alright, this has gone on for far too long. Why don't you just delete the posts and apologize, this is getting out of hand!" Cookie exclaimed.
"Uh, Cook, are you not aware that I got HUNDREDS of new followers out of this? No way am I gonna lose the attention I've been craving for so long!" Kim complained.
"Of course, you won't, you did dis whole thing for attention! You're such a poser, it's not even funny!" Chuck spat.
"For a poser, at least I'm a popular one who's got several people willing to back me up!"
"Guys, enough of this! Just let this thing die already! Frankie, back me up here!" the girl with the denim jacket turned to the goth boy for his thoughts.
"Man, I wish I had some popcorn..." Was all he could mutter to himself.
"But hey, if you really want me to play along, I'll play along. I'ma make my own chart and expose you for da poser you are! Now, you've really tried my patience, girly!" Chuck then stormed out of the bakery.
"Well, you've been trying it since you ate your pizza wrong and good luck trying to get anyone to side with your nonsense!" Kim argued, following him outside.
"And good luck tryin' not to cry once I show everyone you're more problematic dan ya think you are!"
"Hah, like that's gonna happen!"
"It will and you know it!"
"Ugh, this is just awful... now, they're making an even bigger deal out of their feud than before. How are we supposed to stop them?" sighed Cookie.
"Why stop them? We'll just sit back and let them do each other in..." Frankie fixed on a wicked smirk.
"Alright, fine, we'll stop the flame war before it starts... you should know there's nothing wrong with a little drama, Cookie. You don't have to play peacemaker all the time."
"Well, somebody has to. It's not an easy job, but someone's gotta keep you guys from killing each other. Let's just hope that won't really be the case after all this."
"Though, it would be a rather refreshing end to their scuffle..."
"I was joking, sheesh... half-joking, at least."
Having no other choice, Chuck decided to fight back with his own post, calling out Kim on MealTicket, and made his own chart to combat hers titled, "Eat Like A Champ." And though, he did gain more flack from detractors, mainly from Kim's side, the Brooklyn boy managed to acquire a few fans himself. Granted, he had fewer followers on his account than the Korean girl, but the number did increase to the hundreds. Soon enough, the food feud began to explode on the food-fighting community site. Posts upon posts from many users, either sealed with #TeamKim or #TeamChuck. No one knew that their little dispute would be taken to new heights, not even someone obsessed with being web-famous like Kim saw this coming. But if this meant finally getting her name out there, better keep the charade going. Though, not everyone seemed amused by the whole internet war.
Cookie and Frankie thought they would grab some boba together to discuss how to break up Kim and Chuck's feud, but heading down the streets of New Pork, the two were greeted by a mob of people parading with signs that either said Team Kim or Team Chuck, with or without the hashtag. How insane. This was unheard of. Who would've thought the petty war would be taken so seriously that people on either side would go out and express their opinions? It left both Cookie and Frankie quite dumbfounded, seeing people chant and march and even some having fist fights with each other for being on opposing sides. They couldn't make this up if they wanted to.
"...idiots." Frankie grumbled with folded arms.
"Yep, this has definitely gotten out of hand. And I don't see Kim or Chuck anywhere, where could they be?" Cookie searched through the crowd of people.
"They're both at City Hall, which is where you both should be going if you want to hear Kim's passionate speech about not biting your popsicles. It's honestly a crime if you do that!" a woman spoke to the two before a male came over.
"Well, it's a crime to take your sweet time licking popsicles! Chuck's got it right, by biting them, you can eat 'em in less time! The more time you waste, the more it'll melt! There's honestly no point in licking!" the man interjected.
"And there's no point in listening to a moronic Chuck follower, get out of my face!"
"No, you get out of mine, woman! Of course, you would be stupid enough to believe a little girl who doesn't know jack about eating! Great minds think alike, huh?"
"How dare you! In the name of Team Kim, I shall punish you! Raargh!"
Before they knew it, Cookie and Frankie watched the two grapple on the concrete while exchanging insults.
"Ugh... okay, if that's not a sign that we need to put an end to this mess, then I don't know what else. People are actually fighting over two peoples' opinions, how is it making things any better?" sighed the girl with the bun.
