Part 1

Empath's personal journal.
Recently Greedy came down with a communicable disease that required his being confined to his house for at least a month until the disease has completely run its course. Papa Smurf and Dabbler are currently overseeing his condition to make sure that it doesn't spread to the other Smurfs and are taking very great precautions in their visits to Greedy's house, sealing it off with a magic spell that would prevent the spread of the disease but would enable him to leave the house in case there was an emergency. This smurf feels empathy for Greedy, since this means that he won't be working in his kitchen for a month, and this would leave his kitchen crew without a leader. Right now Greedy's kitchen crew is trying to function the best they could without Greedy, but without Greedy to direct them in their duties, this smurf fears that their efforts to provide consistent quality meals on a daily basis will prove to eventually fail.

It was another fine morning in the Smurf Village when every Smurf was gathered at the breakfast table, eager for it to be served. "Boy oh smurf, am I hungry this morning," Handy said.
"You said it, Handy," Hefty said. "I can't wait to start my day with a good breakfast."
"Wiggly earthworms, Pappy Smurf, what do you think the kitchen crew's going to smurf us this morning?" Sassette asked
"I'm not sure, Sassette, but I'll be grateful for whatever's being smurfed," Papa Smurf said.
"This is the seventh morning that we smurfed breakfast without Greedy," Smurfette said. "It's too bad that he's so sick that he can't be smurfing with us."
"This smurf understands how you feel, Smurfette," Empath said. "We're all so used to Greedy being able to serve us breakfast every morning that even this smurf is starting to miss his presence."
"You do realize that we will adapt to Greedy being absent from his duties while he is in recovery, Empath, and that his absence is only temporary," Polaris Psyche said.
"As Brainy is fond of saying, Polaris, 'you don't know what you smurf until it's gone'," Empath said. "Not having Greedy around in the kitchen will hopefully make the Smurfs appreciate his efforts even more when he returns to doing them."
Then Biscotti came out of the kitchen carrying trays of fresh hot smurfberry muffins. "Get your smurfberry muffins while they're nice and fresh," he called out.
"Smurfberry muffins...again?" Hefty said, sounding displeased as Biscotti served each of them a muffin.
"I hate smurfberry muffins again," Grouchy said.
"Oh dear, if I keep eating muffins for breakfast, I'm going to end up smurfing like a muffin," Vanity said.
"Hey, what happened to the big breakfasts that we used to smurf?" Snappy asked.
"Yeah, we want pancakes and sausages and smurf fries," Tuffy said.
"Smurf back into the kitchen and smurf us a real breakfast," Handy said.
And most of the Smurfs offered similar complaints until Papa Smurf stood up from his seat and silenced them.
"Calm down, my little Smurfs," Papa Smurf said. "Biscotti and the rest of the kitchen crew are trying to smurf do without Greedy, and the best thing we can do is smurf them our support and let them smurf their jobs in peace."
"Personally I have no complaints about the quality of the food, Papa Smurf," Brainy said. "But after a while, smurfing the same thing for breakfast, lunch, and dinner tends to smurf rather boring."
"Great Smurfiny Crickets, my fellow Brainy, we've only been smurfing the same type of meals for the past seven days," Tapper said. "Can't we at least smurf some appreciation for their smurfing the reins of kitchen duties during Greedy's absence?"
"Well, if we're going to have to smurf without Greedy in the kitchen, then it smurfs to reason that there must be a new head chef that will smurf over for him while he's smurfed up in his house sick in bed," Brainy said.
"All right, Brainy...since you're the Smurf who brought this up, I nominate you as the new head chef of the kitchen," Hefty said.
"Brainy as the head chef of the kitchen?" Snappy said. "They'd just as soon smurf him on his head than smurf him as the head chef of anything."
A multitude of Smurf voices spoke either for or against the idea of Brainy being the head chef of the kitchen.
"I am absosmurfly flattered that you would consider me in the role of the head chef of the kitchen, my fellow Smurfs," Brainy said, "but the truth is that I must unfortunately decline, because I am in the middle of a very important book project..."
"You're always in the middle of a book project whenever there's something important, Brainy," Hefty said. "Why don't you smurf your head out of your books and smurf something useful for a change?"
A group of Smurfs voiced their approval of Hefty's comment about Brainy.
"Hefty, Hefty, Hefty, I can see that you're constantly smurfing under the sad delusion that the Smurf way of living is all about smurfing yourself in peak physical shape," Brainy said. "You'll never appreciate the wonders of smurfing a well-educated mind that smurfs from years of intensive study and research, a passion for which I hardly see any Smurf having besides Empath..."
At that, Hefty picked Brainy up and hurled him to the outskirts of the village. "Can I help it if I'm just smurfing the obvious facts?" Brainy muttered.
"Dazzling dragonflies, Pappy Smurf, how long are we going to smurf up with the kitchen crew not smurfing a head chef?" Sassette asked.
"Unfortunately, Sassette, the disease Greedy has requires him to be smurfed up in his house for a month...and it's already been seven days since the quarrantine has started," Papa Smurf said.
"This smurf senses that the morale of this village is starting to decline, Papa Smurf," Empath said. "Perhaps there is wisdom in Brainy's suggestion that we need to have a new head chef to take over until Greedy recovers."
"I am very open to that suggestion, Empath," Papa Smurf said. "The problem is finding the Smurf who would be best suited for the role as the new head chef."
"Perhaps then we need to talk to Greedy to see who he would desire to take over as the head chef, Papa Smurf," Empath said.
"I'm only hoping it would be soon, Papa Smurf," Smurfette said. "Even I'm started to get tired of smurfing the same old thing at every meal."

