Brad was having trouble picking out which breakfast he wanted from the 17 different options available on Jimmy’s menu. There was the Pile O’Cakes – a stack of eight pancakes, topped with butter, jam, syrup and sprinkled with powdered sugar, surrounded by bacon strips and hashed browns all served in a skillet. There was the Bottle Cake Platter – a plate of pancakes baked in glass bottles which are then shattered, revealing bottle-shaped cakes, served with bottle of international syrups surrounded by bacon, bacon-bits and scrambled egg hash. There was the Smile Face Pancake – a single pancake topped with ingredients arranged to look like, as the menu put it, “an actual living face!”
“What?” Brad wondered.
“I’m sorry sir, did you have a question?” the server asked.
“Yeah, does the Smile Face Pancake . . . is it any good?”
The server looked at Brad for a few seconds with an unsteady gaze.
“Sure,” she finally said, “Sure, it’s good.”
“Does it really look like an actual living face?” he asked.
“Sure,” she said again, “Sure it does.”
“Okay, I’ll try it,” he said. He wasn’t interested in the face so much as the serving size. One pancake he could handle. This place was ridiculous.
Ten minutes later, the server returned with a large plate. On the plate, was a large pancake. On the pancake was a human face.
“Enjoy,” the server said and ran off. Brad was momentarily surprised to notice she had tears in her eyes.
He looked down at his pancake.
Whatever ingredients they had used to make the face really worked. It looked, for all intents and purposes, as if his pancake had a real human face made of real human skin and real human muscle. He couldn’t figure it out but the effect was unnerving.
Raising his fork, he prepared to spear the pancake right in its too-human nose.
“Wait!” the pancake screamed.
Brad leapt about a foot and a half out of his chair. He looked around. None of the other customers had noticed him or, apparently, had heard the scream coming from the pancake. He looked at his plate.
The pancake had opened its eyes. They were real, honest to goodness, eyeballs. Looking up. Looking at him.
“Did, did you just say something?” Brad asked the pancake.
“I sure did,” said the pancake, “I said ‘wait’ because I wanted you to wait. I didn’t want you to stick that fork in me until I’d had a chance to talk to you.”
Brad didn’t really know what was going on, but he had never been spoken to by a pancake before so he had no frame of reference for this. Every impulse in his body told him to run, get the hell out of that restaurant, put as much distance between himself and the talking pancake as he could. Perhaps, call the police? But, again, no frame of reference. This could be some sort of magic wishing pancake. It could be the answer to his prayers. He’d be a fool to turn away from something so potentially life-altering as a talking pancake.
“Okay,” he said to the pancake, “What do you want to talk about?”
“You’re going to eat me,” the pancake said.
“No!” Brad said, “Not anymore! Don’t worry about that!”
“No, no, no! Shhhh. SHHHHH!” said the pancake, “It’s okay. It’s cool. I want you to eat me.”
“Wh – you do?” Brad said.
“Yeah, yeah. I waaaaant you to eat me. It’s what I’m here for. It’s why I was made. To be eaten. To be cut up into little pieces and shoved into your mouth and chewed and chewed and swallowed. Leh-leh-leh-leh-leh-leh.” Here the pancake was waggling its tongue in and out of its mouth.
“I – I don’t think I even could anymore,” said Brad.
“Oh, but you must!” said the pancake, “You must! You have to eat me. It’s the circle of liiiiiiiife! To not be eaten is the worst thing that can happen to a pancake! It’s torture to exist on this planet. We long for realease from our sweet sufffffering. Leh-leh-leh-leh-leh-leh-leh -”
“Okay, okay, wait,” said Brad, “Can’t i just feed you to a dog or something. I don’t think I can eat something that’s talking to me.”
“No!” snapped the pancake, “It has to be a person and that person has to be you! You, Brad!”
“How do you know my name?”
“All will come clear,” said the pancake. And it closed its eyes for a minute.
“Are you still there?” asked Brad.
“I’m thinking,” said the pancake, “and getting ready for this, the next part of my journey. Into your mouth. Over your tongue. It will be bliiiiissssssssss.”
“Well,” said Brad, unhappy with this whole mess, “how should I do it?”
“Cut me up!” said the pancake. “Cut me up and eat me! I’m deliciousssssss. Delllliiiiicioussssssssss.”
Brad wasn’t so sure about this. It seemed wrong to eat the pancake, no matter how much it implored him to. Plus, it was more a big face than a pancake. Honestly, it was so well crafted that it didn’t look like it was made out of batter at all. It was more a big piece of rubbery skin with a face in the middle.
“Come on!” shouted the pancake, “Come on, ya pussy!”
“You’re not making me want to eat you,” said Brad.
“I’m sorry, buddy. I’m sorry. I just want you to eat me sooooo muuuuuuch. Leh-leh-leh-leh-leh-leh.”
“Fine!” Brad shouted and he stabbed down into the pancake with his fork.
“Oh, yeah!” the pancake said, “Tear me apart! Yeah! YEAH!”
