by R.M. Cymber
I was feeling particularly hungry that day because it was the last day of Lent and I had given up eating at all-you-can-eat buffets due to the doctor’s orders. Something about onset coronary artery disease and gastrointestinal dyspepsia. I didn’t really care if Jesus was in heaven thinking that I was a failure and didn’t keep to my sacrifices. I saw a man at the grocery store the other day that looked exactly like Jesus. He had the long hair and the white robe and he even caused the credit card reader to malfunction and, as a result, I got all of my groceries for free. I figured it was by Jesus’s doing because he stood behind me in line with his hands outstretched. The clerk stood there dumbfounded. I don’t think she had much faith.
Hibachi Grill was my favorite buffet. I thought about going to my close second (Golden Corral), but I decided against it. It was probably because I had a thing for Asian women. The hostesses at Hibachi Grill were always friendly even though they didn’t speak English very well. There was an innocence in the hostess that led me to my seat. She didn’t judge me after I told her I wanted a Coca-Cola – she bowed with her eyes and walked toward the station next to the kitchen.
As I was eating, a couple of blond-haired twins stared at me while I ate. They giggled and their mother shushed them. I’m used to these sorts of things. People just aren’t used to seeing a sexy 500 pound man that is comfortable and secure enough to lounge on the booth at a restaurant. I was like some new exotic exhibit at a museum. Or, maybe the boys laughed because I had a long white beard like Santa Clause. They might have been thinking why I wasn’t at the North Pole working my ass off to get the toys ready for Christmas.
I decided to stay at Hibachi Grill all day because I figured I might as well get my money’s worth. The staff usually don’t make a fuss about me staying for two meals because they know I’m a regular. I took a brief break in-between lunch at dinner in order to renew my appetite. I walked to the entrance, picked up a copy of The Riverfront Times, and took it back to my booth. After a bit of reading, my eyes fought to stay open and, eventually, I fell asleep.
I woke up to a slimy touch on my shoulder. There was a giant frog standing beside my booth.
“Excuse me sir,” the frog said, “I’m afraid we closed five minutes ago. We reopen tomorrow morning at 10:00.”
“Oh,” I said, surprised to hear the frog speak in English. I noticed that he had on a white button-down shirt and black slacks. “What ever happened to Takashi? Is he still the manager here?”
“I’m afraid not,” the frog said, interlacing his fingers in front of his belly. “He had to go back to Osaka to care for his mother.” After he said this, the frog looked at his watch. “I’m sorry sir, but we have so much cleaning to do.”
As I got out of the booth, I took the magazine back to the entrance and replaced it on the magazine rack. The sky had grown much darker than before and it looked like at any minute rain might fall. I pulled up my pants and crouched down into my Honda Civic. I turned the ignition when I heard a rumble of thunder and a large raindrop smacked the windshield.
R.M. Cymber is a graduate student at Fontbonne University in St Louis, Missouri. Some of his works are featured in Scrutiny Journal, The Provo Canyon Review, and Crack the Spine Literary Magazine. His poem “Manna” was nominated for the 2017 Pushcart Prize. He is also an editor at River Styx Literary Magazine. Currently, he is writing poetry and short stories.