Monday, April 28, 2008

The Roll a short story

He could not believe the size of the line for the buffet. He had sat through the ceremony "behaving" just like his mother had told him to. Even with the incense ball spewing smoke and the foreign language being spoke he was a model of good behavior. He knew what awaited after the wedding... he had been to one before, he was 13 after all. He had a lot of experience now and told people that regularly... he had to remind them he was no longer a kid. They didn't grasp the concept even with the reminders. He had had to stop his mother from cutting his chicken for him the night before. What was he four? Unfortunately all the experience in the world could not have prepared him for the size of this line... and the worst part was it was hardly moving. Old people never moved fast enough for him and he was famished, it had been nearly 2 hours since he had last ate! Didn't these people get that? "MOVE!" he thought. His younger brother started to whine about being hungry and that just made things worse. His mother put an end to the whining real quick with nothing more then a look. He had seen that look a lot in his life himself and he could not imagine anyone ever crossing his mother when she wore that look on her face. He fidgeted a little, wishing his mother had allowed him to bring his PSP. Mothers never let you do anything fun.

This girl he knew got in line behind his family. He had known her for years via these little get-togethers that his mother and her friends were so fond of. Until last year he had just thought she was a dumb girl but he did not see her as very dumb anymore. He tried to nonchalantly move to the back of his group so he could talk to her. Of course it would be easier if the line would move every know and then. The hosts had invited the elderly up to get their food first and what seemed like 3/4 of the group had risen to descend on the food. Well actually he would not call it 'descend' that implied speed, it could more accurately be called 'inched'. Some of them even centimetered. Finally he was standing in front of the girl.

"Hey Natalie" he began "did you like the wedding?"

She smiled at him and that was the last thing he understood before a blur of words erupted from her mouth. Her speech was littered with words like "beautiful", "romantic", "dashing" and "lovely". He was stymied but remembering the advice from his uncle he just nodded and smiled a lot. His uncle said he found it easier to agree and look happy when talking to a girl you like because usually girls you like also manage to trigger your brain's off switch. He had thought his uncle was just being funny up until this moment. He found he was agreeing that the bride's dress was "beautiful" and that the groom looked "dashing" in his tux.

His uncle who stood in front of him patted his shoulder at that moment "Hey T, the line is starting to move. Be ready because in roughly an hour from now we will hit the front of the buffet line....." and then winked at him and nodded approvingly in the direction of Natalie all in one masterful shot. His uncle called him 'T' because his name was Thomas and his mom refused to let the family call him 'Tommy'. So being the type of person his uncle was he shortened the nickname to a mere letter and it had stuck. His mom even called him "T" sometimes.... then she would say Thomas real quick to correct herself. She did not approve of the nickname and in reality that is why it stuck. He had deduced that the key to a nickname sticking is the reaction you get from people when you use it. As he was too young to care when it was first used the only person to reject was his mother. Seeing as his uncle was his mother's brother he had gained years of practice at tormenting her and when she overreacted to "Tommy" he had immediately tried out "T". She had said no with less venom in her tone so he kept correcting her when she said "Thomas" by saying "Also known as T". Everyone found this new game amusing and started slowly using the name more and more, finally his mother gave in and it became normal to call him T.

Anyway during his reverie about his nickname, Natalie had continued to rave about the "beautiful" wedding and he had continued to nod. When he next turned around he had to grab a plate as the buffet line had arrived in front of him at long last. He had managed a long conversation with Natalie and not looked stupid (which happened more then he would care to admit when he was around her in the past year). Of course he had not really added much to this conversation nor had he been witty or charming. He figured he better just settle for not looking stupid. He was 3 people behind where the first item could be grabbed, which happened to be rolls. He imagined them smothered in butter and his mouth began to water, which was dangerous as he had recently had braces put on his teeth and he tended to drool when he started salivating. He thought of the dogs his uncle had told him about who were trained to salivate at the sound of a bell and realized he was probably trained as well. Except he salivated at the idea of buttered rolls.

That was when he noticed it. Near the middle of the pile of rolls was a roll that looked like a face. He was dying to grab that roll. He made a quick prayer "Dear Lord, If you save that roll for me I promise I will listen to what my mom tells me forever! Ok.... maybe not but I will promise the week. On second thought lets just plan on this weekend. You know I couldn't keep the other promises anyway. Thank you. Amen" He waited for his turn to grab a roll and kept thinking "PLEASE! PLEASE! LET THAT ROLL BE MINE!" Then all of a sudden it was in his hand. As he moved through the line he stared at it with a satisfied smile on his face. Somehow when he had arrived at the end of the line he had ended up with a plate of food. That was a bit of a mystery as the last thing he had grabbed was this roll but he was not overly concerned. He carefully put his new friend "Toasty" on the edge of his plate away from the other food and walked back to his table. He sat the roll in front of his plate and ate his food without a glance anywhere else but at Toasty. He needed to bring out the face a little more so with his butter knife he carefully cut the bread away from the crease that looked like his mouth and then deepened the indentations that looked like eyes. There was a natural nose and he did nothing to that. His uncle glanced at his roll and said "Hey that looks like a face! That is cool, you should save that." He saw his mom shoot a scowl at his uncle that his uncle simply grinned at. His uncle sometimes resembled the Cheshire cat when he grinned and that toothy grin was on display now.

"The only problem would be that he would get moldy and gross" Thomas said in response.

"Not if we use some of the stuff my old girlfriend Teresa put on the roses I gave her when we first met. Those rose were still relatively in good shape when she threw them in the garbage 3 years later!" His uncle replied. Making light of what Thomas knew had been a very hard break up for his uncle.

"That would be cool but I don't have money to buy it."

"I still have that stuff. Lets put him on the dash of my car after you show people, because people have to see him, and then we can lacquer him up tonight when we get to my place."

Thomas had nearly forgotten that he was spending the weekend with his uncle and felt like maybe his prayer was not completely fair but then again God was all knowing so he had to know where he would spend the weekend. He would still try to be good after the weekend just to make up for it, just in case it mattered in the end. So after he was done eating he brought Toasty around to various people and introduced them to his roll. He had some odd looks from a few of the people nearby that he did not know but most people just laughed and remarked that it was a pretty cool discovery. The groom howled with laughter and insisted on having Toasty give a toast. Which consisted of Thomas saying how cool it was that the bride and groom were now married and he hoped them well out of the side of his mouth in a strange high pitched voice. People laughed and cheered him on. He was a little embarrassed when he was finished with the toast but a flood of curious people came over to check Toasty out, including Natalie.

After the fervor died down he took his roll out to the car with his uncle leading the way. His uncle dispensed advice about Natalie and congratulated him on his impromptu toast he had made. He told Thomas the roll voice was very funny and the words were well chosen and clearly delivered even with the silly voice. Thomas was excited and could not wait to get back in because Natalie had told him they should dance. He put Toasty on the dash and with a quick explanation to his uncle he ran back inside.

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