KOENIGSBERG – It started off a day just like any other. My colleague and I had just finished a performance of our play I’m Margaret Thatcher, I Is! at Atlas’s Lab II venue (plug plug plug). After a long day on the job, we decided to stop by H &Pizza, like so many times before. After all, it isn’t Fringe if you don’t stop at &Pizza.
We were enjoying our meals and the company of friends, when something caught my eye. In all my years, I believed that the large black barn door in the front of the restaurant to be a wall. How wrong I was, because this door was wide open, and on the other side was a staircase you could barely make out. And much like that mysterious door, this case was about to be blown wide open too. What secrets lie behind such a facade? What are you hiding H &Pizza?
I was already suspicious about how they got their pizza to taste so good, but this door could just be the missing link I needed. There was no way to see what was atop that staircase though, and it was very obviously off limits to the unsuspecting public, so I quietly kept my suspicions to myself. After all, if you’re gonna plant a garden, you gotta get your hands dirty.
I knew that whatever this was, it was big, I could feel it. It was then that I knew that if I were to get the answers I sought, I’d need help. And I knew just the man for the job.
WALSH – Koenigsberg approached me one night at the bar I frequent downtown. Looking up from my whiskey, I saw a look in his eyes I hadn’t seen in years. Said he had a scoop, but I wasn’t buying it. Told him I was out of the game. I had already lost so much.
“It’s about H &Pizza” he growled.
I sighed, extinguished my cigarette, and ordered the bartender to bring me another alcohol drink. I was in.
Also I was wearing a hat.
KOENIGSBERG – At this point I had very little to go off of, just a detective’s intuition and a memory, one that was fading far too fast. So Walsh and I returned to the establishment, ready to investigate.
WALSH – We ordered our delicious pizzas and approached the woman operating their register.
“My associate and I recently noticed that that wall over there is more than it seems. What treasures do you keep behind this mystery door.” I requested, flashing her my badge.
“Oh, it’s just the upstairs.” She responded. A confession. She admitted to the existence of an upstairs. We had her. I pushed further.
“And what’s kept upstairs?” I asked, taking another drag from my cigarette.
“Just the break area for the employees and a private bathroom.” She handed us our change. I took another swig off my hip flask and returned to the seating area. We had hit a dead end. Now the real work would begin.
KOENIGSBERG – I’ve never been the interrogator type, the chief always said I had a baby face, so while Walsh squeaked some answers out of the cashier, I was doing recon. Several things struck me from a single glance. The whole restaurant was painted black and white, even the photographs on the wall. At first I thought this to be simply a modern aesthetic, but then I looked a little deeper. Written on the signs that hung above our heads were things like “Jump the line.” and “Cereal Milk &Cream Soda”. They also had a menu item dubbed “Moonstruck”. That’s when it all clicked into place…
“Jump the line”; “Moonstruck”: Jumped over the moon. And who else to jump over the moon but cows? That’s why the restaurant was all black and white, and why they had milk on tap. The secret they must be hiding had something to do with the cows.
WALSH – I remember the menu items listed on the sign above the kitchen.
I furrowed my brow and looked closer. Pulling out my little notepad that I use because I’m an investigative journalist, I jotted down each items’ quirky name. Then it hit me. Anagrams. We were in way deeper than I could have imagined. Here it was, right under our noses the whole time. Spelled out as plain as day.
All you have to do is rearrange the letters of their menu items, and you’re left with the phrase “The Farmer’s Magic Milk.” Damning evidence. H &Pizza clearly keeps a secret magic cow in their upstairs hideout, to produce their magic milk and make the delicious cheese we’ve all come to love. That’s why their pizza is as irresistible as it is! Magic cow cheese! All you have to do is just ignore the other 49 remaining letters and everything wraps up nicely. We were through the looking glass.
KOENIGSBERG – I wasn’t done there though. Sure, Walsh managed to find the cows’ true place in all this, but I still wondered how they got here. I then turned to those remaining 49 letters of mystery. While they didn’t form one cohesive idea, each word continued to open up another realm of possibility. Here’s what remained: “OG” (aka Original), “Daughter”, “Vericknar”, “Loon-struck”, “Pneappejac”, and “Salad Pizza”.
At first I wondered what any of this was, or if it was even real. But the harder I thought, the more convinced I became, until I reached a moment of catharsis while gazing into my own reflection in a bathroom mirror. I thought to myself: “Koenigsberg, you’ve really done it this time, you’ve cracked the big one!”
It was all so simple! You see the original daughter of Vericknar, king of the space cows, was sent to Earth after their home planet of Pneappejac was struck down by space loons. This was clearly a last ditch attempt at preserving their species, but unfortunately this cow found herself stuck within the confines of a city, and not the open rolling fields of cow country. And also Salad Pizza.
But alas, this was beyond my jurisdiction; and besides, I’d hate for H &Pizza to lose their ability to make magic cheese for all of us festival attendees to enjoy. It was with great sorrow that I abandoned the case, along with the free beverage promotion they had running alongside the festival to my unknowing.
WALSH – I too was incredibly disappointed in myself for not taking advantage of the free drink offer that comes with your Fringe button, but I’d have to leave the past in the past and keep moving forward. I said goodbye to Koenigsberg that day. Choking back emotion as I boarded my plane, knowing I’d miss the kid as time rolled on. I sighed and sipped my gin as we took off. The war was coming.
David Koenigsberg just found a chunk of blue plastic in his chicken nugget. He remained unphased. He is also AnyStage Theater’s Head of Creative Concepts.