Donner, Party of Three
A hostess seats the three of us at a six-top table. It’s like she knows what we did by looking at us. This is a lean year. My stomach’s rumbling.
Ask about the vegetarian options.
Don’t ask about the unholy howling emanating from the back kitchen along with an irresistible aroma. None of us are hungry for controversy.
The sign next to the Hostess stand says how many people The Donner Party’s served. Nowhere near the billions mentioned on McDonald’s signs.
Our Buick Regal’s water pump ceased operations on the long climb into these mountains. We’re lucky to make it this far, but I’d like to be luckier still.
The local mechanic said to plan a few nights’ stay. It’s murder, waiting on parts in remote passes.
The one of the other two left from my traveling crew who’s stronger and a tougher fighter than me says to the one who’s thank God weaker and slower, “Order that steak well done, trust me. Better still with blackening spice.”
The server tempts us with dessert menus. Baklava. Tiramasu. The weaker one says we should ration calories and cash while we’re stuck here who knows how long, with all our money dumping into the mechanic’s slush fund.
The strong one orders cherry cheesecake, cake not slice, eats the whole cheesecake. Burps.
I’m thinking something that’s got moral objections to the opposite thought it’s sharing space with.
They say it’s going to snow.
About the author:
Todd Mercer won the first Woodstock Writers Festival’s Flash Fiction contest. His chapbook, Box of Echoes, won the Michigan Writers Cooperative Press contest and his digital chapbook, Life-wish Maintenance, is forthcoming from RHP Books. Mercer's poetry and fiction appear in Apocrypha & Abstractions, Blink Ink, Blue Collar Review, The Camel Saloon, Camroc Press Review, East Coast Literary Review, 50-Word Stories, Main Street Rag Anthologies, Postcard Poems and Prose, River Lit, The Second Hump, and elsewhere.