Jean sits at our table and looks at my heaping plate as I place it in front of my seat. “What?” I ask.
“Did I say anything?” she responds.
“Please. Did you say anything? I’m going into the arena where men will fight in mortal combat. I need to be prepared. Plus food is so fricking expensive at these places.”
“Yeah, well, captive audience, right?”
“Right. How much is a beer? Twenty bucks? Give me a fricking break,” I reply, cutting off a corner of my erstwhile omelet with my plastic fork and popping it into my mouth.
“Any good?” she asks.
“American cheese,” I reply with a left shoulder shrug. “Beats going hungry. How’s the pineapple?” I ask as she takes her first bite.
“Good,” she says, toggling her head back and forth. “Very good. I think it’s fresh. Here,” she adds, stabbing a piece with her fork and holding it up near my mouth. “Taste. And since when is beer food?”
“Really? You do know who we’re here with, right? I don’t know how that kid stays so skinny. He drinks too much,” I reply, opening my mouth to her offered bite. “Wonder where he gets that addictive personality from? That is good,” I say nodding appreciatively, as I cut into my waffle.
“I’m going to text him,” Jean says, swiping her phone’s screen. “See if they want to come down for breakfast.”
“Cool,” I reply preparing a combined bite of waffle with omelet. “They should eat. Oh, hey,” I add as a family exits through the hotel’s sliding door, “they got the door fixed?”
“Huh? What door?” Jean asks, putting her phone down.
“Oh. Front door. It wasn’t working. At least not well. Needed a manual assist. Must have fixed it while we were upstairs.”
Jean shrugs as her phone pings. “They’ll be right down,” she declares, reading the message.
“Good. Cool. Can’t have TANSTAFL if they don’t eat.”
“Right down” turns into 9:50 before Sean and Loren, both dressed in Colts attire, arrive. “Hey,” I say in way of greeting. “Good morning. Grab something real quickly before they close the kitchen.”
Sean nods, says, “Morning,” kisses Jean’s cheek and rubs the bald spot on my head as he places a plastic bag on the table. “Here,” he adds nodding at the bag. “I’m really not hungry.”
“Could you just grab something?” I ask, eyebrows raised. “Banana? Yogurt? Pineapple’s really good.”
“Do they have bacon?”
I shake my head back and forth minutely half-a-dozen times. “Yuck. I guess. Make good choices. Morning, Loren.”
“Good morning,” Loren replies, beaming a smile. “Is there coffee?”
“Yes,” Jean replies. “In the big urns outside the kitchen?” she says, pointing with her head, eyebrows raised.
“Good?” Sean says, shaking his head, “No, delicious. Since when don’t you like bacon?”
“I like bacon, just not that much. At least it’s not hotdogs,” I say, making a gargling noise in my throat, face screwed up in mock agony.
“What-evs. There’s Colts jerseys for you,” he adds, nodding at the bag.
“Oh, that’s sweet,” Jean replies, looking at me, with head tilted and face be smirked. “What do you say, Tony?” she adds, using the preemptive voice one would use to remind a toddler to mind his manners.
“’Carthage must stand,’” I deadpan. “Go get breakfast, please.” I add, “And thank you,” in an imitation of her father at his most sarcastic.