And Now, He Is Gone
rating: +35+x

“I remember the good old days.” Pat sighed as he dug into his cinnamon pancakes, looking at his three friends. “You remember Carl, guys?”

“Carl was a great guy!” affirmed Dwight, taking a swig of his coffee. “I don’t know why the Heck he just went away one day… he’s still in the source material, after all. Not like he was told to blow off by anyone.”

Warren pointed at Pat accusingly. “And then you took his job. Damn upstart. Carl always picked up the bill whenever we ate, you know; he was rich enough that he could do that. Came with the territory. All the riches of all the conquered lands.”

“Isn’t that what that one Mediterranean guy does, though?” Frederick stuffed the last bit of bacon into his mouth. “You know the one. The kind of creepy guy with the hat and the dog.”

“I know who you’re talking about, but I can’t recall the name.” Warren frowned. “Kind of a pity, too; the dog was nice. I think it was named Spot or something?”

“Didn’t you used to be good friends with him, Warren?” asked Frederick, trying to sneak a piece of one of Pat’s pancakes.

“Maybe? I dunno. I was in Greece a lot way back in the day… and Rome… and a lot of places.” Warren looked at his friends and sighed. “We really don’t have much to talk about, do we?”

They all sat quietly for quite some time, looking at their plates uncomfortably. The waitress looked at them oddly before Pat spoke up. “Every minute, five people contract HIV.”

The other three groaned. “Why did you tell us that, Pat?”

“Yeah, last thing we want to hear about some monkey plague that you thought up. Ruins my appetite.”

“Statistics are dull, anyway.” Dwight wrinkled his brow. “All I have is statistics, now.”

“That’s pretty much what all of us have, Dwight.” Pat stood up and made for the edge of his seat. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I gotta take a leak.” And with that, Pat got up and went to the restroom, leaving his three friends behind. Frederick took Pat’s remaining pancake and chewed on it.

Dwight groaned, rubbing his face. “Fucking pathetic.”

“Language, Dwight!”

“Warren, shut up.” Frederick looked at him, a bit of cinnamon pancake hanging out of his mouth. “I mean it! With Carl gone, Pat is supposed to be the one who leads us when it all goes down! If Carl were still here, that thing back in the ‘40s would’ve worked…”

“Are you sure it was the ‘40s?” asked Frederick. “I swore it was the ‘50s. Russia, remember?”

“Whatever,” said Dwight, flagging down a waitress. “Is it the right time of year for your peppermint hot chocolate?”

“It is,” said the waitress, smiling slightly. “I can get you some, if you’d like.”

“Yes, please,” said Dwight. “With whipped cream.” He smiled as the waitress walked off, shaking his head. “She’ll die on the job, poor girl. Slip on a wet rag and break her neck just after New Year’s.”

“Dwight, don’t be so damn morbid,” said Warren. “You don’t hear me spouting off things about bombs or bullets or video games.”

“I wonder where the hell Carl is, now,” muttered Frederick. “Probably in a seedy sports bar in Milwaukee or something making bets on the winning teams. That’s what I would do.”

“You think he would do something that petty?”

Frederick was about to respond when Pat came back. He frowned at his ever-hungry friend when he saw a lack of pancake on his plate. He then sat down, and picked up a copy of the local paper. “…Meteor shower soon. Maybe this’ll be the one.”

“Maybe,” said Warren, nodding in thanks to the waitress that just brought him his peppermint cocoa. “We can only hope.”

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