Sarah Pemberton Strong

Our special today is pancakes served with maple-flavored corn syrup and decorated with maraschino cherries and pineapple rings, which we can arrange into the shape of a smiley face if you would like that.

I think I’ll have the eggs.

Today we also have the blueberry blintzes, which come rolled up on a plate like little dolls in blankets the way you wish your mother used to make them but never did because she was always too hung over on Saturday mornings to get out of bed and your dad had moved to another state.

Just the eggs, please.

Or perhaps you’d like the dieter’s special: fruit cocktail and a scoop of low-fat cottage cheese, whose scientific relationship to weight loss is nonexistent, but eating it might make you feel virtuous and in control.

Bring me the goddamn eggs fried in the madness of the hens that laid them, their beaks sawed off to prevent them from pecking one another to death, and a cup of coffee infused with the blood of the endangered species of birds whose habitats were wrecked by my addiction to caffeine in the morning. Never mind—I just want a glass of water.

Our water has been treated for your dining safety with fluoride and chlorine so that while you may be slowly poisoning yourself with their ingestion, at least you won’t get dysentery.

Waitress, I’m sick. Please crawl across this table and let me peel you out of your cheap polyester uniform without any reference to the ensuing tableau’s visual likeness to last month’s photo spread in Hustler.

Perhaps you would like the very tip of my tongue held against your closed lips until our bodies become the same temperature, with a side of skin sticking to vinyl.

Does that come with blindfolding you with a roll of paper towels and spreading you out on this melamine table whose glossy gray surface is decorated with an abstract pattern of boomerangs?

I can do that, but it’s extra.

Then I’ll have the pat of butter soaking through its gold aluminum wrapper like the sun going down over a major metropolitan city in America.

I’ll bring you the check, folded up into an origami crane.