Cookies
By Emma Redmer
Cannon: Late 4th season
Characters: Larry, Balki, Jennifer, Mary Anne
Rating: G
Synopsis: The cousins and the girls attempt to stop eating the tasty batch of cookies Larry baked.
Disclaimer: Lorimar Productions, Miller-Boyett Productions, and Warner Bros. Television own Perfect Strangers.
Notes: This story is dedicated to childrenís book author Arnold Lobel, whose series of Frog & Toad stories inspired "Bathing Suit Bingo," "Cookies," "Kite Dreaming," and the charming musical A Year With Frog & Toad.

It was a beautiful afternoon in spring when Balki Bartokomos walked into the apartment he shared with his distant cousin Larry Appleton. His cousin asked him to pick a few things up at the store while he worked in the kitchen. The heavenly aroma of fresh-baked chocolate-chip cookies greeted Balki as he closed the door and headed for the counter.

Larry took the bag from him. His small, delicate cousin sported an apron and rolled-up sleeves. His round cheeks and brown curls were dusted with flour. "Thanks for bringing the shortening. I need it to grease the pan for this last batch."

Balki leaned over the cooling cookies and took a deep sniff. "Cousin, they smell so good!" he exclaimed. "May I try one?"

Larry smacked Balkiís hand with his wooden spoon as he reached for some of the cookies. "Balki, if you eat them all now, you not only wonít have any left for later, youíll spoil your appetite for dinner. Weíll let them cool first, then weíll each have one and put them away."

Balki rubbed his sore hand and screwed up his face in tears. "I want a cookie now, cousin! I never get to have the cookies when they still have that fresh, just-out-of-the-oven taste." He leaned over the counter and began to cry loudly.

Larry rolled his eyes and gently placed his hand on his cousinís shoulder. "Iím sorry I hit your hand. That was uncalled for." He sighed. "I suppose one cookie wonít hurt your appetite."

Balki turned around and gave Larry a huge hug. "Oh, thank you, cousin! Chocolate chip is my favorite! We never had chocolate in Mypos." He grabbed two cookies, ignoring Larryís glare. "We did have chocki-locki-hershei-kissie-bars"

Larry raised his eyebrows. "Chocki-locki-hershei-kissie-bars?"

Balki nodded and bit into a cookie. "Sugar-coated yak nose."

Larry tried to keep from looking disgusted. "Sounds delightful, Balki."

"Oh, it was. Iím still wondering how they got the little flags through the yak nose rings."

The timer dinged. Larry quickly turned to the oven before Balki could see his face turn the color of a frog. He emerged with a large pan of perfect golden cookies dotted with rich, brown chips. He placed the pan on the table and opened the new can of shortening to grease the last pan. As he turned, he saw Balki snatch two more cookies.

"Balki!" he protested, "I told you not to eat more than one!"

"But, cousin," Balki insisted, "theyíre just so good! I have never had a more perfect cookie. Itís sweet, but not too sweet. Itís crunchy on the outside and all soft on the inside, and the chocolate chips are all nice and gooey." He held a cookie out to his cousin. "Cousin, why donít you try one?"

Larry took the golden circle. "I guess one wouldnít hurt." He bit into it and sighed. "Balki, youíre right! It is great!" He took another one, and another. Balki was already working on his fifth.

"Cousin," Balki said through mouthfuls of his sixth cookie, "you should bake these more often. They go with everything!"

"Youíre right!" Larry swallowed his third cookie and picked up a third as he spooned batter onto the pan. He pushed Balki away from the batter. His cousin returned to the table and started his sixth cookie. "Itís my momís recipe. She made these every Monday for my siblings and me when we were little. Cookies were our reward for getting through Mondays. Even Dad would have a few."

"My mama did something like that for me, too," Balki added between mouthfuls of chocolate chips and dough. "She always made sure to have a fresh plate of my favorite honey-nut baklava ready for me when I came back from a few days of shepherding." Balki swallowed his cookie as Larry put the last pan in the oven. "Maybe we should stop now, cousin."

Larry joined him at the table. "I donít think one more will hurt us, Balki. Itís not that close to dinner."

They each had one more cookie, and one more after that. They reached for two, then three. "Weíve got to stop eating cookies!" Balki exclaimed. "My tummy is starting to feel funny."

Larry rubbed his stomach. "Mine is, too." He jumped out of his seat. "I know! We need some milk to go with these cookies!"

"What we need," Balki insisted, "is to put these cookies away where we canít see them." He took a box from the cupboard by the sink. "Weíll put the cookies in here. Iíll tie the box with a string, put it in the cupboard, and we wonít eat cookies anymore."

