Let the record show that having Genius as a passenger did nothing to alter Hick's driving style. He made no effort to conceal the skills that make him a Master Sweaver. My head swayed like a cobra mesmerized by a snake charmer's flute. I really needed a neck brace like those shady rear-end collision victim insurance scammers wear until a crafty private investigator sets off a firecracker behind them and snaps a picture of them turning their head. Or a stack of those copper rings that women in Longneck Village wear for beauty purposes. Just something for support.
Hick is not only a Master Sweaver...he's a squeezer. No, not a geezer, a squeezer! He's not a stomper or a slammer. He squeezes the brakes to stop. Then lets off of them abruptly. So you don't notice too much when he's slowing down and stopping. Then WHAM! Your head snaps back against the headrest when he takes his foot off the brake right before a complete stop, then squeezes that pedal again, with the same let-off. Hick drives me crazy! Heh, heh! Get it?
We hit Genius's College Town at 12:50. Genius was snoozing in the back seat, though how he remained conscious with his own large noggin flopping like a chicken with its noggin removed, I'll never understand. Genius had declared about an hour back down the road that he was not hungry for any lunch, and just wanted to be dropped off at his apartment. Hick, always on the lookout for food that does not come from Val's kitchen, said he wanted to have lunch.
Hick suggested the Tater Patch, which does indeed have good taters and other fare. But I didn't want to take that long. He also suggested the Chinese restaurant where Genius eats most Fridays on the $6.00 that I send him every week (because my mom started that tradition). I didn't want that much food to sit in my stomach for the next two hours of winding two-lane blacktop. I was perfectly happy to wait until we got home to eat a lupper at my leisure. Nope. Hick was not having it. He had to have lunch. He suggested...um...let's call it Pizza Shack, the national chain, because he wanted their lunch buffet.
I told Hick that in Backroads, the lunch buffet ends at 1:00. I'm pretty sure it runs from 11:30 to 1:00. My mom used to take us all there over the summer, all of us meaning Sis and her kids and me and my kids. Since it was now 12:50, I told Hick that I didn't think the buffet would work out. Besides, I didn't want to eat at a buffet.
Of course Hick drove right past his Goodwill Store turn-off after dropping Genius at his apartment. So I felt sorry for him when he noticed, and I said we could go have a personal pan pizza if he wanted. So we stopped at Pizza Shack, and saw that their buffet was still good until 2:00. And by good, I don't mean the quality. Hick said we both wanted the buffet, so I didn't insist on my personal pan. I figured we'd get back on the road sooner if I didn't.
There are times when I can enjoy Pizza Shack's food. A good personal pan being one of those times. I am not a fan of their buffet. The thin crust pizza was not crisp. The pan pizza was mostly dough, with see-through cheese and a couple crumbs of topping. I tried it, and left most of it on my plate. I DID have a decent salad.
Right after we sat down, a woman came in with a little girl of about 4 who must have been her granddaughter. Or a royal princess. First of all, Granny (who seemed to know the server) asked for a sausage pizza to be brought out to the buffet. "She'll only eat sausage." That's not too unusual for somebody to ask for a certain kind of pizza. But I knew Royal Princess was going to be a royal pain. Not really HER fault. But the fault of her enablers for the first four years of her life.
Royal Princess bopped from one side of the booth to the other. Moving just as soon as Granny had her plate and soda set down. She ended making Granny stand up and let her in to sit under her left armpit. Then she wanted to try some pizza that Granny had on her plate. "But you only like sausage pizza. They're bringing one out." Royal Princess declared that she wanted to try that other kind.
Anyhoo...I, myself, favor sausage pizza. Hick asked if I wanted him to get me a couple pieces when they brought it out.
"No. There's going to be trouble. That little girl thinks it's HER pizza."
"She's not going to eat a whole pizza, Val. She's a little girl. And it will be fresh. I'll get you some, so you don't have to get up."
"Well...I know she'll have a fit. But after she gets some...maybe."
Of course you know what happened. They brought out the sausage pizza. Granny got up. Hick got up. Royal Princess started yammering, "Don't let anybody..." Granny took Royal Princess 3 pieces of sausage pizza. Hick came back to the table with 3 pieces of sausage pizza. He took a large one with about 25 lumps of sausage on it, and gave me two thin slivers with one lump of sausage on one, and two lumps on the other.
I took a couple of bites, but was distracted by the woman at the booth behind Granny and Royal Princess, who was CHANGING HER BABY'S DIAPER on the booth seat.
If you're ever in Genius's College Town, you might want to re-think the Pizza Shack lunch buffet.