"It's not, this basically proves that people will go above and beyond to prove they're right about something, even if it means making themselves look like lunatics in the process. There's many things you can end, but stupidity isn't one of them." the goth boy spoke.
"Sad, but true. The least we can do is get Kim and Chuck to stop everything and make up, we need the Sugar Squad to be a squad again."
"I don't know, maybe we're better off as a duo since we're the more mentally stable of the group."
"Frankie, you can't tell me you don't want Kim and Chuck to stop fighting. You care about them just as much as I do, don't you?"
With a huff, Frankie looked away with an embarrassed expression, "S-Shouldn't we be grabbing boba first? I'm in dire need of some."
"Okay, we'll get some and then, we'll figure out how to go about ending this," insisted Cookie, strolling along with the boy. "But out of curiosity, do you bite or lick your popsicles?"
"I'm not too partial to frozen desserts but if I had to say, I'm more of a biter. And you appear to be someone who prefers to lick."
"Heh, how could you tell?"
After getting boba, the two went around and asked a few people from either Kim or Chuck's side why they agreed with them, before they could get caught in the middle of another street brawl.
Chatting with a pudgy male siding with Kim, he said, "I agree with Kim because her opinions make more sense. What sane person doesn't eat PB&J with grape jelly?"
"I'm more of a strawberry jelly person myself." Frankie outright claimed.
"Then, you can get away from me and flock with the other Chuck chumps for all I care. Get away, scram! Shoo!"
Next, the two chatted with a young woman with a more slim build, who happened to be siding with Chuck.
"Duh, obviously, Chuck knows how food is supposed to be eaten. People say that, 'You should eat the way you want! It's a free country!' But honestly, who cares? If I don't agree on how you eat something, then it's wrong." the woman explained bluntly.
"Gosh, how dare people have different opinions? Shame on them." snarked Frankie.
"But don't you think that maybe you shouldn't harp on someone for eating the way they want to? Just because they do something differently doesn't mean it's wrong." Cookie tried to reason.
"Huh, what did you say? I don't listen to people who wanna argue with me, especially a Kim follower with no common sense. Get lost! Hope karma bites ya where it hurts!" the woman shouted.
"Same to you, ma'am!" spat the goth boy.
Then, Cookie and Frankie spoke to an elderly woman strolling by, who didn't carry a sign or anything to show she took part in the feud.
"I was just minding my business until all these people started parading. And I didn't think the people of this city would be so passionate, yet aggressive about those with different opinions. It's quite troubling, to be honest." She said.
"I know, right? And you want this to end as much as we do, don't you?" asked Cookie.
"Exactly, young lady. If you and your friend can figure out a way to do that, I would be most grateful. Best of luck to you both."
"Welp, you heard her, Frankie. If anyone's gotta put a stop to this, it's us and I think I know just the way to do it too! To the arts and crafts store!"
"Um, why are we going there? Are we going to draw caricatures of Kim and Chuck? Because I can whip up some if you need me to." questioned Frankie.
"Nope, we're gonna do something even better!" chirped Cookie, rushing to the store with her pal.
"But what's better than offensive portraits of your friends?"
Meanwhile at City Hall, Kim and Chuck both stood before the aggravated mob of rioters still quarreling with each other.
"And dat, people, is why you oughta listen to me-" the boy from Brooklyn began before the ponytailed girl shoved him aside.
"No, don't let this foolish boy poison your minds with his illogical logic! There's only one person you can trust with your eating habits and that's Kim, the Eating Queen!" Kim chirped.
"Sure, if you're willin' to call yourself a pig given how ya eat!"
"Nah, but I'm willing to call you a straight-up weirdo for your weird eating ways, you weirdo!"
"You dumb, fat pig!"
"You weird-eating weirdo!"
All of a sudden, everyone's eyes were directed at Cookie and Frankie, coming up the stairs to where Chuck and Kim stood. And Cookie appeared to be holding a white poster board.
"Hey, it's those stupid Kim followers again, what do you want now?! Can't you see we're in the middle of something important?!" the woman the two spoke to earlier cried out, shaking a fist at them.
"If this is about how you refuse to see the good in grape jelly, then I want nothing to do with it." the pudgy male, the one who sided with Kim, looked away with indifference.