Larry shook his head. "Thereís a problem with that plan."

"There is?"

Larry reached for another cookie. "If we want to eat more cookies, we can just untie the string and open the box."

Balki nodded, jamming a cookie in his mouth. "Thatís true." He handed Larry a cookie. "Have another?"

"Donít mind if I do."

Balki leaned against the chair and put a hand on his stomach. "Cousin, I think the cookies donít like me anymore. My stomach feels like itís being stampeded by a herd of wild goats."

Larry put his last, half-eaten cookie on the table. "Yeah, me too." He took the other pan out of the oven and went to the phone.

"Cousin, what you doing?"

"Iím calling Jennifer and Mary Anne. Weíll give them the cookies."

The girls hurried downstairs. "Whatís all this about cookies?" Jennifer asked.

"Cousin Larry baked the best chocolate chip cookies in the whole world!" Balki explained. He handed the girls several of the tempting delicacies. "Try one?"

Jennifer shook her head. "I donít know, Balki. The last time Larry baked anything, they exploded."

"These arenít bibli bobkas," Balki assured them. "Theyíre chocolate chip cookies that were baked the normal way, and not rushed." He pushed the baked goods into the girlsí hands. "Go on and try some!"

The girls each bit into a cookie and smiled. "Wow, Larry, these are good!" Mary Anne exclaimed. "And they donít even have a special cream filling!"

"What are these little chocolaty things?" Jennifer asked.

Larry shrugged. "Chocolate chips."

"Oh." The girls crossed into the living room, still munching on their cookies. "You did a great job, Larry," Jen added. "You should bake things you donít intend to sell more often."

"Would you like all of them?" Larry asked.

"If Cousin Larry and I keep eating them, weíll be the size of King Ferdinand before we even have dinner," Balki added.

The girls each reached for another cookie. "I donít think thatís such a good idea, Larry," Jennifer said between bites. "These things are addictive. We might end up ruining our dinner!"

Mary Anne gave her a funny look. "I thought you said we were going to have a quick dinner at the airport before we went to work. Iíd rather eat cookies than that stuff!"

The girls grabbed a few more. "Mary Anne, weíve got to stop eating these!" Jennifer exclaimed, her mouth full. "Weíll be too full to work."

"And Iíll never fit in my uniform," Mary Anne wailed before cramming another cookie in her mouth.

The four stared at the last, untouched batch of cookies, the ones Larry took out of the oven. "We should probably get rid of them," Larry conceded.

Balki picked up the last pan. "I still say we should put them in a box."

Larry grabbed the cookies from his cousin. "Even if we donít untie the box, theyíll get stale." He grinned. "How about I find a place to put these?"

Balki jumped out of his seat. "Like your stomach?"

"Larry, thatís not fair!" Mary Anne protested.

"You should put them in a place where we can all reach them!" Jennifer insisted.

"We canít reach them if theyíre in your stomach!" Mary Anne reminded him.

"Who baked them in the first place?" Larry snapped. "Whose kitchen is this?"

"Cousin, give me those cookies!" Balki exclaimed. "I wanna bite a chip!"

Balki leaped at his cousin. In their struggle, the cookies were flung out the open kitchen window. "The cookies!" Balki and Larry exclaimed in unison.

The girls joined them at the window. A group of fat sparrows gathered around the broken baked goods and nibbled at them until there was nothing left but crumbs. "Well," Larry began.

"I guess we donít have to worry about being addicted to cookies anymore," Mary Anne sighed.

"You wanted to get rid of the cookies," Jennifer admitted. "Think of this as the birds doing it for you."

All four rubbed their middles at once and turned green. "I think I ate one cookie too many," Larry grumbled.

"I think I ate seven too many," Balki wailed.

Jennifer sighed. "Well, it just goes to show, you can only have so much of something before so much turns into too much."

Balki and Mary Anne exchanged confused looks. "I think she means we should have stuck to having one cookie each," Larry explained. "Everything in moderation, including cookies."

"Cousin," Balki gasped, "I donít feel well. I think I need to find the bathroom now." He hurried off, his face a pronounced shade of pea-green.

"What was wrong with him?" Mary Anne asked.

"He started before I did," Larry explained. He looked at the recipe book open on the counter. "Next time, I think Iíll bake Momís chocolate cake instead of her chocolate chip cookies."

"What are you guys having for dinner, anyway?" Jennifer asked. "We might have enough time before work to eat with you."

Larry shrugged. "Balki said something about yak bladder with pig snout potato soup covered in crunchy pig skin dressing." He, Jennifer, and Mary Anne exchanged looks, turned as green as Balki, and darted through the living room to the bathroom.

The End