Somewhere between the garlic bread supreme
and the arrival of the stuffed crust meat feast,
punctuated by a solitary visit to the endless refills of the vaguely flavoured,
the waiting for death begins.
He could talk, perhaps, but there’s nothing
new to talk about, nothing new to say to her anyway,
that he hasn’t bitten back in processed cheese before.
She could talk too, but how many years has it been? And hasn’t it all been said?
And isn’t it all just repeating ourselves now? And aren’t we locked in enough to the jobs and the kids and the house and the endless decades until we expire?
Maybe they hope that the onslaught of calories will hasten their demise,
maybe that explains the thoughtless conveyor belt shovelling,
or maybe the mmms and noms that they hardly believe are provided, with the mastication, to mask the lack of conversation?
Maybe they know the silence is longer now than the gap between two cheap courses
served by a waiter with a face the perfect advert for pizza?
Maybe they realise there’s years of this to come, before one or other of them finally breaks the stand-off and becomes the ultimate in take-outs?
Maybe that’s why, sated far beyond comfort, but mindful they don’t want to wait for much longer, they order the silent ice cream factory too?
Mike Hickman (@MikeHic13940507) is a writer from York, England. He has written for Off the Rock Productions (stage and audio), including a 2018 play about Groucho Marx. He has recently been published in the Blake-Jones Review, Bitchin’ Kitsch, the Cabinet of Heed, the Potato Soup Journal, and the Trouvaille Review.