He jauntily popped the last breakfast sausage between his thin and oily lips, chewed quickly, and swallowed a little too soon. As he rose from the table with a slight grunt, he placed his dirty plate with crumbs and untouched broccoli on the designated spot on the large table that would let the server know it could be taken away, winked at his wife, and strode with vigor towards the stacks of clean white plates. With a sneer on his lips and a half-formed insult in his mind, he rumbled past the salad bar with its bowls of plain lettuce, Caesar salad, vinaigrette salad, chickpea salad, corn salad, and other assorted raw vegetables.
Straight to the meat he walked, and he stopped for a moment to both admire the selection and to catch his breath. The barbecue ribs had been delicious, as had the fried chicken legs, and the meatballs, and those miniature steak sandwiches with the pickles and horseradish, and the pasta carbonara.
“Mmm-mmm-mmm…,” he hummed yummy noises to himself. “What next? What haven’t I tried?” His half-lidded eyes lazily scanned the selections while the tip of his tongue wet his lips. “Ah, yes!” he exclaimed when he spied the bacon pizza.
A small and bony dark-headed child stood in front of the pizza, reaching up for the food that was resting just beyond her reach. He reached over her, only glancing down for a moment to smirk at her large and glassy eyes, and he piled six pieces onto his plate and was about to return to his table when he saw a server set down a bowl of miniature glistening hash browns. He looked down at his plate and observed that a patch of white was still visible, and so he darted over in front of a slow-moving little boy and scooped 15 small hash brown sticks onto his plate with a gleam in his eyes.
His plate made a dull thud as he set it down, and his chair creaked like a door in a horror movie when he sat across from his wife. She pushed her long black hair away from her face, exposing the dark scar that was seared into her light brown cheek. She looked dully at the food on his plate and then grinned a little as he licked his lips and rubbed his hands.
“God, I love hash browns!” he exclaimed loudly and looked up to wink at his wife when his eyes started at the sight of her scar. “Now dear, we don’t want anyone to lose their appetite.” He reached out and pulled her hair from behind her ear, causing a dark swath of it to cover half of her face. He then cocked his head and smiled at her.
Just as he was adjusting himself so that his belt did not pinch his stomach, his wife reached across the table and snatched away one of the sticks of hash brown. His smile quickly faded, he blinked several times rapidly and shook his head.
“What the hell are you doing?” he jutted his ample chin at her.
“It’s been so long since I had hash browns! These look delicious…” And she shoved the whole thing in her mouth. Her husband sputtered.
“What the hell is that?”
“What?” she blinked and frowned.
“Why the hell are you taking food from my plate?”
“It’s just one…”
“The goddamned buffet is right there, 20 goddamned feet behind you.”
“And you think it’s ok to take food from my plate? What the hell?” He was sitting back now, shaking his head, glowering in an ascending rage, and out of an old habit, he bit his lower lip.
“It was one hash brown. You have a stack there. And a bunch of pizza.” She lowered her head and her voice.
“If you want something, walk over there and get it yourself. Don’t take food from my plate, from my mouth. This is bullshit…” He picked up his soiled napkin off the table so that he would have something to throw down in disgust.
“Calm down, there’s plenty of food over there,” she pursed her lips and turned as red as the cherry tomato she was about to pop into her mouth.
“Yes, there is plenty of food… over there. So if you want something, you get up and get it. Understand?” He leaned forward and lowered his voice menacingly.
“Fine, I’ll go get you another hash brown. Ok?”
“No… you’ll go and get me five more hash browns. And keep your goddamned hands off my goddamned food.” He shook his head and glared at her back as he watched her limp over to the stacks and stacks of clean white plates. “Goddamned lazy bitch,” he muttered.
Then he looked down at his pizza and hash browns, allowed a small smile to form again, and licked his lips as he used his bare hands to shovel down four hash browns at a time.
About the Creator
Writer of all types of fiction, poetry, and odd bits of non-fiction. Traveler, scuba diver, teacher, and observer of human behavior in Saudi Arabia. Buy "Rejuvenation", my new dystopian novel, at: https://tinyurl.com/yyevad5n
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