Empath went inside Greedy's house wearing a surgical mask in order to talk to Greedy while carrying a bowl of vegetable soup. "So how are you feeling right now, Greedy?" Empath asked.
"How do you think I feel, Empath?" Greedy responded as he sneezed. "I've got this terrible disease that's keeping me from smurfing my job in the kitchen, and I can't smurf anything about it except relax and have other Smurfs wait on me hand and smurf."
"This smurf knows that this must be hard on you to not be able to do your job while other Smurfs are trying to handle doing without you being in the kitchen, Greedy," Empath said as he handed Greedy his bowl of soup. "This smurf wants to be able to help you out in any way possible."
"My kitchen staff must be up to their smurfs in trying to figure out what to serve every Smurf for breakfast, lunch, and dinner while I'm smurfed up in here, not able to smurf them anything," Greedy said as he ate of his soup. "That's why you've got to smurf something for me."
"What is it that you want this smurf to do, Greedy?" Empath asked.
"Well, I've seen how you were able to smurf up delicious meals with the same quality that I smurf, and even better," Greedy said. "I honestly don't want to admit that you're a better chef than I am, but there's no other Smurf that I can ask to be the new head chef of the kitchen than you."
"So you want this smurf to take over your duties as the head chef until you recover?" Empath asked.
"It's the least that I can ask a friend whom I can trust to smurf a better job in my place, Empath," Greedy said. "The other Smurfs in my kitchen seem to like you enough that they will want to work with you. I just don't want to feel like I'm entirely smurfed out of the loop and left the other Smurfs to smurf for themselves."
Empath nodded with understanding. "This smurf will bring it up with Papa Smurf and see what he has to say on this proposal," he said.

