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"Stop Me If You've Heard This One, But a Man Walks Into a Bar...": Late night in a tavern, Jack Horner is trying to convince Thrushbeard to give him thirteen thousand dollars to fund a beanstalk expedition. Jack claims he still has the magic beans from his younger days, but Thrushbeard sees thr
- While I'm gone, keep an eye out for Riding Hood, Snow. She'll return sometime today -- probably as soon as there's a big enough crowd here to make a good show of it. Now that she's established herself as the distraught victim of cads like me and Blue, she'll want to milk that advantage for special attention.
- -- Bigby Wolf
Appearing in "Stop Me If You've Heard This One, But a Man Walks Into a Bar..."
- Wooden Soldiers
Synopsis for "Stop Me If You've Heard This One, But a Man Walks Into a Bar..."
Late night in a tavern, Jack Horner is trying to convince Thrushbeard to give him thirteen thousand dollars to fund a beanstalk expedition. Jack claims he still has the magic beans from his younger days, but Thrushbeard sees through the deception. He walks away, leaving Jack muttering that he never did like him.
Bigby visits a bar on the other side of the city. Passing by the regular patrons, he approaches a booth near the back, where fellow Fable Kay made himself comfortable. Despite his blindness, Kay recognizes Bigby right away and asks how he found him. Bigby replies he keeps tabs on all Fables who decide to live away from Fabletown, then becomes concerned when he notices Kay's eyes. Kay confirms that he gouged them out again, unable to handle the things they show him. Only ever seeing the bad things people have done throughout their lives, never the good. He laments no matter how deep he cuts, he's never been able to remove the piece of mirror shard that gave him this awful ability. Bigby's disappointed, knowing it'll take a few more years before Kay's eyes grow back, as he wanted him to take a glimpse at Red Riding Hood and tell him what her true story was. Now having to do the extra work to uncover the truth, Bigby excuses himself, when Kay stops him. He got a good look at Bigby awhile back, he says, and if the other Fables truly knew the extent of his misdeeds, they'd still be trembling at the sight of him. Bigby assures him that those days are long gone.
Jack drunkenly stumbles out of the tavern, unable to con anyone out of their cash tonight. Three strange men who looked alike and dressed in black, the same who attacked the hot dog vendor, confront him, asking about the magic beans. Jack, thinking their Mundys, plays dumb about the whole thing, until they become irritated. They surround and attack him, knocking him to the ground and kicking and stomping on him.
Mayor Cole visits Bigby's apartment to discuss why Bigby hasn't signed off on Red Riding Hood's background check yet. Bigby tries to explain his suspicions, but all King Cole cares about is getting her cleared for the welcoming ceremony that will boost morale. After all, he motions, if everyone's happy, they won't feel a need to vote for Prince Charming in an election that shouldn't even be happening. Ignoring him, Bigby calls Snow White to tell her to meet him in the business office He then departs, asking King Cole to lock up before he leaves.
Hobbes had just finished printing out the election posters for Prince Charming, and now he was walking through Fabletown delivering them to all shops in the area to post up. As he walks past an alley, he doesn't notice the severe beat down that's happening within. Though Jack finally gained an advantage when the triplets were momentarily distracted. He kicked one down and pushed the other against the wall, causing him to lose his hairpiece, reveling him to be bald underneath. Jack escapes up the fire escape, with two of his pursuers following behind. Making it to the top, Jack grabs a two-by-four lying on the roof and swings it just as the head of one of the triplets peeks up. The man falls, hitting the railing of the fire escape on the way down, until finally landing on his brother, who just fixed his hairpiece. Surprisingly, the impact caused their limbs to splinter and break, revealing their true nature as being made of wood. Deciding not to pursue Jack any further, the wooden triplets take their leave, helping each other as they hobble down the street.
In the Fabletown business office, Bigby gives a rundown of what he expects Red Riding Hood's next move to be. She'll likely want to play the distraught damsel to his and Boy Blue's harassment. Snow White asks Bigby if he's absolutely sure she's a spy, and not just a refugee that they're criticizing needlessly, pointing out that miracles have happened before. Bigby grumbles that the Canada gate was closed for two hundred years from the other side. She couldn't have just opened it again by herself. That's why he needed to go to Canada and investigate, everything about Red Riding Hood was too miraculous.
Suddenly, the office door opens, and a bloodied and beaten Jack walks in carrying a wooden leg. He tells Bigby he'd like to report a mugging.
- This book was first published on January 14, 2004.
- Squire Vulco, from the Last Castle, is seen again in this issue. Apparently he now works as a chef for the "I Am the Eggman" Diner.
- With King Cole's line of thinking, it's a wonder he was ever elected Mayor in the first place!
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