Free Breakfast: Part One
This is part one of Nathan Hare’s novella, Free Breakfast, which oook will be serializing. Look for part two in a couple weeks!
There are certain characters we play. I’m always the father – a white-collar type who’s probably in town for business, maybe family. I like to play him a bit cynical, like he’s seen everything and isn’t going to be surprised by another town, another hotel. His choices are simple: eggs, toast, hash browns if they offer them. I find him easy to become.
Kevin, on the other hand, prefers to inhabit more eccentric characters. His parents, being actors, have bin after bin of costumes in their crawlspace, and with them spending so much time at the theatre, we’re free to use any of them as a disguise. He’ll spend hours on Saturday afternoons trying on clothes, like he’s some sort of girl playing dress-up or something. His latest choice is a French-style police officer, with the kepi and everything. I have no idea what my character and his would be doing sharing a room together, or what a French police officer would be doing in this town, but Kevin insists he saw it in a movie once.
We’ve been stealing breakfast for a while now. At first it started out as something to do on the weekends, but since Kevin’s been home alone most of the time now, we’ve grown to doing it almost every day. Almost every hotel in town gives out some sort of complimentary food with a room, and all we do is pretend we’re staying there. We’ll usually come around eight. That’s when it’s the busiest, and it’s much easier to blend with a crowd then sit alone. Also, this time prevents any contact with staff. Early on in the game Kevin made the mistake of starting a conversation with the server and – while we had rehearsed our story – she instantly remembered us, which we’ve both learned is game over. We’ve learned never to hover around any hotel for more than a couple of days, and recently we’ve been “staying” at Sunny Days, a three-star across from the old mall. Its breakfast is perhaps the worst we’ve had: runny eggs, burnt toast, no muffins. I go crazy for a muffin. But we’re running out of hotels in this town.
On Thursday, before school, we pulled into the mall’s back parking lot to change into our costumes, and then crossed the street to Sunny Days. We came in through the conference room and then took the elevator down to the lobby, a trick we’d learned early on. As soon as the door opened I could smell it, calling our names, enticing us to it. We moved quickly to the buffet bar, grabbed our plates, and began to work magic. This is the most important step of the whole operation, the selection. You never want to overdo it. Taking too much food can just add suspicion, and taking leftovers can be tricky. Our plates reasonably full, we sat down, in our spot by the back corner.
It was at this moment I noticed a group of hotel servers looking at us. I noticed one of them leave, as if to go get someone. Kevin and I have a plan for when this happens. We made our way back to the elevator as quickly as we could. I pushed the button for floor 1, and it was only about a second before the doors were back open. We ran down the hall and scanned the door tags for an empty room. Kevin eventually found one near the end, by the exit, door ajar. He flipped the tag to occupied and opened it.
Staring back at us was a dead body. Kevin fainted.
Artwork by Jeff Ellom
Check out his flickr.
Free Breakfast by Nathan Hare is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.