Rants, raves, fiction, and laughs

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Happy Hallowe'en!

A special thanks to Tony Noland and Werewolf Mike Murphy. My concept was an entry in the "dullest horror movie" hashtag thread. Tony and Mike sort of ran with it for a few yards. I managed to intercept it and get possession again, but I couldn't have done it without 'em. And now, without further ado, I present


“Welcome to Dr. Frankenstein’s House of Pancakes. Can I get you something to drink?”
“I’ll have the bottomless pot of coffee.”
“Decaf or regular?”
“What do you think?” came the sarcastic reply.
Stephanie tried to brush off the comment, but it stung. There hadn’t been anything insipid in her question. Why the smart-ass remark? The pained look on her face must have registered with the customer, who put her hands up in supplication.
“Look, I’m sorry. I’m having a rough day. It’s my time of the month, and I can be a real bitch,” she added in an undertone.
Three weeks ago, that comment would have meant something very different to Stephanie (and been far too much information.) Now, it only took her a fraction of a second to note the woman’s swarthy side-burns and bushy brows. Ah, werewolf.

Stephanie wrote the coffee on the werewolf’s tab and walked to the kitchen. On the way, she passed a clean fork to the shoggoth who kept dropping his, brought another batch of creamer to the family of villagers (their pitchforks propped up against their chairs), and took back an order of blood sausage which was too cooked for a customer’s liking. The vampire scowled at her as he complained about his breakfast.
“And by too cooked, I mean it’s been cooked. Next time I tell you I want something raw, I’m not using an artful metaphor,” he sniffed. He pulled out a package of Lucky’s and started to light up, when a theatrical throat-clearing made him pause.

Mr. Prometheus, the assistant manager, had materialized from the shadows and was now looming over the vampire’s table. Mr. P raised a gigantic scar-mottled hand to a bright red sign on the wall. It read, “This is a non-smoking establishment. FIRE BAD.” He growled under his throat for emphasis. The vampire turned three shades whiter (until he was nearly translucent) and quietly put the unlit cigarette next to his coffee mug.

“Thanks,” whispered Stephanie, and Mr. P gave her a friendly, if slightly lopsided wink. He was quite well spoken, and very intelligent, but he never revealed it to the customers. They were more inclined to respect him and the staff if he didn’t try to coax them into conversations about Proust. Stephanie had been nervous around Mr. P until the day he had helped her with a difficult crossword puzzle during her lunch break.

She passed Patrick on her way to the kitchen. An anxious gypsy mother was asking what the Igor Special was.
“It’s a tall stack of pancakes: one classic buttermilk, one blueberry, one buckwheat, and one pecan. Comes with an egg and your choice of bacon or scrapple.”
“Oh, I see. A stack made out of different pancakes,” sighed the mother in relief.

Just don’t ask what’s in the scrapple, Stephanie thought, stifling a giggle. Her grin slipped off her face as she walked hip-first through the shiny metal kitchen doors and dropped off the blood sausage.
“I screwed up another one,” she sighed.
“It’th only your firtht one thith week, and it’th Thurthday at that,” said Igor kindly, agitating the hash-browns on the griddle. “You’re getting better, Thtephanie. Don’t worry. You’ll thoon be an exthpert.”
“Thanks,” said Stephanie, making an effort to pronounce her ‘esses.’ After listening to Igor for a while, she had a tendency to pick up his lisp. She picked up a pot of coffee from the line of thermal pitchers, and waited for Igor to hand her a new raw sausage.

Of course, all fry cooks were required by law to wear hair-nets, to prevent unwanted additions to the food. Igor was probably the only fry cook who wore hand and face nets as well. The result looked a bit like an Olympic fencer, wearing dainty crocheted gloves and a greasy apron. The face net had the added advantage of catching run off from the little man’s precipitous small-talk.

