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"Platonic Pancakes" by J. Archer Avary

I really don’t get how Alexis and Ronny are still together.

I was there when she showed up unannounced and chucked a Zippo in his face because her twin sister Andrea saw him with his ex-girlfriend Lisa at Cecil’s diner.

Ronny clutched his head, dropped to his knees, and rolled around on the hardwood floor. When they argued, they really went for it. She got him in the temple and pushed through into the apartment, twin sister Andrea in tow.

“Explain yourself, you pancake-eating piece of shit.”

“Lisa’s just a friend, baby.”

“People don’t eat pancakes with friends,” she said, standing over him. “All that butter and syrup? Pancakes mean you’re fucking.”

“I saw you,” said Andrea. “Way too much syrup for platonic pancakes.”

“Me and Lisa haven’t fucked for a year and a half.”

“Wrong answer, prick. We’ve been together 26 months.” She kicked him in the torso with her clunky riot-grrrl boots.

“Cheating bastard.”

“He’s telling the truth,” I interjected, stepping in to protect my friend. “I know because I’ve been fucking Lisa for about a month. As crazy as it sounds I feel like we might have a future together.”

“We don’t care who you’re fucking.” hissed Andrea. “This is about Ronny eating pancakes with people Ronny shouldn’t be eating pancakes with.”

“Put yourself in my shoes, Ronny. What if you caught me eating pancakes with my ex-boyfriend Nick?”

“Can someone get me a washcloth,” said Ronny, still writhing on the floor. A small amount of blood trickled from between his fingers. “I don’t care if you went for pancakes with Johnny Depp. I wouldn’t be jealous at all.”

“I don’t care if you don’t care about my pancake habits.”

All this pancake talk was making me hungry. I went to the kitchen to get ice cubes for the throbbing lump on Ronny’s temple, foraging for liquid refreshment on the way.

“There’s cold beer in the fridge. Who wants one?”

Everybody wanted a beer.

I wrapped the ice cubes around Ronny’s head with a kitchen towel and moved him to the couch. Someone put the first Replacements album on the turntable. We sipped at our beer and stopped talking about pancakes.

I watched the twins. Andrea and Alexis had identical haircuts, fanned out at the back like helicopter blades, with spiky bits at the front and spit curls. Both had squinty neutral expressions, tweezered eyebrows, cat-eye glasses with bakelite frames, and crushed-velvet babydoll dresses in dark, dramatic colours. Both listened to way too much Alkaline Trio and sported prominent cold sores.

It was easy to tell the twins apart once you realised Andrea’s cold sore was on the right side and her sister’s was on the left. I watched their lips move as they talked and talked, tuning out the conversation.

I wanted to relax, but I couldn’t stop thinking about pancakes.

J. Archer Avary was born in the USA and now lives in the UK. Recent work in Close to the Bone, Many Nice Donkeys, Roi Faineant Press, and Streetcake Magazine. His debut poetry collection REVERSE INTO SPACE is out now via Alien Buddha Press.

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