A Pancake Breakfast
Jonathan stomped away in huff. He could hear the mud and snow, mixing together and crushing under his grungy hunting boots. He got into the old beat-up pickup truck and turned the volume all the way up on his copy of Totally 80s Punk Hits. He was mad and simply couldn’t stay at home one more minute. Jonathan knew that if he said what he was thinking, he’d wind up sleeping on the couch again. The couch was sagging in places, he knew it was because his very petite daughter was sleeping on it. His wife would tell him it was because of his 350 lb frame constantly nodding off while watching reruns of Seinfeld. Jonathan always told himself that she was just jealous and that if she would pull herself away from social she would become aware of his perfection
His much-hated minivan was the only place he could feel like his true self. The minivan was neon green, with a scratched up and mud-covered exterior. Season DVDs of Seinfeld, many spit bottles, Flamin’ Hot Cheeto bags, and pop cans gave the van Johnathan’s personal touch. He rolled down the window as he drove, the crisp winter air made him feel alive! When he was driving, he would often fantasize about his weekend skiing in Aspen as a young man and the cherry red convertible he had in high school, where teenage-Johnathan had gotten to know many cheerleaders in the back seat. He was disappointed. He once had a beautiful, 20-year-old wife. Time passed; they had two children and his wife was in her 50s. The years have been kinder to his wife than most, but, of course, he would never admit this. He would never admit that she still had a terrific smile and a size eight body that looked good in almost anything.
Whenever Jonathan would talk to his wife, he would often remind her that her once beautiful, dirty blond hair was turning gray. And that her teeth, while perfectly straight, were turning a dingy shade of yellow. He was not a dentist, but he was sure this was due to her immense coffee consumption. After all, three cups a day is just under what doctors and psychologists consider safe to avoid caffeine addiction.
His family was the reason he was angry. Last night his daughter was selfish enough to ask if Jonathan could recalibrate her wheelchair. I’m not selfish, he thought, but she could be. After all, he needed and deserved that’s last piece of Oreo pie. The uncomfortable wheelchair could wait a while longer.
When that red hot feeling enveloped Johnathon’s soul, he would daydream about when he had that convertible. He used to be a football player, number 86. Anyone would tell everyone how he made that kick that won the game his senior year. While at work, he would sit around the office drinking Mountain Dew by the liter and telling everyone how he could have gone pro if a decent scout had come to see him play, then he would laugh as bits of vending machine snacks flew from his mouth and got lost in his long graying bread. Now and again, when he would laugh, he had a terrible pain in his chest. Of course, the doctors didn’t know what they were talking about. And the chest pains came in handy when he fought with his wife over something stupid like getting the roof fixed, spending too much money on take-out food, or his incessant need to chew tobacco. And, of course, spending way too much money on junk food. His wife didn’t know anything. The yellow spots on the ceiling were completely normal. After all, Jonathan knew a guy who knew an uncle of a former roofer. Jonathan chewed mint-flavored tobacco, which he read somewhere was the equivalent of brushing your teeth every time you chew. Toothpaste is mint flavored, so it made sense. He laughed as he thought of his wife’s ignorance. He laughed so hard, that pain in his chest was back and, just for a moment, he hit the gas pedal, leaving a poor squirrel a pancake on the mud-covered pavement. He always wondered how a squirrel would taste; he was sure some redneck would cook it for him. He was sure that some guy at work probably ate roadkill. It made sense, they were all rednecks, after all. He laughed and that shooting pain was back in his chest again.
Jonathan Silverman soldiered through his exhausting walk across the parking lot. The hostess—a 20-something bleach blonde with an amazing boob job—was eagerly waiting for his arrival.
“I’ll seat you in your favorite seat in the corner” she said and flounced away. Jonathan liked the privacy the corner booth offered him. Anyone would be too winded after walking the 300 feet to the back of the restaurant. It would be enough to make anyone want to take a nap.
The waitress smiled that pretty, fake smile that runs from ear-to-ear, which would be more creepy than sexy to a more aware individual. “What’ll it be today, good looking?” the waitress asked, tapping her green gel pen on the surface of a tiny notepad.
“Well, to start with, I’ll have the pancake breakfast, extra bacon, and don’t skimp on the syrup. I also need mustard for my sausage and extra butter for my grits. Thanks, baby!” Jonathan said as he looked her up and down.
The waitress put Jonathan’s pancake breakfast on the tray.
“Jonathan’s back, right?” smirked a waitress whose name tag said “Whitney.”
“Yeah, he’s back,” responded the waitress with fake tits.
Whitney threw her bright pink hair back in a sloppy ponytail. “He’s creepy. He’s always staring at me and telling me how he wished his wife looks like me.”
“Yeah, he’s a jerk, but he’s a good tipper. Okay with me—25 bucks on a $50 charge. I got a kid at home.”
Whitney rolled her eyes. “Yeah, that’s another thing. I went to school with his kids. They’re not nearly as bad as he makes them out to be. They’re just still figuring things out. Maybe if he’d taken the time to figure things out, we wouldn’t be so miserable.”
The waitress lifted the tray over her head and began walking over to the table.
“See you later, Diane,” Whitney called.
Jonathan was delighted to see the waitress set the food down in front of him. He picked up two pieces of sausage, slathered them in mustard, then put them in his mouth, chewing every bite with a loud smacking sound.
Diane tried to hide the fact that the smacking sounds made her shiver.
“Can you also get me a diet cola with a side brunch burger, Baby?” Jonathan asked with little bits of partially eaten sausage flying everywhere.
“Okay, and when I get back, I’d love to hear what the people at work are saying about you these days,” she said, flashing that fake smile again. He laughed so hard, the pain returned and he grabbed his chest. Diane didn’t think much of it. After all, he did that one time when he forgot his wallet, and he ducked out before she could call the ambulance.
Assuming Jonathan was faking to get out of paying his bill, Diane went to get his second plate of food. She would just call his wife and let her know where he was and how much money he managed to spend. Although, she would be pissed when she found out. There were other times when he’d lie to her about stopping at Burger King. He would claim that he didn’t want to get a burger, but his friend, Joe, from work, was already there and they got to talking, which would lead to dinner. This is the lie that he likes the best. Jonathan would often say that his buddy talked him into ordering the brunch burger and another full breakfast.
By the time Diane returned with the double cheeseburger, sunny side up egg on top with all the fixings—deep-fried potatoes, a side of extra mushrooms, mashed up with black pudding—and, of course, everything had to be coated in a healthy serving of salt and ketchup.
The waitress with the fake boobs found Jonathan slumped over in his seat, sadly unresponsive. By the time they called the ambulance, it was too late, he had an aneurysm.
Small Town Gazette Obituaries: Jonathan Silverman, age 56, lost his battle with addiction on May 29th. He leaves behind daughter Megan and son Luka, as well as his loving wife Cheryl. The family is requesting that instead of flowers you donate money to the local soup kitchens.