Tuesday, November 01, 2005

"BUFFET TRAY PILLOW" is a very special fast fiction based on this wonderful paper collage work by Lynn Hatzius
So jump up on the side of that buffet, put your plate of food right on top of your lap-tap and enjoy...


It's 1979 and the Panavision blares out the ad from America for the new all you can eat buffet, the Royal Fork. Three kings dressed in giant fork costumes fill their plates up while they shout, "Gold, frankincense and more, more, more !! Don't we have something to do ?", one king asks. "Ah it can wait," another king says filling his plate with chicken drumsticks. A young boy watches all this while stretched out on a dirty-gold shag carpet with eyes that will gladly be bigger than his stomach.

And the next weekend the boy's family drive to the Royal Fork, but find it challenging to get past the protesters with placards which decry the sacrilegious nature of the Royal Forks' advertising: "Gospels not Gluttony !", "Man cannot live by bread alone but only on the word of the Lord" and "Teach our Children to Stuff themselves on the Grace of God not Fatty Foods !"

The boy's family have driven for two hours and across the Canadian/American border to get to this restaurant so their intentions will not be thwarted. Protesters or not protesters, they will have their chicken.

And the restaurant is quiet as the local population are afraid to cross through the wrath of their religious neighbours.

"More for us," the boy's agnostic father laughs.

And the boy's mother and father go back two or three times to the eternally replenished buffet while the boy tops them by going back four times. Over plates of food he spits up sentence fragments. He's happy to have his fill of food.

"You're an eater all right," the father laughs, tousling his son's hair and the boy's mother and father go back for some soft ice-cream. While they are gone the boy stretches his body out on the length of the bench. There is a strange smell from the seat and so the boy turns his buffet tray over and rests his head on it. His feels like he's swallowed a wheelbarrow full of fireworks. He images a slit made in his stomach and explosions of food rocketing into the sky.

Outside protesters sing We Shall Overcome.

When his parents come back they don't see him beneath the other side of the table and so they naturally assume that he's in the restroom.

"When should we tell him," the boy's mother says.

"I don't even know if he'd understand the word adopted. I mean he's so slow," the boy's father replies.

And the boy wonders if his real parents could be among the protesters outside or the staff at the Royal Fork or the kings in fork costumes on the ads.

Or you.


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