She was on her way to drop off the food when a figure ran through the double doors and smashed into her. The blood sausage sailed through the air as the plate dropped and smashed. Hot coffee poured copiously over her work clothes and scalded her and the person in her lap. Stephanie screamed as her assailant scrambled to his knees and blinked at her through his specs.

It was the boss.

She had barely seen Dr. Victor Frankenstein (or ‘Doc’ as the others called him) since she was hired, but she liked him. It was impossible not to like Doc. He was middle-aged and handsome, if a bit on the lanky side. The doc was driven, you could tell by the way he ran the place, but he also cared about his employees. On Stephanie’s first day, when she’d first dressed in her green uniform, in the pocket of her apron was a handwritten note saying, “Welcome to the family!” It had also included some “free meal” coupons that she could use whenever she wanted (which admittedly she had never used since she already got free meals during her shift). Now, with his glasses askew, and his graying hair in his eyes, she couldn't help but think Doc was kind of cute. Then she remembered her ruined uniform and various coffee burns.

“Owwww!” she moaned.
“Uh! I’m s-so sorry, Stephanie,” Doc stammered, as he helped her to her feet. “Oh! You’re…you’re a mess! I’m sorry! Oh dear! This really couldn’t have happened at a worse time,” he moaned. He sounded so distraught that Stephanie’s heart went out to him.
“What’th all thith thillineth?” asked Igor indignantly. He was apparently ignorant that the airborne sausage had landed on his head. He stopped short as he eyed Stephanie’s ruined uniform, and the disheveled Doc. “Mathter Victor? Whath going on?”
“There’s thomething—er, sorry,-- something coming to the restaurant. Something horrible that threatens to undo all we’ve fought to achieve here,” said Doc soberly.
“Villagerth with pitchforkth?” asked Igor, trembling.
“No, they’re at table eight. Incidentally, Stephanie, they could use a refill of water.”
“I’ll get right on that.”
“No, you need to change into a fresh uniform first. I’ll see to them.”
“I don’t underthtand, Mathter. What’th tho horrible? What’th coming to the rethtaurant that can dethtroy uth all? It’th not that Van Helthing chap that shot up the plathe with his crothbowth, ith it?”
“No….it’s….” Doc trailed off before he steeled himself.
“He’s here, Doc,” said Mr. Prometheus, standing in the kitchen doorway.
“Who ith?” demanded Igor, now literally hopping mad.
“It’s a food critic,” said Doc in a low quaver.
The others froze. Stephanie gasped in alarm, and the Doc pulled her to him, comforting her in his embrace, but also seeking comfort in it.
“What shall we do, mathter?” asked Igor.
“We’re gonna give ‘em the best damn pecan pancakes they’ve ever eaten, that’s what,” said Stephanie boldy. The Doctor gave her an admiring smile.
“MMMMM…” said Mr. Prometheus, from the doorway.

Happy Halloween!


Sam said...

Fabulouth! I love the characters, ethpeciathally Igor, and how you've worked in so many horror movie references, just perfect for Halloween.

Spooky too that I've used the word "supplication" in my #FridayFlash for, I think, the first time this week as well.

shannon said...

So cute! This left me smiling! I'll take a cuppa bottomless coffee & a big stack of those Love it!

Monica Marier said...

@Sam. Gosh! Forgot I used the word "supplication." I'm glad you liked it. I hoped Igor'th dialogue wasn't too obthcured by his lisp.

Monica Marier said...

@Shannon Thanks for stopping by! I love pancake houses, so this was a lot to fun to write.

M.T. Murphy said...

Ha! Outthtanding!

Now I want pancakes, but hold the scrapple.

jim bronyaur said...

Mon-Dawg... how awesome is this one??? Pff.. and you were worried about it? This is the most PERFECT Halloween story. Your voice shines in this one like... well, something shiny. :)

Seriously though - this is great. This is the type of writing you were meant for.


Jim Bronyaur
J-Dawg/Bronyaursaurus :)

Anonymous said...

