Flies and Gravy

Milo flicked his eyes right, then slowly scanned as far left as he could without actually moving. Nothing. Finally satisfied that Furlonger's annoying cackle had been only a hallucination, he dove back into his hash browns.

"Annoying is an understatement!" Milo thought. "If he just wouldn't spit all the time!"

"Ah know -- gets to me, too," drawled The King. He nodded his head around long enough to hang a mocking half-sneer over his shoulder, catch Milo's eye and return to whipping an omelette. Milo nodded back, then froze, a forkful of ketchup-splattered fried potato hanging just under his nose.

He tried to recall if he'd actually heard himself speak the words at all. "I don't remember saying anything..." Milo thought.

"It's ok, pard. Don't sweat it."

Elvis' perfect voice was intoning from somewhere inside Milo's head.

"You get used to it after a while." Dinkley said apologetically. "He's been doing that for a few months. At first I thought it was my private little coke delusion, but it turns out all the guys noticed it. So, it must be real, right?"

Milo looked up to see the faux-Englishman's eyes regarding him bemusedly over the rim of a raised coffee cup. Deciding that Dinkley had actually spoken, he shrugged, dropped his guard again, and returned to wallowing in breakfast

The polytonal clink of utensils on heavy crockery plates reverberated from the diners' sparkling, painted walls, as Molina, Lenore, Armand and Milo shovelled greasy forksful of truckers' breakfast specials down gullets that had recently entertained only skimpy rations of crackers and water. Their trebly music counterpointed the somewhat disgusting bass beat of heavy chewing and loud, greedy gulping.

Attracted by the aromatic backsplatter, a huge Peruvian fly lumbered lazily across the table's airspace once, twice, then landed on Armand's button nose, arcing nimbly away when the boy flicked at it. Armand grimaced and scratched at his rubbery little nubbin with a grubby, egg-smeared palm. The fly continued to harry them until Armand, exasperated, dropped the fried egg he had been clutching and waved both arms wildly to shoo it. Loudly, dejectedly, it dopplered off toward the grill.

The unusual buzzing caused Milo to lift his gaze to follow. He looked up just in time to see the cook's head turn, eyes narrowed calculatingly, tracking the trajectory. Elvis shot out his tongue like a four-foot strand of sticky pink lightning. The fly was gone. Definitely.

Milo snapped his head back on his neck and blinked.

Elvis winked at Armand and pressed a forefinger coated in redeye ham gravy to the side of his nose.

"Thankyuh!" he drawled from somewhere inside Milo's head. "Thankyuh very much!"