Can Burkey end world hunger and keep the Ivy open in 1,300 words?

Kirby’s Dream Land 2 (1995)

Reports indicate that the sit-down restaurant trade finds itself facing difficulties in staying viable, owing to fast-food deliveries, prices, and greater interest in home cooking. We all want to be viable, don’t we? But this sounds like pretty grim stuff. Not to worry though, you know me as a problem solver, don’t you? Therefore I’ll present my ideas to shake up the restaurateur industry, and I’ll even sort out world hunger in the process.

In the first instance, how many times have you dandered into a restaurant “on spec” and been told it’ll be a 45-minute wait? Or worse, you do actually summon both the courtesy and the bravery to call and make a reservation, only to be told that there’s nothing doing. If it’s a Dorsia-style restaurant, they may even just wet themselves laughing at you instead.

Now, this can’t be right. If you’re sat in the hospital waiting to be seen, and someone gets carted in with an enormous chunk missing out of their head, who do you think gets waved through first? There needs to be some similar form of priority queuing put in place in eateries. I propose a hungrometer, that assesses who needs feeding most desperately, and automatically allocates seating to the hungriest.

Don’t ask me how such a device could work, I’m just an ideas man. Leave that to the boffins. Perhaps it could measure the decibels of a rumbling tummy, and work out some kind of party average? The Guinness Book of Records team have equipment for measuring the loudest flatulence, so the technology is there. I really think the hungrometer will bring an across-the-board lift in customer satisfaction.

Second on my list for cuisine innovations is a simple one – improved seating. Sounds obvious, but I’m talking here about a bit of luxury, because God knows you’ll be paying for it. How about a nice recliner? Maybe even a little futon to lie down on for a bit, sleep away your food coma.

You know how it is, you’re just eaten the vast majority of a cow’s backside, and you need to undo the buttons. You lean back in the recliner and take a little rest. When you awaken, there’s your tea or coffee, maybe a bit of ice cream, and off you go to pay. I think people would pay a premium for that, don’t you?

It could even reduce the amount of unprofitable time that people spend sitting around one single drink, or when they’re just sat there chatting nonsense, with no intention of getting the bill. Behind the scenes, the old hungrometer would still be going ninety as well, which may prompt the waiting staff into giving you the hurry-up .A well-oiled machine, you see?

My next suggestion is actually one I picked up from the Greeks. No, it’s nothing to do with not paying tax – that type of thing goes without saying in the restaurant game. I’m on about having wee animals abound the restaurant. Just imagine the delight of having little kittens and puppies hop up onto the seat alongside you, tilting their head curiously as you shovel another load of pasta into your gob.

It’ll have the ladies squeeing and social meejiaing in delight, making your joint a sure first-date winner and giving you bundles of free advertising. If anyone goes online and starts piping up about “food safety” or “animal cruelty”, just use the best move in the game and block them. For insurance purposes, better deny all ownership of the beasts and claim that they’re wild, in case they bite a lump out of somebody. From there, you’ve got the most unique restaurant in town.

Finally, and you’ll have to stick with me for a bit here, you should employ a menu consisting only of sweetcorn and nothing else. Doesn’t sound too tantalising to your average fat foodies and connoisseurs, but this is my method of future proofing your restaurant. You see, it’s not pleasant to think about, but unless cannibalism becomes socially acceptable again then we are going to run out of food one day.

Or are we? Anyone unfortunate enough to have eaten a sweetcorn-laden pizza and boaked it right back up later will know that sweetcorn is permanent. It is its own constant state of being. Even when it’s gone through all your lovely, gooey insides, it always re-emerges whole and untouched. Therefore, if we eat only sweetcorn and nothing else, then eventually all of our roughage will be entirely sweetcorn as well.

From there, this maize by-product of yours could then be treated slightly, and then re-served to the next customer. Eventually, the whole food system becomes a renewable, self-perpetuating cycle. You will forever be known as the food outlet who solved world hunger. Better than that, any defecation done on your premises could be immediately re-appropriated back into your kitchen. That’s right, you can now monetise trips to the bathroom. As if there aren’t already enough places out there with the gall to charge you 50 pence a piddle.

You probably think I’m barking mad at this point, and you may be right. I do think the sweetcorn idea is sound of course, but I don’t know, maybe it’s still too early for that? After all, at this stage in our lives, I think I’d still prefer the cannibalism route, wouldn’t you? I know that’s the road noted gastropod Kirby likes to go down. In fact, if you were to ask him for his dream scenario… well, he already gave us one on the Game Boy, but he’s a greedy lad so why not give us a second? Hence, it’s Kirby’s Dream Land 2 for Game Boy.

You’ll have a few skulls joining you for dinner this evening as well, Rick the hamster who I’m a big fan of, plus an owl and an overlarge fish. You won’t always need their help though, as thankfully you get the opportunity to ingest enemies and use their powers for your own gains, something that wasn’t possible in the first Dream Land game. Now, I daresay you’d be ejected from the premises in quick order if you started eating your fellow dining guests, but since when did Kirby set much store by conventions and traditions?

Actually that’s a foolish question. This game came out in 1995 and already Kirby was out of ideas, or at least his level designers were. Seriously, it’s the same old story with this game: less than ten main levels, a boss fight against that omnipresent tree, and then King Dedede at the end. It’ll at least take you longer to beat than the first Game Boy title, but heavens above. It’s amazing how far a universally popular design can get you – just ask Sonic about that. Sometimes you’ll feel like you’re just playing the Kirby’s Dream Land 1 all over again, with some slightly different graphics.

You could try using the Super Game Boy, as was intended, to get some proper colour palettes and improved sound effects, though I have to say that anyone out there using a SNES, Super Game Boy and an original Dream Land 2 cartridge is pretty hardcore and definitely gets my respect.

Otherwise it’s the same old Kirby fare, not as good as Kirby Adventure for NES and not a patch on Kirby Super Star. But then, we can’t eat in the fanciest restaurants every week, now can we? Plus, a lot of us are guilty of getting the same meal, every time we go some place. If you’re one of those with limited imagination, then more Kirby from Kirby’s Dream Land 2 may be just the meal ticket for you.

18 October 2022

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