KUBALUVA ISLANDS ( – It’s not just stressed-out Americans who are finding comfort in fatty, familiar foods these days, and police on this tiny Pacific atoll have a stack of missing persons reports to prove it.

“In times of great tension like this, it’s natural for people to seek out foods that remind them of an earlier, happier, more carefree time,” said Kubaluva police chief Buku Mala. “Unfortunately, we were cannibals at that time.”

Kubaluva, roughly translated, means "Tastes like Cousin Henry."

Police, however, have yet to make a single arrest. No Kubaluvans have confessed, and no one has slipped up and put their foot, or someone else’s, in their mouth. At least not publicly. But the chief strongly believes his countrymen are bingeing on more than chocolate cake and Cheetos.
“Look at Populu over there, for instance” said Mala, pointing to a woman in her 30s crossing the street. “Last week, she was married, weighed 120 pounds, and was a nervous wreck. Today, she is single, cheerful, and 325.”
Populu refused an interview request, but other residents of this lush, tropical paradise vehemently denied they had returned to anthropophagy, until the term was explained to them.
“Oh, you mean eating people?” said Kia Lapok, who runs the local Coca-Cola distributorship. “Well, yes some folks around here have been doing that, I’m afraid.”
Lapok, however, insisted she had not given in to temptation, in part because the comfort food of her youth is no longer available. “Back when I was young, we used to eat a lot of missionaries,” she said wistfully. “They were always wandering around unarmed – no pun intended – and oh, they were marvelous in soups. But the missionaries have disappeared, and today I get by on a leaner, healthier diet of fish, fruits, and foreign aid workers.”
Foreign aid workers?
“I meant vegetables,” she said.
Meanwhile, at the Happy Feet Cafe, chef Biki Injimi said he turns away three or four customers a day who come in asking for “traditional” comfort food. Asked if he, too, had a secret to hide, Injimi blushed, then broke down in tears and admitted he was, in fact, as gay as a crepe paper doily.
According to Kubaluva psychologist Bob Wilson, food serves as a means of instant gratification that soothes unpleasant emotions. While comfort foods vary by person, they often evoke childhood memories of security. This, Wilson believes, explains why nearly half of those missing are elderly.
“In many cases, these are people we have known all our lives, people who hugged us and nurtured us when we were children,” said Wilson. “Now it appears they once again are giving us a warm feeling inside. Psychologically, it’s really quite natural.”
But technically, it’s illegal, and Chief Mala eventually decided to set up a sting operation to stop it. He invited two dozen particularly anxious residents to his home to watch CNN. To bait the trap, the chief set out bowls of honey-roasted peanuts, ice cream, potato chips, and the Walubi sisters.
“As we watched the news, it was clear that people were getting upset, even me,” he recalled. “Almost immediately, they went for the chips and the ice cream. But not one of them ever touched the Walubi sisters.”
The next morning, however, eight new missing persons reports were filed. All of the missing were related to those who had attended the party, leaving a bewildered Mala to reconsider his tactics.
“Honestly, I don’t know what went wrong,” he said. “I had the right people over, that’s obvious from the missing persons reports. And it wasn’t the Walubi sisters. They turned out to be delicious.”
In the meantime, police said they will continue their investigations, and are now targeting citizens with unusually cheerful dispositions. Mala explained: “Most Kubaluvans are sad right now, which is normal, but it is the cheerful ones we suspect have lapsed. Why? Because there is an old saying on Kubaluva: ‘People – people who eat people – are the happiest people in the world.'”
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