All You Can Eat
Utensils clattered together while Jeff consolidated his plates into a neat stack and chewed his last bite. The reporter sitting across from him glanced at the stack of soiled dishes and grimaced. This interview was going nowhere fast; unless, how much food this man could cram down his gullet was newsworthy.
The waitress slid a check onto the table and glanced around the crowded restaurant before saying, “Thank you for coming today. Just pay the man at the counter on your way out.”
Jeff slapped his ample belly and made a solid thumping sound. “Oh, I’m just getting warmed up; I haven’t even touched that dessert bar yet.”
The waitress glanced at the reporter’s press credentials. “Are you sure I cannot get you anything, Mr. Davis?”
“Just a refill on the coffee please. Thank you.”
The waitress nodded once with a lukewarm smile and turned her attention to her other tables. She hid her annoyance well as she walked away, but reading people was a large part of Ted’s job, and he didn’t miss the slight sigh she gave before turning away.
“Mr. Wilson, maybe we should really move this interview along. I believe the waitress would like to clear the table for other customers.”
Jeff nodded toward a couple that stood up preparing to leave, and he smiled. “Ah, there’s plenty of turnover; don’t worry about it.” His chair screeched against the floor as he scooted it back. “Excuse me for a second; I spotted some cheesecake when I got my last plate. I have a feeling that’s not going to be there much longer.”
The waitress topped off Ted’s coffee, and he sipped it until his source returned with a plate rounded over with various desserts.
“I thought you went for cheesecake?”
“It’s under there somewhere,” he said with a shrug.
“So, the message you left me said that you had information about the mysterious vigilante that’s been working the city lately. I’d really like to hear it.”
Jeff stuffed an entire cup cake into his mouth, and after swallowing twice, he licked some icing off his fingers and nodded. “Yes, it’s me.”
Ted’s lips thinned. “I’d find that rather hard to believe.”
“Why’s that,” Jeff mumbled around a slice of pecan pie he was chewing.
“Well for one thing, you may be wearing a jogging suit but I don’t get the impression that you do much jogging. No offense.”
Jeff took a drink and said, “None taken,” before cramming half a slice of cheesecake into his mouth. “You know about the string of restaurant robberies that have been plaguing this area. Right?”
“Of course, Crime Stoppers has just raised the reward offered for information leading to the arrest of those responsible by five thousand dollars.”
“I didn’t know that.” Jeff smiled as he scratched the stubble on his chin. “Well, I overheard a conversation at dinner last night, and I’m pretty sure that this place is next. I might even know when.”
This interview was clearly going to be a waste of time. The reporter sighed and rested his eyes a moment before asking, “And just when would that be?”
A stack of plates crashed to the floor as two masked men rushed through the door. One of the thieves fired his gun into the ceiling twice. Most of the people dived under tables for cover while others raised their hands to show that they’d offer no resistance. The other masked man flourished a large cloth bag, held it open, and began walking around the room demanding wallets and purses.
The gunman pointed his gun from person to person and shouted over the commotion. “No one make any sudden moves, and no one will get hurt! Just do as my associate tells you, and everything will be fine.”
Jeff slurped the last of his soda with his straw and winked at the reporter as he sat the empty glass down and shook his belly with his free hand. “Looks like it’s time to burn off some of this stored energy.”
Ted blinked as the fat man sprang from his chair and leapt into the air with a powerful kick. He flipped twice while spinning in the air, and landed crouched on the floor with a closed fist pressed against the floor between his feet. The gunman pulled back his head in surprise and blinked twice before the fat man spun and swept his feet out from under him. The gunman’s head slapped the concrete floor with a thump. Jeff snatched the gun from the man’s hand, flipped open the cylinder, and let the bullets rain to the floor before he threw it through a wall with a powerful swing of his arm.
The masked man holding the bag opened his mouth to say something, glanced at the hole in the brick wall and then abruptly turned to run. He took two steps toward the kitchen before the fat vigilante sprang twenty feet in a single jump and landed on the thief’s back. Tables toppled and glass shattered as the two slid across the floor in a tangled heap. They crashed into the kitchen wall busting the drywall and knocking several ceiling tiles to the floor. Seeing that the thief was out cold, Jeff stood up, dusted off his clothes and tightened the draw string on his pants.
Ted glanced around the room noting the shock on the people’s faces and then his eyebrows drew closer together when he realized that Jeff appeared to be slightly smaller than before. Tires squealed outside, and an instant later, Jeff ran out the door leaving a streaked blur in Ted’s vision that he quickly blinked away.
When Ted stepped outside the restaurant, he followed a set of dark tracks with his eyes to a battered car that was lying on its side with the roof torn off. Another masked man lay motionless at Jeff’s feet beside the battered car. Sirens wailed in the distance. As Jeff took a step away from the scene, his pants nearly fell to his ankles, and he quickly pulled them back up covering his tighty whites which were also sliding down to expose something rather unsightly.
Jeff motioned for Ted to follow with one hand while he held his pants up with the other and walked quickly away. “Come on, we need to leave. I’d rather not have to explain myself to the police.”
Ted jogged a few steps to catch up, and they slipped around a corner just before a police car sped passed them and screeched to a stop by the mangled car.
“Okay, just before all that happened.” Ted paused a second to convince himself that that it did indeed happen. “You said that it was time to burn some stored energy. I take it that you can burn stored fat at an accelerated rate as you choose.”
Jeff nodded as they quickly changed directions. “There is another buffet around the corner. We’ll finish the interview there.” His stomach rumbled loudly. “I’ve got to eat something” He jostled his loose clothes. “I’m wasting away here.”
“So, what happened? Is this the result of some scientists experiment or maybe you were bitten by a genetically engineered insect or something?”
Jeff stopped to tighten his draw string again, checked to make sure no one was following, and shook his head. “Na, I’m a janitor at the nuclear power plant. I had these diet pills in my lunch box and I put my lunch in a shielded area to warm it.” He shrugged nonchalantly. “My bad.”
Ted slowly shook his head. “So, you’re the vigilante and an idiot.”
As they continued walking down the alley, Jeff smiled to himself. “I can eat anything I want and all I want. You can write complete sentences. We both have our super powers.”
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Eddie D. Moore
Eddie D. Moore travels extensively for work, and he spends much of that time listening to audio books. The rest of the time is spent dreaming of stories to write and he spends the weekends writing them. His stories have been published by Jouth Webzine, The Flash Fiction Press, Every Day Fiction, Theme of Absence, Flash Fiction Magazine, and Fantasia Divinity Magazine. Find more on his blog: https://eddiedmoore.wordpress.com/.
Hannah Greenberg’s newest collection of brief fiction, Can I Be Real, Too? is now available and includes a Flash Fiction Press story. It can be ordered at Amazon.