Fat Boy hits The Strip | AspenTimes.com

Fat Boy hits The Strip

John Colson

Fat Boy's travels since his disappearance have taken him to Arches National Park in Utah, as well as The Strip in Las Vegas.

“Fat Boy” is still roaming the West, and there are pictures to prove it.The small figurine of a portly French chef, which for years graced the facade of The Cooking School of Aspen, was stolen last spring, while an identical figurine, known as “Fat Chef,” was left behind.Cooking school manager John Klonowski put up a reward for Fat Boy’s return and waited for a ransom call. But he said this week, “Nobody’s contacted us at all.”The only contact from Fat Boy thus far has been photos from the road.

A month after Fat Boy’s disappearance, The Aspen Times received several pictures. One was of the statue drinking a Heineken as he waited to board a plane at what appeared to be Denver International Airport.Photos sent to the Times last week bore the return address, “123 The Open Road, Freedomville, U.S.A.,” and a postmark too smudged to read.The pictures inside – color computer printouts of digital photographs – show Fat Boy at two sites in Utah, Bryce Canyon and Arches National Park (specifically, standing next to Delicate Arch); at the edge of the Grand Canyon in Arizona; and on The Strip in Las Vegas.As with the previous set of photographs, they bear handwritten messages on the back.

The photo from Arches declares, “No More Slavin’, Just Straight Livin’! I was born for the open road. I’m one fat boy on the run.”On the Vegas picture, the legend reads, “Viva Las Vegas!! Cooking School Stock All on Black.” The Grand Canyon photo states, “It’s Been A ‘Grand’ Adventure,” and the Bryce picture is labeled with the statement, “I couldn’t leave my fans ‘High & Dry,’ so here are some pics.”Klonowski said he did not recognize the handwriting, but was concerned by a couple of the photos.

For example, Fat Boy’s right hand appears to have been severed and looks rather raw, prompting Klonowski to say, “You’d think if they were going to be dragging his ass around, they’d have administered some first aid. They’re not treating my boy right.”But he was cheered by the fact that Fat Boy was wearing a hooded wool parka of some sort in the photo taken at Bryce Canyon, which is at a higher altitude and is considerably cooler than the other locales.Klonowski said Fat Boy’s twin, Fat Chef, remains at his post outside the Cooking School, just off the Hyman Avenue mall; the chains attached to him after Fat Boy’s abduction have been removed as fears of a second kidnapping have faded.John Colson’s e-mail address is jcolson@aspentimes.com