Brad cut and tore and ripped apart the pancake. A strange fluid that may have been buttery syrup drained from its cracks and crevices. Still, it continued shouting.
“Cut me, baby! Ah, yeeeaaaahhh! CUT ME UP! WOOOO!”
Brad finished cutting the pancake up into bite-sized pieces. Still, the yelling continued.
“Now, put me in your mouth! AWWWW, COME ON! Stick me in there yeeeeaaaahhhh!”
Brad started shoveling the rubbery chunks of pancake into his mouth feeling the fleshy matter slide over his teeth as the voice continued.
“Now, chew me up, yeeeaaaahhh! CHEW IT! CHEW!”
Brad started chewing and the voice got more and more excited.
“EAT ME UP! MMMMMMM. MMMMMMM! MORE MORE MORE MORE! SHOVE ME ALL THE WAY IN!”
Only wanting the yelling to stop, Brad forced the rest of the pancake into his mouth and chewed and chewed. He washed it all down with a great big glass of refreshing milk.
Sitting in his chair, Brad felt horrible. The thing he had eaten had in no way tasted like a pancake. It was more like old bologna. His stomach roiled. Brad glanced up, certain that the patrons of the restaurant would all be staring at him.
They were all staring at him. But, their expressions were blank. They simply gazed, with their eyes betraying no emotion. Brad’s stomach kicked. He felt like he was going to vomit.
He stood up and started walking towards the bathroom. His server was standing in his way.
“Excuse me,” he said, “I think I’m going to be sick.”
The server didn’t move.
“I have to get to the bathroom!” he yelled at her, and tried to push past.
The server grabbed his arm with vice-like fingers.
“Ow, hey, let go!” he said, “I’m going to throw uuuu -” he could feel the food rising up in his throat.
The server’s face opened up. Her jaw seemed to unhinge and her mouth fell open far wider than should have been possible. As Brad felt his hastily eaten horror-meal begin to shoot out of his face, she clamped her mouth around his and accepted the regurgitated meal into her hungry throat.
Brad was disgusted and horrified and could stop it all from coming back up and into the server’s waiting mouth.
When he had finished, she clamped her jaws shut and dropped Brad’s arm. He fell to the ground.
The server walked away into the kitchen area. Brad looked up. The rest of the restaurant’s patrons seemed frozen in place. Certainly, they were unaware that anything had happened.
Brad sat on the floor for a long while gathering his thoughts. No one seemed bothered by him sitting there, so he sat there some more. Finally, he picked himself up and started heading for the exit.
No, he thought this was stupid. He’d just eaten a talking pancake and them vomited it into he mouth of a person at their insistence! He turned around and headed towards the back. He was going to talk to someone about this.
Pushing through the door, Brad was stunned by what he saw.
A giant pancake, six feet tall if it was an inch, stood on end in the kitchen area. It had a giant face, not unlike the face on Brad’s own pancake. It had a little chef’s hat on it’s top edge. Before it, stood a giant silver bowl that the pancake was stirring with a large wooden spoon. It had no hands, but the spoon stirred anyway. Below the pancake’s mouth, a fleshy opening spilled an endless stream of thick sticky batter into the bowl. Every so often, a server would come by and scoop batter out with a cup and pour it onto a plate. The batter would bubble and form into a face pancake which the server then carried out to the dining room.
Brad was sickened by what he saw and was about to turn and run when he looked up.
High overhead, hanging from the ceiling, were dozens of servers, men and women. Their heads were thrown back and out of their open mouths long strands of batter held them firmly in place. Their bellies were swollen beyond belief. A quick perusal confirmed that his server was up there as well, her belly not quite as distended as the others.
While he stared, horrible sound began emanating from one of the servers in the back. A low, wet, ripping sound. With a sudden gush, the server’s body erupted, spraying human insides everywhere, all over the kitchen. In the server’s place, still hanging from the ceiling, was a giant pancake. A sudden scuttling noise alerted him to another pancake, this one with many legs, crawling up the wall. It cut the batter adhesive and the newborn pancake fell to the floor with a flop.
Knowing that this was probably his last chance to escape with his sanity, Brad turned and ran . . . straight into the pancake chef.
The giant pancake folded itself around Brad in some sort of pancake taco. Brad struggled in vain to free himself, but it was no use. His last thought was, “Great. I’m probably going to end up as one of the servers in this restaurant. That would be an obvious ending to this. Then I’ll go out and serve someone and they’ll ask for the face pancake and -” then he lost consciousness.
But, no. Brad woke up outside. He was covered in sweat and felt terrible. Behind him, Jimmy’s Pancake House stood, doing business as usual.
Standing up, Brad reached into his pocket for his keys. He found a folded piece of paper. Unfolding it, he read:
No one will ever believe you ate a talking pancake and then vomited that pancake into the mouth of a person so it could grow into a pancake monster that will serve as the chef at another pancake restaurant that is simply serving as a front for the creation of other pancake monsters so it is probably best you don’t tell anyone about it because that would be a really stupid story, Brad.
Brad agreed. It was a pretty stupid story.