"Pizza Night At Tapper's Tavern" is a mini-story in the EMPATH: The Luckiest Smurf series.
It was evening at Tapper's Tavern, and Tapper the village bartender noticed that every Smurf in the place was in a foul mood.
"Great Smurfiny Crickets!" he said. "Did something terrible happen in the village today that smurfed everybody to be under this dark cloud?"
"Yeah," one Smurf said. "Greedy's dinner! It was the absolute worst!"
"Uggh," another Smurf said. "Was Greedy experimenting with food again?"
"It was more like smurfing one of Papa Smurf's experiments than an actual dinner," a third Smurf said.
"I hate smurfing one of Papa Smurf's experiments," Grouchy said.
"Actually, I think Culinary was to blame for this mess of what they called dinner, Tapper," a fourth Smurf said.
"I'm sorry to hear that, my fellow Smurfs," Tapper said. "I was rather busy smurfing the ale today that I hardly smurfed any time to eat."
"Biscotti's been busy at his shop as well," the first Smurf said. "No idea what he was smurfing, but it sure smurfed real good!"
"Well, I'm not in the mood for any cakes or pies right now!" the second Smurf said.
"Yeah, we need some real smurfy food to smurf in our stomachs," the third Smurf said.
"It's too bad Tapper's Tavern isn't a restaurant, though," the fourth Smurf said. "I would love to smurf something different right about now."
"The only thing I have at the counter are these hazelnuts," Tapper said, putting out a bowl of the nuts.
"Ale and nuts are more for a snack, not a meal," a fifth Smurf said.
"Quick...smurf on the food, I'm smurfing from hunger," a sixth Smurf said, acting like he hasn't eaten food in days.
"Well, I'm certainly going to tell Papa Smurf that Greedy's cooking isn't up to his usual standards, and Papa Smurf is going to smurf some words with him, because even Papa Smurf would be displeased at the quality of the food that was smurfed tonight...," Brainy said.
There was a knock on the door. "Excuse me, fellow Smurfs, but this smurf has a special delivery for Tapper Smurf," a familiar voice said.
One of the Smurfs opened the door, and it was Empath Smurf carrying a stack of flat boxes, and from the boxes smelled something that was hot, fresh, and tantalizing. "Great Smurfiny Crickets, Empath," Tapper said. "What are you smurfing into the tavern tonight?"
"A little something from Biscotti's bakery called pizza," Empath answered. "It's the answer to everybody's woes concerning the meal we had tonight."
"Pizza?" every Smurf in the tavern wondered. Whatever it was, it certainly smelled delicious.
Empath took one of the boxes off the top of the stack and opened it, revealing a small flat round pie with tomato sauce, cheese, and various types of vegetable toppings. He handed a slice to one of the Smurfs approaching the counter.
He took a bite of the slice. "Mmmm...now that is truly satisfying," he said with a smile.
Empath stood behind the counter and served every Smurf a slice from the boxes. He could see that every Smurf enjoyed how a pizza tasted.
"Why not try a slice for yourself, Tapper?" Empath suggested, handing him one.
Tapper took the slice and took a bite from it. "A very interesting delicacy," he commented. "Did Biscotti come up with this idea himself?"
"Actually, this was the work of both Biscotti and Culinary, Tapper," Empath answered. "Culinary suggested pouring tomato sauce and cheese onto the flattened bread before baking, and then Biscotti baked it and tried it out for himself. Apparently he liked it so much that he decided to devote part of his time to making these pies when Smurfs want more than just breads and desserts from him."
"Hmmm...I wonder what Greedy would have to say about this," Tapper wondered.
"This smurf doubts that Greedy would turn something like this down, Tapper," Empath said. "If anything, he would probably thank Biscotti and Culinary for saving the Smurfs from such a disastrous meal."
"Or maybe Greedy would want to smurf his hand at making these...pizzas," Tapper said as he took another bite.
