“Let’s hit the feed trough.”
Recently I ventured out on a shopping expedition with Laudy and Quirky, my dear sisters whose lives are devoted to my best interests. In the name of fellowship, and because at least one of us exhibits the beginnings of unladylike behavior when hungry, I suggested we stop on the way for a bite at one of the all-you-can eat buffet restaurants that have spread across the country like heat rash on a baby’s behind.
“I guess we’d better,” Quirky rolled her eyes at Laudy. “Remember last time we waited too long for lunch and she called the saleslady that ugly name.”
“Yeah,” Laudy giggled. “Procreating Peanut Head.”
“I meant procrastinating,” I answered huffily. “She took forever at that cash register. You’d think there were cheese soufflés under those keys.”
“That’s because you made her check every price by hand when she accidentally charged you the extra dime for that chipped dessert plate. I’d make a mistake too, if I had you looming over my cash register like a buzzard on a dead possum.”
“Are you comparing me to an unsightly scavenger whose main goal in life is to seek out helpless prey?”
“If the beak fits. . .”
“Let’s go eat at the buffet.”
Calming words for troubled charge cards.
We whipped an emergency buffet turn, and in barely the time it takes to say mashed potatoes and gravy we were headed to our table lugging a tray covered with enough plates and bowls to serve everyone at the Kennedy family reunion.
An hour and a half later, I laid down my dessert fork, which had also served handily as my salad and dinner fork, and glanced around the table. Quirky was licking the cellophane from her coconut pie and Laudy was napping face down in her salad plate. I leaned back in my chair, caressing my stomach like it was a freshly baked creampuff. Luckily I had on trousers with an elastic waistband and did not have to resort to unorthodox clothing alterations.
“I’m glad you wore those pants.” Quirky observed. “Last time when you tried to unfasten your top button, it shot across the table, popped me in the eye and dropped into my iced tea. “I almost swallowed it and the busboy had to perform the Heimlich maneuver to get it out of my throat.” She rolled her eyes, an unbecoming character trait designed to draw attention to herself.
"You're a fine one to talk." I shot back. "Remember when you and that lady with the cane both went after the last yeast roll?" When I tried to break up the fight, you poked me with your salad fork and she whacked me with her walking stick."
“Yeah,” Quirky smiled fondly. “That was a good one. Did you see that lady in green?”
“Sure did. I used to date a man with a mustache like that.”
“Well she tried to bump me at the roast beef. I gave her a look and turned my back.”
“I’m sure you won that battle. Nobody can beat your backside."
We sat quietly for a moment, digesting our lunch and picking food from our teeth.
I belched delicately. “Wanna go to the mall?”
Quirky snorted. “I don’t even want to walk to the car.”
Laudy’s head rolled to the side as a snore echoed across the table, rattling coffee cups against their saucers. Her cheek was freckled with poppy seed dressing and a radish was stuck in her ear.
"I hate to wake her up," Quirky said wistfully, casting a longing glance toward the doughnuts.
Just as I was about to reply with an invitation for a short stroll to the dessert bar, a large woman waddled past us clutching a loaded plate in each hand. Thousand Island dressing cascaded down the side of a mountain of greenery and dropped in large dollops down the side of her housedress and puddled into her house slippers as she walked.
“You are what you eat,” Quirky observed, licking her finger to pick up the last of the coconut on her plate.
“You know, some people should take better care of themselves,” I agreed, brushing cookie crumbs off my chest.”
We watched the woman as she made the tedious journey back to her seat. She lumbered to a stop at a table in the corner where sat a man whose body was the size and texture of a piece of uncooked spaghetti. Placing the overflowing dishes carefully in front of him, she dropped with a thud opposite him where sat a delicate dish of fresh fruit.
Quirky and I exchanged glances. “Care for dessert?” I asked.
“Your plate or mine?”