I wrote this for a writing group I’m in a couple of weeks ago.
The prompt was to create a scene in which two people wanted the same thing.
This tale is based on a true story…names have been excluded to protect the innocent.
There I was, at the Texas Roadhouse, having dinner with a friend.
I’d known this woman since kindergarten, so we’d had an easy conversation and lots of laughing about stuff from high school, her silly husband and crazy kids, my slightly more than insane job, and her sixth pregnancy.
That’s right, I said sixth. Basically, this woman was making up for my lack of marriage and children. I’m pretty sure I’ve thanked her for that more than once.
We’d both ordered steak with loaded mashed potatoes as a side, and were enjoying the last of our meal, when something bad happened.
If you’ve ever been to Texas Roadhouse, then you know that they serve you perhaps the most delicious rolls on the planet.
I realize that’s a steep claim, but I swear that they put cocaine or something in there that makes you want “just one more.”
And they’re not like the breadsticks at the Olive Garden, which are also delicious. Olive Garden loads their bread with salt and spices, and while I can eat a whole lot of them, especially with a boat of their alfredo dipping sauce, I notice when I’m almost full.
The rolls at Texas Roadhouse? Not so much. They’re light, smooth, fluffy, and just sweet enough that I can eat them like candy.
Spread some of that amazing honey butter on there and I turn into a bona fide glutton. Who cares if Texas Roadhouse is luring me into a diabetic coma? I’m a willing participant.
Considering how many baskets of rolls the waitress’ carry by, I’m not alone in my compliance.
Back to my dinner. My friend and I both looked up from eating at the same time. Our eyes meet, and then drifted to the basket of rolls on our table.
No, not to the basket, but to the single roll left in the basket.
I swear to you that the noise around us dulled. And considering the Tetris-like way the servers pack people into a Texas Roadhouse, that’s a literal impossibility. An unnatural silence settled between us, and that music that plays in old westerns when the good guy and the bad guy are facing off at opposite ends of a dusty block sounded.
You know, the music, right?
My friend looked at me, and I looked at my friend, and we may as well have been gunslingers, ready to draw and fire on one another.
The unheard music warbled.
We both narrowed our eyes.
In the back of my mind I knew I shouldn’t take the last roll from a woman who was eight months pregnant. What kind of a jerk did that make me?
But the cocaine had kicked in, and I wasn’t exactly in the right headspace for making rational decisions.
Also, there’s the fact that my friend has elbows as sharp as knives—my ribs knew this from personal experience—and that with five kids already she had enough mom superpowers to throw said elbow over the table and knock me out.
I’d learned a lot about motherhood from watching my friends, and I understood the danger I was in.
But I didn’t care.
I was going to fight for that roll, no matter what.
My friend shifted, likely so I’d be in range of her attack.
I leaned the other way, ready to feint while grabbing my prize. My friend might have superpowers, but I had a black belt.
I could beat her to the basket, and possession was 9/10ths of the law, right?
Her swollen belly would slow her down enough that if she crawled over the table, I’d be able to get away.
With the roll.
And the rest of the honey butter.
I couldn’t leave that behind. It wouldn’t be right, I…
A cheery voice broke the tension shimmering between us like a bucket of cold water dropping on you in July.
“More rolls?” our waitress asked.
It wasn’t really a question. She grabbed the basket my friend and I had been eyeing, dumped that roll into the new basket, dropped that on the table, smiled, and walked away.
My friend chuckled.
We each snatched up a roll.
Once again, a single specimen sat on the gingham paper, but that battle could wait.