"My compliments will certainly go to the chef for this wonderful alternative to tonight's dinner, I must say," Brainy said.
"You think we'd have another pizza night here at the tavern, Tapper?" one of the Smurfs asked.
Tapper pondered. "It would have to be for a special occasion, that's all I'll have to smurf," he said.
"Smurfball night!" one of the Smurfs shouted. "We got to have one for smurfball night!"
The other Smurfs seemed to be shouting in approval to that idea.
"This is my tavern, but I would like to hear your idea of what I should smurf," Tapper told Empath.
"Your customers seem to enjoy the idea of a pizza night, Tapper," Empath said. "This smurf will talk to Biscotti and see what we can do for such an event."
Tapper sighed. "Then maybe I should smurf another slice with a good mug of ale to smurf it down."
"Pizza and ale," Empath said. "This smurf couldn't think of anything better on a night like this!"
Just then there was a knock on the door. It was Papa Smurf who was carrying several more flat boxes of pizza, with the Smurflings following it after him. "Don't mind if I let the Smurflings smurf into the tavern to enjoy this new delicacy?" Papa Smurf asked.
"Aye, Papa Smurf, they're more than welcome to join us," Tapper answered.
"Smurfabunga!" all four of the Smurflings shouted with joy as they entered the tavern.
After the Smurflings had their slices served, Papa Smurf talked with Empath and Tapper. "You know, this pizza could become very popular in the Smurf Village, that the Smurfs might not want to smurf anything else for dinner," Papa Smurf said as he ate his slice.
"Greedy may not like having to smurf competition against his own style of cooking in the long run," Tapper said.
"This smurf senses from Greedy that it could be true, Tapper," Empath said. "But it could also inspire Greedy to improve on his culinary skills, to offer something that his fellow Smurfs couldn't in the aspect of delicious food."
"I don't think you'll have much complaints from Greedy, since I smurfed him one of Biscotti's pizzas on my way over here," Papa Smurf said.
"And this smurf can surmise that Greedy must have enjoyed this new food creation," Empath said.
Papa Smurf chuckled. "Well, let's just say it's a mild way of smurfing it."
Just then, all the Smurfs were crowding around the counter, hoping to get another slice of the pizza, including the Smurflings.
Empath smiled. "Okay, okay, one at a time. Let's make sure everybody who wants another slice gets one."
"Here, smurf one of these slices for Smurfette while I handle smurfing the slices for every Smurf here," Tapper said as he served a slice onto a cloth napkin.
Empath went over to Smurfette's house, where she was busy watching over Baby Smurf. "Who is it?" she called out when Empath knocked on the door.
"It's me, Empath Smurf," he announced. "Would you please step outside to try out a little something from Biscotti's bakery?"
Smurfette quietly opened the door. "Oooh, what is it?" Smurfette asked when she saw the slice of pizza in Empath's hand on a napkin.
"It's called a pizza, Smurfette," Empath said. "This smurf brought you over a slice so you can try it for yourself."
Smurfette took the slice and tried it for herself. "Mmmm...it's so hot and the cheese is just so gooey," she said after she took her first bite.
"This smurf notices that the cheese stretches whenever you take a bite," Empath said. "So how do you like it?"
"It's not bad, Empath," Smurfette said. "It's certainly as fun to eat as spaghetti. I could only wish that Baby Smurf would be able to enjoy it, though."
"Given how popular it's becoming, Smurfette, he may someday be able to enjoy his own first slice of pizza," Empath said.
"Oops...this sauce is just a little bit messy," Smurfette said with a bit of a laugh.
"That shouldn't be much of a problem, Smurfette," Empath said.
Just then, Papa Smurf brought over a box of pizza. "Tapper managed to smurf a few slices left over, so I was figuring that you and Empath might want to share them together," he said.
"Oh, thank you, Papa Smurf," Smurfette said, giving him a kiss that left a mark of spaghetti sauce on his beard.
Empath chuckled. "This smurf can guess that it's part of the fun of eating pizza."