Food critic: now that is scary.
Loved it. And I'll take a thide of thrapplingth pleathe.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely love it! From the FIRE BAD to Stephanie boldly ready to defend her diner from the evil that awaits!

Monica Marier said...

@MT Seriously thinking of doing pancakes for supper tonight.

@Jimbro Thanks so much. That's the best encouragement ever. I feel a little frustrated that I can't pull out the serious and deep stuff, but knowing that I'm doing something well means a lot.

Monica Marier said...

Thanks! You're the first one brave enough to try the scrapple.

@Katen Fire Bad was Mike's contribution (thanks, Mike!). I think I named her "Stephanie" just because Igor couldn't pronounce it.

Anonymous said...

Haha! I love it. A food critic is by far the worst horror! Brilliant story!

John Wiswell said...

Worth reading for the title alone. Very wacky, Monica.

Monica Marier said...

@Emma If I recall, there's a food magazine that does a yearly list of the best Pancake houses. Pecan topped the list for 3 years

@JohnWiswell Pleasure as always. ; )

Eric J. Krause said...

Loved it! The humor and good feelings in this horror setting made this a wonderful read. Loved that the huge problem (usually reserved for killings and mutilations in Halloween horror stories) was a food critic. Great story!

Monica Marier said...

@Eric I really wanted to write a gore-fest and use words like "viscera" and "sinews" but story just kept poking at me until I wrote it. It's funny how that works out sometimes. *L*

Tony Noland said...

Loved it! The mixed stack of pancakes was brilliant!

Janet Lingel Aldrich said...

Oh, this was so much fun! I laughed like crazy at the villagers with their pitchforks, and Van Helsing shooting the place up with his crossbow (are we talking the Hugh Jackman VH?) and oh, my! FIRE BAD ...

Thank you, thank you. I needed this!

Netta said...

Absolutely hilarious. I LOVE IT!

Marisa Birns said...

Just so crazy, funny, and delightful! Laughed aloud during the whole thing.

Mr. Prometheus certainly knows what he's pointing about! Hah.

Johanna Harness said...

Great fun, Monica! So glad you intercepted it. :)

Monica Marier said...

@Tony thanks for all your help, dude
@Janet. Yes. Now that I think on it, it probably was the HJ Van Helsing. That's a funny thing to include by accident.

Anonymous said...

Very entertaining- loved it.
Kari @ The Best Place By The Fire

Anonymous said...

You know, thometimeth I'm just too thlow for my own good!

Mr. P: I was thinking "Prometheus", as in the Titan who got chained to the rock (which would have put a whole new spin on "Fire Bad" ... LOL!) and completely forgot that Mary Shelley's 'subtitle' for her book was "The Modern Prometheus".

I'll be awake soon, and thinking; promise!

Steve Green said...

Abtholutey thmathing, I thought thith wath ecthtremely amuthing, and tho unuthual. Thank you.

Harry said...

Monica this may have started out as the "dullest horror movie" but it ended up the most fun Halloween story I've read this year! Loved it!

Monica Marier said...

@Kari Wow! Thanks for stopping by!

@demonespirit That's a good point, and I'm sure you're not the only one. I did have to think a while for a good name for Mr. P. "The monster" wasn't working for me, and Frankenstein was (of course) the creator, not the creation.

@steve it'th amathing how many people have commented on thith thtory in Igor'th lithp. I can't remember if it's a Boris Karloff thing, a Looney Toons thing or a Terry Pratchett thing, but I'm glad it scanned.

@Harry Wow! Super-thanks for the compliment.

Danielle La Paglia said...

I love this, Monica! You create fantastic characters in all your stories. I was smiling the whole way through. Excellent job!

Anonymous said...

Awesome!!! I stumbled across it while looking for a mixed drink recipe and I am thrilled I stayed to read. The writing is excellent. I can see the pancake house while reading. Kudos, Monica. Please write many more. :)