Later on in Papa Smurf's laboratory, Empath brought up Greedy's proposal to have Empath be the new head chef to Papa Smurf, with Polaris present during the conversation.
"Hmmm, it would seem very curious that Greedy would consider you in this proposal, Empath," Papa Smurf said while stroking his beard to think about it.
"This one is concerned about how this will compromise Empath's duties as the assistant counselor, Papa Smurf," Polaris said. "Clearly he cannot perform both tasks at the same time."
"I would agree with you, Polaris," Papa Smurf said. "In order to become the temporary head chef, you will have to give up your role as the assistant counselor and let Hefty smurf over in the leadership roles that you have assumed, Empath."
"This smurf understands the sacrifice, Papa Smurf," Empath said. "This smurf feels willing and able to perform the duties of the head chef position to the best of this smurf's ability."
"I know that you will smurf your best, Empath," Papa Smurf said. "I will let Greedy know that starting tomorrow morning, you will be smurfing over in the kitchen. You should let his kitchen crew know that they will be working with you as soon as possible."
"This smurf acknowledges, Papa Smurf," Empath said before he left.
Polaris stayed with Papa Smurf as they both watched Empath leave the laboratory. "Is there something on your mind that you wish to discuss, Polaris?" Papa Smurf asked.
"This one can't help feeling the incompatibility of Empath's new role as the head chef of the kitchen, Papa Smurf," Polaris said. "This one senses that he does possess the skills required for performing the duties of that role, but this one is concerned with how the others will adapt to Empath taking over in a role that Greedy has been the most proficient worker in."
"It's only a temporary job, Polaris," Papa Smurf said. "Over time, the Smurfs will get used to Empath working in the kitchen, whether he smurfs up to the standards being smurfed for him or not."
"But what if the Smurfs get so used to Empath being the head chef that they will not want Greedy to return to that role?" Polaris asked.
Papa Smurf sighed. "We'll smurf with it when the time comes, but for right now I just don't smurf it as much of a problem. Surely Greedy will be glad to return to his own role and Empath to his when Greedy's smurfing better."

In Greedy's kitchen, Biscotti, Culinary, Gelato, and Vino seem to be at their wits' end as they were taking off their aprons and serving mitts.
"Those Smurfs just don't appreciate the work that we smurf day in and day out," Biscotti said.
"Now that Greedy's sick, how are we supposed to come up with the meals that the Smurfs want to eat besides the same old thing?" Gelato asked.
"I was hoping that Culinary would smurf in and become the new head chef of the kitchen," Vino said.
"Like I would know how to, Vino," Culinary said. "I'm good for most of the heavy cooking, but I'm not the best at smurfing a whole new dish for our fellow Smurfs to eat at every meal."
"We've got to figure out something, or else we can just smurf up our aprons and tell the other Smurfs that they can go smurf themselves if they're hungry," Biscotti said.
"That will smurf over real well, Biscotti," Gelato said.
Just then, Empath had entered the kitchen. "Well, if it isn't our favorite customer," Biscotti greeted. "So what smurfs you into our kitchen?"
"This smurf isn't here for a snack or anything like that, Biscotti," Empath said. "This smurf had a talk with Greedy and Papa Smurf, and they both agree that there needs to be a new head chef to take over for Greedy."
"Ah, like that's anything new, Empath Schlumpf," Culinary said.
"So who's going to be the new head chef of this kitchen?" Vino asked, sounding curious.
"That would be this smurf, Vino, starting the first thing tomorrow morning," Empath said.
"You, the head chef?" Biscotti said in disbelief. "I know that you're a good cook, even better than Greedy, but you think you can run this smurf just as well as Greedy?"
"This smurf admittedly doesn't have the same level of experience that Greedy has since he's been working in that role for much longer than this smurf, Biscotti," Empath said. "But this smurf feels confident enough in this smurf's abilities to perform the necessary tasks of that position."
"Well, get ready for a rough ride, Empath, because that job is smurfly no picnic," Gelato said.
"We'll help you get used to how we smurf things in the kitchen now, won't we?" Vino said.
"Ja, if Emapth needs us to smurf him the ropes, then you can count me in," Culinary said.
"Now remember, each of us in here have our own tasks," Biscotti said. "I do the baking, Culinary does the cooking, Vino does the juicing, and Gelato does the desserts and the creamy stuff. You need a job for us to do, just smurf on any of us and we'll do it for you."
"This smurf understands, Biscotti," Empath said. "This smurf appreciates that you are willing to lend a hand to this effort."
"Hey, we feel like we owe you for all the times that you smurf us out of the frying pan and away from the fire," Gelato said.
"I think that we're going to be good workmates together, as long as you wear this," Vino said, handing Empath a white chef's hat.
"It's just standard uniform around here, Empath," Culinary said. "You can't smurf in the kitchen without the proper kind of hat."
"And make sure that you smurf an apron on at all times," Biscotti said.
"And it may smurf a little too hot in here, not that it bothers Culinary that much, so you might want to smurf your shirt at home," Vino said.
Empath nodded with some understanding. "Well, if that's all that you need to tell this smurf right now, then this smurf will see you all tomorrow morning."
"Be here early before the sun rises, Empath," Gelato said.
"None of us will start working unless you're here to work with us," Biscotti added.

