Gabriel Thomas

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Welcome to my blog. I write short stories, free verse poetry and give advice on writing. Have a nice read.

"FRIDAY EVENING AT THE ALL-YOU-CAN-EAT BUFFET" Prose by Gabriel Thomas

"FRIDAY EVENING AT THE ALL-YOU-CAN-EAT BUFFET" Prose by Gabriel Thomas

Friday evening,

I was starving.

So, I went to The All-You-Can-Eat Buffet.

 

Jesus! Oh-God-help-me.

 

There were about a thousand of us in there,

at the buffet –

packed in –

little piggies jostling for Mama Swine's tit.

 

I juked and maneuvered and elbowed and made my way in,

 

then a ten-year-old boy threatened me.

 

He threatened me for the last

baconcheeseburger slider.

 

Ten years old,

biceps like hams,

he did it with his eyes.

 

I backed off,

out matched.

Slopped some pot roast,

made it back to a tiny booth table.

 

I ate in fear while looking around.

There was a tension in the air

like just before a riot.

 

Then,

as the breach memories of the buffet faded,

as my adrenaline subsided,    

as my mind calmed,

 

I began listening to a Loud woman in a group near me.

 

"Our next class is Wednesday after the service. It’s over Greed and Envy" she said, "I'm really looking forward to it. I must confess, I AM envious of Carrie's vacuum cleaner. It's beautiful. Perfectly balanced. Got to be one of those industrial ones. It’s got that feel, you know?... Anyway, I AM envious of her and that vacuum cleaner. I feel guilty about it, and I think this class will really help me with that. I'm tired of feeling guilty."

 

She kept rambling.

My jaw slowly dropped

and stayed there.

Eventually,

from my fingers,

a french fry tumbled away.

I looked around then,

panning the space,

the crowd,

the masses,

the chewing and sucking and sweating,

the screaming young,

the women chatting,

men standing watch over families,

sons searching for guidance,

other men in the midst

just sitting,

like me,

defeated in some way,

time etched into their faces,

their bodies limp and exhausted and beaten.

Then I noticed the eyes.

Some of their eyes wondered the room,

like mine,

analyzing

this place,

this moment.

Pondering it

and their place in it.

A hopeless acceptance

weighing down upon

slumped shoulders.

Some knowing,

I think,

of how they got here.

Maybe what went wrong.

Maybe there was never any real chance,

and this is how they got here.

Most just seeing it as it was,

I think,

their life.

A pointlessness.

A grasp for a meaning.

A settling for any possible comfort.

 

A settling,

and this is a highlight.

This right here.

A Friday night

at a cheap buffet

in a mass of chaos.  

 

I see their eyes.

I see their souls through their eyes.

 

Inside of me,

at that moment,

something broke.  

 

I rose then.

I rose slow

from the table

then moved silently,

walking fast.

 

But Not Too Fast!

 

I was afraid, you see?

Scared some unknown power might take notice.

Something of power and malevolence and godlike and an enforcer of predetermination…

It might see me and try to stop me!

 

I stepped on.

I burst through exit doors

into the night,

into cold air,

into black sky.

Then I turned,

looking back

at the bright building.

 

From life’s insanity,

from original sin,

from some kind of guilt instilled into the common heart,

somehow,

somehow,

 

I’ve escaped.

 

"FRIDAY EVENING AT THE ALL-YOU-CAN-EAT BUFFET" Prose by Gabriel Thomas

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