What’s on the Menu?

By Audrey W.



He glanced up at the clock on the kitchen wall, then at his wrist watch out of habit. So far he was right on schedule. But then how ‘off’ could a person be if they’d just started their day?


John Gage pushed back his chair and stood up. He took a last spoonful of Cheerios cereal as he picked up the bowl with his left hand, his spoon in his right. He then set both items in the sink.


After a quick swig of remaining coffee as he passed by the table, he went into the livingroom and grabbed his keys off a nail in the wall by the front door. Gage briefly patted a back pocket of his jeans to make sure he had his wallet, then was on his way out.


The off-duty paramedic had promised his partner Roy DeSoto that he’d come over in the morning to help clean out the DeSotos’ garage. If he was lucky, they’d be able to take their time with the chore and he’d still be there close to noon. Then Roy’s wife would likely offer him lunch before he had to take off for his aunt’s home in Long Beach, where he was needed for a task as well.



John brought his Land Rover to a stop alongside the edge of the yard that faced the street. Roy’s Porsche and Joanne DeSoto’s station wagon were both along the curb as well. Their driveway was empty to allow for the men to work on the garage.


It was only 7:30 in the morning since he and Roy had planned on an early start. John figured his friend might be waiting impatiently for him because he’d taken a little longer than usual to get there due to traffic. Was he ever wrong.


“C’mon in,” Roy greeted after Gage rang the doorbell. DeSoto was dressed in jeans and an old white t-shirt, but he had a coffee mug in his right hand. A sign he wasn’t quite ready to start.


“We kind of slept in,” Roy explained as they walked through the livingroom. “You want some breakfast? Jo’s just about got it ready.”


Well, sure, he’d already eaten breakfast. But really it wasn’t that filling. And how could he turn down the free meal? Joanne’s cooking tasted good no matter what she fixed.  


“Sure,” John said with a shrug. “What’re we havin’?”


“Blueberry pancakes and sausages.”


Pancakes would hold them for a long time. Lunch was likely out of the equation later. But at least he’d be at his Aunt Ruth’s house in the afternoon. She always offered him a meal, so he’d just have to eat lunch there.



It was close to noon before the two paramedics were done with the garage. After his third glass of lemonade for the day to refresh himself, John was on his way to Long Beach to repair a couple of steps on his aunt’s back porch.


When he arrived, he was greeted in the driveway with a hug as soon as he’d gotten out of his Land Rover.


“Are you hungry?” Ruth asked as she walked beside him up the sidewalk. “The steps can wait if you want to eat first.”


He wasn’t starving. But the pancakes were starting to wear off. A ham  or bologna sandwich for lunch sure sounded great.


“As a matter of fact, I kinda am.”


“Wonderful,” she said with a smile.


When they entered the house, she continued with, ”I thought you might be hungry when you got here, so I started to make us some brunch. You know, eggs, toast. . .a change from the usual lunch.”


Johnny forced a smile. Two breakfasts in one day was enough. However, not wanting to hurt his aunt’s feelings, he kept his thoughts to himself.


“Good deal,” he said.


It looked like he’d just have to wait till he got home to have something other than breakfast.



Finally by early evening, John had made it home. Now what he ate was in his control, in his hands. All he had to do was fix it.


He opened the cupboard door and stared at the food on the shelves. . .or lack there of. Fact was, he hadn’t gone grocery shopping for awhile other than to pick up some milk and his choice was cereal or toaster pastries, the latter consisting of cinnamon lions or strawberry elephants. He hadn't noticed earlier because the Cheerios he'd had were already out on the counter.


Well, there was always the refrigerator.


Milk, juice, butter, a couple of beers, eggs and a few pieces of fruit was all that he had in there. No meat of any kind was in the refrigerator or the freezer. 


“Ah, man. . .ya gotta be kiddin’ me. . .”


It was either breakfast for a fourth time, or a trip to the store or out to eat at a restaurant.


He was hungry enough, the latter won out. He'd just need to take a quick shower and change first.




John ate his steak and potatoes slowly, savoring every bite. He shoved a mouth full of food to the inside of his right cheek and took a sip of hot coffee before chewing his food again. He then set the cup down beside a glass of milk he’d also ordered.


Dinner. It really was dinner.


The evening meal had never tasted so good.


Flirting with the waitress who seemed to enjoy waiting on a guy by himself was an added bonus. He hoped by the time he was ready to leave, he’d have her phone number.


While John sat there by himself in the vinyl padded booth, he reflected back on the day. He was always glad to lend a hand when needed, meal provided or not. But the next time he agreed to help out, and food was part of the deal, he decided he might want to ask what’s on the ‘menu’ first.




My husband inspired this story. :o) Poor guy went to two places one day and came home in the late afternoon, having eaten breakfast at each stop! lol  Right away I thought of Johnny.




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