It looked like a chocolate convention. All the power bars were present, neatly placed around the table for what could have been the sugar rush of the millennium.
Only the M&Ms were missing. They couldn't decide if Red or Blue should run their organized family.
It was Don Hersheoni who called the meeting to order. His right-hand body guard bar, Ressiano Cupini stayed close to the chocolate patriarch's side.
"I, Don Hersheoni, want to thank Don Nestleoni for helping me organize this meeting here today. I also welcome the other heads of the five chocolate families. From Nashville, we have Googoo Cluseterino. From the West Coast, we have Don Seesino. And, we have our associates from the interplanetary syndicate – Mars Bariano and Milky Wayini. Thank you!
"How did things ever get this far? I don't know. It's so unfortunate, so unnecessary for the feds to assume we're behind the reason their children are chunky. Because of it, Don Nestlenoi's son got crunched. I, too, lost a family member close to my heart when my nephew, Almondo Joiano, was done in because some senator's son had an allergic reaction to nuts.
"This chocolate war stops now! And if Kit Katsini and his impersonator Kit Katsiano agree, then I'm willing to let things go on the way they were before."
Don Nestleoni cracked his rice knuckles as Don Katsini offered his response.
"We're all grateful to Don Hersheoni for calling this meeting. We know him as a chocolate bar of his word. A modest bar, he'll always listen to reason."
But Googoo Clusterino had not stayed in business by remaining silent. He had to offer his caramel-coated comments.
"Yes, Don Hersheoni is too modest. He had all the FDA dieticians and holiday promoters in his wrapper and refused to share them."
"When did I refuse an accommodation?" Don Hersheoni asked. "All of you know me here. When did I ever refuse, except one time? For what? Because high-fat milk and saturated fat in our products are going to destroy us in years to come.
"I mean it's not like bagged spinach with e-coli or lettuce harvested from soil with traces of bacteria. Fresh green roughage is something most people want now days, and some of it has been ordered off the shelves by the USDA.
"Even the health departments and the holiday promoters who have assisted us in the past will all refuse to help us when it comes to chocolate with a high-fat, high-sugar content. I believed that when I saw that senator's preadolescent son inflate to 200 pounds. And, I believe that now."
Mars Bariano could not resist offering his intergalactic view of current day consumption.
"Times have changed. It's not like the old days when we could use any ingredients we wanted. A refusal is not an act of a friend. If Don Hersheoni has all the FDA dieticians and holiday promoters in his wrapper, then he must share them, let others use them. He must let us draw the chocolate from the vat."
However, Don Seesino had always considered his family to be of superior quality. He wanted to make sure his assorted chocolate family continued to exude temptation.
"I also do not believe in empty calories. For years, I paid my William Wonkarinos extra so they wouldn't use anything but the best goobers and fruit in our products. Then, Whitman Sampliano's flunky comes to them and says, 'Hey fellows, if you put up three or four thousand dollars for store brand peanut butter and crisp rice cereal, we can make fifty thousand distributing at holidays.' So my Willies can't resist."
Milky Wayini also viewed himself as a chocolate bar of star quality. He wanted assurance Don Seesino wouldn't try to compete with Milky Wayini Enterprises.
"I want to control it as a business and keep it respectable. I don't want our bars near schools. I don't want Hersheoni Kisses sold to children. In my galaxy, we would keep the traffic to dark chocolate lovers, the colored lovers. They're animals anyway, so let them lose their souls."
Don Hersheoni got the meeting back on track.
"I hoped that we could come here and reason together. And as a reasonable chocolate bar, I'm willing to do whatever is necessary to find a peaceful solution to this problem."
"Then we all agree," Mars Bariano confirmed. "The traffic of chocolate candy will be permitted, but controlled. And, Don Hersheoni will give us protection, and there will be peace."
"But I must have strict assurance from Don Hersheoni," Don Clusterino said with a drawl. "As time goes by and his position becomes stronger, will he attempt any individual vendetta?"
"Look, we are all reasonable chocolate bars here," Don Nestleoni bellowed. "We don't have to give assurances as if we were lawyers."
"Talk about vengeance," Don Hersheoni replied. "Is vengeance going to bring your son back to you or my nephew back to me? I forego the vengeance of my nephew. But, I have selfish reasons. My youngest son, Baby Ruthiano, is supposed to leave this country because of his commercial business. And, I have to bring him back here safely clear of all his false charges.
"I'm a reasonable chocolate bar, but I'm also superstitious. If Baby Ruthiano gets his nugget smashed by one of Butter Fingerino's bars, or if Baby should choke himself on his peanuts or if he's melted by a lightning bolt, then I'm going to shred some of the bars in this room to coconut and put them in mounds. That I will not forgive.
"With that aside, let me say that I swear on the souls of my future chocolate products, that I will not be the one to break the peace that we've made here today."
While riding home from the meeting, Reesiano Cupini sat in the back of the limo and contemplated future business negotiations. After all, Christmas was just around the corner and Easter came on the Yuletide cusp. These were major business days for those whose lives were tied to the chocolate syndicate.
"When I meet with Kit Katsini's people, should I insist that Santiago Clausette and Eastere Bunnioni and all the other middle mascots for the holiday promoters have clean records?" Cupini asked Don Hersheoni.
"Mention it," the Don responded. "Don't insist. Katsini is a chocolate bar who will know without being told."
"You mean Katsiano?" Reesiano Cupini inquired.
"Katsiano is a pimp," Don Hersheoni said calmly. "He never could afford dark chocolate and low-cal sweetener. But, I never knew until this day that it was Katsiano all along."