"Uh, heh... Cookie, Frankie, what do you think you're doing?" Kim gave the two an uneasy smile.
"Yeah, I'm tryin' to show dese guys why Kim's terrible at preachin' about how people should eat! Dey gotta listen to a real expert like me!" Chuck spat.
"I mean, if you really wanna call yourself an expert on eating like a complete dork!"
"Nah, you're da dork!"
"And this is exactly why we decided to toss our hat into the ring." Cookie spoke.
"Though, I plan to keep mine firmly planted on my head," snarked Frankie, laying his narrowed light blue eyes on the crowd. "But since you imbeciles are so close-minded and dead-set on proving who's more knowledgeable when it comes to eating, allow us to intervene with our opinion in the form of our own chart. Cookie, are you ready to reveal our rather divisive opinion to the world?"
"Without a doubt, here it is!"
With that, the two held up the poster board, which said in marker in a rainbow of colors, "Let People Eat The Way They Want!" Seeing it, a few of rioters, including Kim and Chuck, were confused as to why they needed to be presented with this. A few even called them out, asking if this was a joke made to mock to the whole ordeal.
"Quite a shocker, huh? Now, I know you're all wondering why we went ahead and made this and it's really a no-brainer. Instead of criticizing each other and getting at each other's throats for eating something a different way, either it's pizza, cupcakes, or popsicles, just respect it. Every single one of us is different with our own thoughts and feelings. Our own ways of thinking. Can you imagine how boring society would be if everyone did the same thing? Shared the same opinions? I just can't imagine having to live with that." explained the girl in the denim jacket.
"As can't I, but what we're trying to tell you all is that no one deserves to be mocked for doing something a certain way. Especially with it comes to eating. We all need to eat to live, so why is such a big deal that someone eats differently? You've all wasted your time coming out to riot for what? What exactly? Nothing. Nothing that will change the way people do things. You can't change anyone and you never will because that's why we're all unique." added the goth boy.
"So, if you have nothing better to do, please go home and reflect on your actions. Realize it's not worth it losing your mind over someone else's opinion."
"You heard our piece, now LEAVE!"
That being said, all the rioters slowly took their leave from the steps of City Hall, but not without one last word from the female Chuck follower.
"You're all still a bunch of morons!" She roared back.
"Right back at you, lady!" Kim retorted, directing her attention back to the others. "So, uh... you guys really went out of your way to get us to stop fighting, huh?"
"Yep, and you would say, 'You're welcome'! But is there anything you would like to say to each other?" Cookie asked the two.
"Uh... you heard her, Chuck, anytime now!"
"Wait, what? Why do I gotta apologize, da whole thing was your fault! You started it!" Chuck barked.
"No, you started with your folding-pizza nonsense!" the ponytailed girl snapped.
"Er, actually, Chuck does have a point... gosh, that does not feel right to say." Frankie began.
"Oh, screw you, Frank!" the boy from Brooklyn exclaimed.
"None of this would've happened had you not criticized him for eating his pizza differently."
"Ugh..." Kim gritted her teeth and moaned, she never liked being wrong about anything and having to own up to that did not feel good at all. "Alright, I'm sorry for giving ya a hard time about how you eat, Chuck. Really wasn't cool of me."
"Eh, it's cool and I'm sorry too. Learnin' my lesson from all dis, I ain't judgin' you or anyone 'bout how dey eat again." Chuck shared a grin with the girl.
"But! It should be an exception if you do it in a joking manner, 'cause who doesn't love jokes?"
"Heh heh, right?"
"Oh, this is just wonderful! I'm so, so glad you two finally made up, thought it would take a miracle to get you guys to give a rest. But now, the Sugar Squad's back to being a squad again! Just like it should be! Now, let's go grab some more pizza to celebrate!" chirped Cookie, clapping her hands together.
"Sweet, nothin' like a little slice of Donello's to-" began the boy with the beanie.
"Uh... why don't we eat at another pizza place, just to be on the safe side."
"Fine with me, pizza's good anywhere the way I see it!" said Kim, strolling along with the gang down the street.
"When we get our pizza, I'm going to eat mine with a knife and fork just to spite you guys." Frankie sneered, unaware of the looks of horror from Kim and Chuck, but felt humored by Cookie's giggling.