Later on, Empath told about this decision to be the new head chef to Tapper and Smurfette at Tapper's Tavern.
"Great Smurfiny Crickets, my fellow Empath, are you sure that this is what you want to smurf?" Tapper asked.
"This smurf isn't entirely thrilled with the prospect of what this job might entail, Tapper, but this smurf feels that this smurf is capable of performing it well until Greedy recovers, which hopefully will be soon," Empath said.
"Oh dear," Smurfette said. "I'm not sure that I like the idea of you smurfing all of your time in the kitchen."
"This smurf doesn't like it either, Smurfette," Empath said. "But frankly, this smurf has been feeling rather inactive as the assistant counselor lately. Maybe a temporary change in occupations may help this smurf appreciate my own job a little better."
"I only wish it didn't have to come at the expense of Greedy's health, Empath," Tapper said. "How is the kitchen crew handling the news that you'll be smurfing over Greedy's job for a time?"
"Surprisingly, they seem rather relieved that at least somebody that they know and trust will be doing his job, Tapper," Empath said. "They sounded very eager to give this smurf their support no matter what happens."
"You think the other Smurfs will reject having you smurf over as the new head chef, Empath?" Smurfette asked.
"This smurf is more concerned that they will rather have this smurf take over as the new head chef, Smurfette," Empath answered. "And that's what this smurf wants to avoid without doing anything on purpose that would make them want to think otherwise."
"The only thing you need to do, Empath, is what you have to do to keep your fellow Smurfs happy," Tapper said. "They need to have a chef that will satisfy their appetites until Greedy recovers, but after that, they must learn to let you go back to the duties that you smurf the best in."
"You're doing a brave thing smurfing in for Greedy like that, Empath," Smurfette said as she reached out and grabbed Empath's hand. "I know that you will smurf a very good job as the village chef."
"But this means we won't be seeing much of each other for a month, Smurfette," Empath said.
"We'll figure something out, Empath," Smurfette said. "And if we don't see much of each other, I'll be smurfing for you when your job does end. After all, neither of us will be smurfing off anywhere."
Empath smiled. "This smurf will be eager for the day that we will have time for each other again, Smurfette."

Empath decided to turn in early to get enough rest for the following day. Upon returning to his house, he met Polaris Psyche, who was still awake and reading from one of the books in the Smurf house of archives.
"Salutations, fellow Empath," Polaris greeted. "This one was not expecting you to return to your residence so early in the evening."
"Well, this smurf felt that this smurf needed to catch up with a little sleep so that this smurf will be rested and raring for the day ahead, Polaris," Empath said.
"Indeed your day will be busy as it will be spent in the kitchen trying to keep your fellow Smurfs satisfied with their daily meals, Empath," Polaris said. "You do, of course, remember how to make nutrient paste."
"Of course this smurf does, Polaris," Empath said. "This smurf has memorized all the ingredients that go into its production. This smurf will make sure that it will be satisfactory to your particular tastes."
"Then this one will leave you to your resting period, Empath," Polaris said.
"Rest well, fellow Polaris...this smurf will see you again in the morning," Empath said as he headed upstairs for his bed.
Before he went to sleep, Empath took a look at himself wearing the chef's hat in the mirror. He imagined himself being like Greedy Smurf, being able to make every Smurf happy with the meals he was cooking, hearing the praise that they were heaping upon him for his culinary efforts. While he didn't share Greedy's desire to eat the very things that he cooked or baked, Empath felt very proud that he would soon step into a role shared by his fellow Smurf that would become a feather in his cap.
Empath smiled at that thought as he laid himself to sleep, thinking of all the wonderful things he could make for his fellow Smurfs to eat.