The Last Pancake

[Prompt: Put this sentence somewhere in your story: Even though Jake ate the last of the pancakes, Leonard couldn’t find it in himself to get worked up about it ]

     Leonard couldn’t help but scowl as he watched Jake eat. Jake’s mouth opened and closed like an automatic door that was jammed, the excessive saliva creating a wet smacking sound that invaded Leonard’s ears. A low growl rumbled in Leonard’s stomach, he glanced at his empty plate and tried to convince his brain that he had already eaten, licked the plate completely clean, in fact. A gurgle from his gut objected to his attempted mind ploy. Even though Jake ate the last of the pancakes, Leonard couldn’t find it in himself to get worked up about it.

     Glancing out the cafe window, he noticed a familiar red pickup truck pulling into the parking lot. His hungry stomach abruptly jumped into his chest, causing him to choke on his own saliva. Leaning into the aisle, Leonard began to cough and pound on his chest with one fist.
     “You ‘kay?” Jake asked in a muffled tone, his mouth full of pancake.
     Leonard’s voice was caught and he couldn’t answer, he waved his hand to signal Jake that he was fine. Jake reluctantly dropped his fork and reached across the table to pat Leonard on the back, knocking over a jar of syrup in the process. The dark liquid spewed from the bottle, making it’s way across the table and over, down onto Leonard’s leg.
     Leonard stood up, as his coughing began to subside, syrup dripping down one leg. He reached up to rub his watery eyes from the lack of oxygen. As he opened them again, his stomach dropped down from his chest. He moved his hands away from his face and extended them towards the ceiling. He was looking down the barrel of a shotgun.
     “You sonofabitch!”
     Leonard’s gaze traveled down the barrel to the fiery redhead aiming at him. He grinned sheepishly at her, hoping to calm her with a rational explanation. “Ellie May, I was gonna come see ya as soon as Jake finished his ‘cakes. You gotta believe me.”
     Ellie’s grip on the gun tightened, her finger wasn’t on the trigger yet, but it was close. Her lips curled in disdain as she replied, “Liar! You’re a liar, Lenny! I knew ya was gonna try ta ditch town on me!” She looked at Jake and spat to the side, “This no good sack of blubber yer always savin’ from trouble. What about me, Lenny? Were ya really gonna let me get gussied up and leave me like a cat trying to cover crap on a marble floor?”
     Leonard glanced sideways at Jake, hoping he’d hold his tongue. He tried to signal to him with his eyes, but it was beyond Jake’s comprehension.
     Jake had the fork in his hand again, which he waved like a conductor’s baton as he spoke to Ellie, “Lookie here Ellie, me an’ Lenny are like brothers, you can’t be expectin’ him to come runnin’ whenever some girl is callin’.
     Ellie’s eyes widened at Jake’s words, for a moment Leonard worried she would turn the gun on him, but to his slight relief, it remained pointed at his own face. Ellie hissed like a wildcat, focusing a death glare on Jake, “Some girl? SOME GIRL? Sweet baby jesus Jake Hill, I am not just some girl!” Her lip curled further up her face, Leonard felt somewhat concerned that her lip might split. She turned her attention back to Leonard. “He’s so dumb, if you moved his plate five inches to the left, he would starve to death.” The remark roused some chuckles from surrounding tables.
     Leonard shrugged, it was true that Jake wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed, but Leonard hadn’t ever let that get in the way of their friendship.
     “Look Lenny, I know you squeeze yer quarters so tight you make them eagles scream, but you promised to take me to the monster truck rally today. Now git in my truck and let’s go!” She jerked the barrel towards the door, motioning Leonard out.
     Leonard lowered his arms and nodded obediently, he knew Ellie May was meaner than a wet panther, and he didn’t want to anger her any further. Casting an apologetic look at Jake, he trudged past Ellie and out the door.
     Jake watched Ellie follow behind Leonard, gun still pointed at his back. He took the final bite of his pancake and smiled as he smacked his lips.


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