Today, I have a story to tell you. There is a short review at the bottom, but I highly recommend reading the story. It is a story detailing some of my activities as a young lad (last week). It begins with my time as a very specific kind of law enforcement officer.
I WALKED into the main office building of the Federal Bureau of Foreign Culinary Relations, or FBFCR. My secretary, Barbara, soon told me that the commissioner wanted to see me in his office, immediately. At the time, I was a young, successful, and very motivated young investigator, with numerous cases under my belt, from facilitating the growth of the edible Mangoustani diaspora after the East-West Mangoustan split, to making sure that the Vast Soursop Conspiracy remains a conspira–I can’t say more. Anyhow, I entered the commissioners office.
“Alright, Agent Kimbel-Sannit,” he said. “You have a series of choices for your next assignment. One, you can try to assassinate the Foreign Foods Minister of East Mangoustan. Two, you can see why the Croatian Connection has gone dark, and why they’ve stopped assisting us in our quest to discover the true taste of Ledena filing in Dorina brand chocolate bars. Or, you can silence an overly sly individual who is snooping around the bowels of various soursop production facilities.”
“What’s this about Ledena?” I said.
The commissioner responded, “Well, it is the flavor of a specific kind of Croatian Candy produced by Dorina. However, it gives no information as to what Ledena is, and the word doesn’t check out with any of our translators. The wrapper depicts a series of clear cubes–either ice chunks or rough cut diamonds. As none of our tasters have gotten rich, or choked from consumption of a rock, we need to figure out what the ice cube signifies, and what Ledena is.”
“Well… I suppose I’ll take that case, then,” I said.
“Good,” the commissioner responded, “as I wasn’t going to give you a choice anyway. You need to fly to Croatia and see what’s going on over there. We have a contact in the Croatian government, who is no friend of the Foreign Foods ministry. She’ll help you figure out what’s going on. You leave tomorrow. Be careful, though, as the Croatian Culinary Cabinet is Crammed with Cruel Communism.”
“Fine. I’ll return with the results,” I said.
I LANDED at the airport in Zagreb without knowing what was to come next. I stepped out onto the street, met with a cool breeze, with an almost minty quality. However, something felt…off. A woman in a tight black leather jumpsuit approached me.
“You must be Tatiana, my contact,” I said.
“How did you know that my name was Tatiana?” She responded.
“Well,” I said, “women who wear tight black leather outfits have to be named Tatiana, and women named Tatiana have to be contacts to various secret agents and government workers.”
“You are very good. Agent Kimbel-Sannit, I presume?” She said.
“Indeed,” I responded.
“Here’s the deal. This isn’t a movie, so you DO NOT have time to seduce me. The building of the Croatian Connection is around the corner. However, a bomb went off in front of it during your trip here. The building is fine, but it is roped off. I imagine that whoever, or whatever, is stopping the Ledena identification process will have used the opportunity to sneak into the building. You must do the same.”
“Agh! Damn those crafty conniving Croatian communist culinary cloggers!” I said, angered.
WE WENT to the building, thinking of ways to get in. The lights were off, as the building had been evacuated. However, from the back of the building, we could see a faint white glow coming through an open window.
“A computer,” we said in unison.
“I’ll clamber up into the window, and hide behind something. I’m unarmed, but I imagine you are not. I’ll throw something down if there is someone there, and if there isn’t, I’ll come down myself. If someone is there, and I give the signal, come in too,” Tatiana said. I agreed, and stood by as she climbed up through the window. Unsurprisingly, the signal came. A stapler hit the ground beneath the window with a thud, and I quickly made my way up to and through the window. We made eye contact, and she gestured towards the computer. A man sat hunched over the screen. He appeared to be deleting files.
“Ah!” I whispered. “The Croatians had the information all along. They were witholding it from us!” Tatiana nodded, and I stood up from behind a desk we were hiding behind, pulling out my pistol. I yelled, in my mediocre Croatian.
“Stop whatever you are doing, and turn around with your hands up!” I hollered. The man complied. I checked the screen, keeping my gun on the man, only to see that all of the files were gone. “Tell me!” I said.
“Tell you what?” He was flustered, and clearly afraid. I could tell by his lack of composure and nice clothing that he worked for the Croatian government. He probably thought he was safe.
“Ledena! What is it? You can’t distribute it without stating what it is!”
“Never, you capitalist pig!” He responded.
“Fine, then. Before I shoot you, tell me why you deleted the files!”
“Never!” He said. I saw that he had something sticking out of his pocket. I wasn’t sure, but it looked like a flash drive. I didn’t know what else it could have been. So, I shot it out of his pocket. He wasn’t hurt, but he was now even more frightened, and worried at the loss of the drive. “Fine,” he said. “We were sick of you westerners telling us how to eat our food. Ledena was the only thing you didn’t know about, so the head of the Foreign Foods Ministry contacted us, telling us that if we stopped you from knowing about Ledena, they would join us in creating a Workers Utopia, filled with food for the people–the Croatian People.”
“Whatever. I don’t really care about your politics. Tell me what Ledena is. You are just a pawn of the Connection and the Ministry. They will go corrupt. You don’t need to ally with them. Tell me.”
“Okay, I give. Ledena is–”
“Don’t tell him, Agent Yogreb.” Tatiana said. She had a gun pointed at my back. I dropped mine.
“You know each other!? Agh, you DO sleep with government agents, you liar!” I yelled.
She ignored me. “Tell me, she said. I want to help realize your dream. You are not a pawn. You are a person. A worker. The information needs to exist in two places, with the flash drive gone.” He approved, and whispered into her ear. She nodded. He made his way out the door. However, as he did, she spun around and drove a bullet through his skull.
“Well, you’re indecisive today, aren’t you,” I said.
“Stop with the jokes. You might make me want to kill you yet.”
“So, what is it? What is Ledena?” I said.
“Get headquarters on the phone. Tell them that Ledena flavor is actually a combination of menthol and lemon, and that the ice cubes indicate the minty flavor,” she said.
“Ah! It all makes sense now,” I responded. “So, does this mean that–”
“No, you still may not try to seduce me,” she said.
“Whatever.” I made my way out, and down the window, looking for the nearest phone booth. I was content, knowing that I had solved the great Croatian Confection Caper, and only in two blog-days.
In all seriousness, however, David and I did try a Dorina Ledena chocolate bar, and the taste was…ambiguous. It was sort of minty, but it did have a sort of citrusy taste. Other bystanders, when offered the chocolate, could not come to a conclusion in regards to the taste either. There was no indication on the wrapper, save for the ice cubes on the front. Eventually, I decided to do some secret agent work myself, and I ventured to the dark, corrupt land of Google. Multiple pages in, I found the answer. Ledena is menthol and lemon. Imagine a taste resembling such. When encased in dark chocolate, it tastes like a sort of sickly peppermint and chocolate patty. I didn’t enjoy the taste originally, but it sort of grew on me. When all was said and consumed, I wasn’t particularly pleased with me Ledena experience. Well, you win some and you lose some.