Greetings, WYMOP readers!
I’d stopped to pick up Miss D on my way to Handsome’s house. The two were going to be heading to the mall in a bit to catch a morning movie, and since I’m a parent, I’m the ride; no worries, I get that. The boy had asked that I let him know when we were on the way, and I thought I also got that: just a little forewarning to make sure he was showered and pantsed by the time we walked in the door. It turned out I was wrong—he wanted the time to fill the house with smoke.
The blue haze greeting us as we walked into the kitchen. A great shape, notably larger than me, loomed before the stove, the outer edges of a pair of pans just visible around either side the dancing bulk. Eggs were happening in the pan on the left, while something pancakish was occurring in the one on the right, and there was a whole bunch of cracking, pouring, shaking, spattering, and spatula-ing going on—not to mention just a bit of under-the-breath cursing.
Handsome was committing aggravated breakfast.
“Has there been an actual fire?” I said.
I waved a hand to hopefully clear a breathable patch. “The smoke.”
He sniffed the air, such as it was. “I can’t smell anything. But I have a lousy sense of smell.”
I continued to wave. “But, don’t you have to breathe? Can’t you see?”
He squinted. “Yes?”
“I don’t smell any smoke either,” said Miss D, standing back (wisely, I thought) quite a bit from the scene of the crime stove, and I will neither confirm nor deny that she covered her mouth and nose with a sleeve as she vocally stood by her man . . . from across the room.
“Quick pro tip,” I said, leaning past Handsome to poke one of the buttons on the front of the microwave/vent hood. The fan came on with a whir, sucking smoke out of the room a bit like Genie going back in the bottle (If you’re too young to get the reference, ask your parents—and if they’re too young, just keep it to yourself).
“Well,” he said. “Would you look at that!” Then he grinned at me, in a way we writers sometimes describe as maniacally. “Thanks, Dad. Want a pancake?”
I finally did what I’d been avoiding all this time, and actually looked at the stovetop. My eyes shot back up to meet his again, and he may have seen something in my face. Could have been shock. Could have been horror. Could have been a blankness entering my eyes as I started to feel faint. But whatever he saw, it made his own manic smile falter a bit, and he went a little soft around the eyes, and that hint of disappointment touching my son’s expression made my own heart go pitter-pat.
I sighed. “Yes,” I said. “I’ll have a pan—”
“How about eggs,” he said, flipping a bunch of stuff onto a plate. “You want eggs?”
“I don’t eat eggs,” I said.
“You do today!” He thrust the plate of scrambled egg-covered pansplat into my hands.
“But I don’t like eggs,” I said.
“You do today!” he repeated, turning away to fix his own plate. Miss D came to me while he was distracted and rescued me from my eggs. I love that girl.
“Enjoy, Father,” Handsome said as he and D walked away with their plates. “If you want any more, there’s plenty of batter there.”
He was right: sitting on the counter by the stove was a mixing bowl containing more than a half gallon of pancake batter, with what had to be a whole bag of chocolate chips stirred roughly in—which did go a ways in explaining the oddly cow flopish shape and coloring of the pansplat on my own plate. The wooden spoon stuck straight up from the center of the mass, and when I tried to pull the spoon out the bowl lifted up a bit before thunking back down to the counter, the strangely industrial-looking muck releasing the long-handled stirrer with an obvious sucking pop.
“What the hell,” I shouted, “am I supposed to do with this?”
“Put it in the fridge?” he called back. “I might want more pancakes later.”
“Oh, and we need more pancake mix.”
“And chocolate chips.”
“Right,” I said. Then, for want of anything positive to say about the kitchen—which looked like I’d need to hire one of those cleaning teams that come in after the police have released the scene—I said it again. “Right.”
My pansplat, by the way, hideous as it was, was delicious.
Talk to you later.