Adam answered the phone sounding like he’d lost all his teeth.
“Adam?” said Zeke.
“Whahh?” he answered.
Zeke frowned down at his cell phone. He was about to ask Adam what was wrong with him, but realized what was going on a split second before he did.
“You’re eating?” he said, disgust and disbelief oozing from his words.
Adam chewed and swallowed. “Yeah,” he said. “Most people do, you know, in the morning. S’called breakfast.”
“Dude,” Zeke said. “You know what day it is, right?”
“Thanksgiving,” Adam said, not missing a beat.
“And you’re eating breakfast . . . ” Zeke said meaningfully.
There was a moment of silence.
After which Adam said, “I don’t think I get it, man.”
Zeke sighed. “You can’t eat breakfast on Thanksgiving. Or lunch. You have to fast.”
“What? Why? That’s stupid.”
“Actually it’s smart,” Zeke said. “You don’t eat all day, and then, at dinner, you can fit more in your stomach.”
“Nuh-uh,” Adam said. “If you don’t eat all day, your stomach – it shrinks. It tightens up, and then you can’t fit anything in there. The thing to do is eat. Then your stomach’s stretchy, and it can handle whatever you put into it.”
“That makes zero sense,” Zeke said.
“And starving yourself does?”
Zeke was silent. On the other end of the line, he heard Adam take another bite of whatever it was he was eating. A peanut butter and banana sandwich, by the sounds of it. His chews were all sticky and gloopy.
“Okay, okay,” Zeke said. “How about this?”
Adam gave a grunt, letting Zeke know that, despite all the gross noise he was making, he was listening.
“Do what you want,” Zeke said. “Eat your face off. And later? Tonight? At dinner?”
There was a pinched sort of sucking sound from Adam’s end of the line, like he was chugging down a glass of milk. After a gasp of satisfaction and a little belch, he said, “Yeah?”
“Keep track of what you eat,” said Zeke. “I’ll call you later and we’ll see who had more.”
“Sounds good,” Adam said. “Have fun starving, idiot.”
Zeke opened his mouth to fire back – but before he could he heard the silence thicken in his ear, and knew Adam had already hung up.
* * *
It wasn’t easy not eating, especially with the Thanksgiving Day scents drifting about the house. It was possible, though, thanks in large part to the promise of proving Adam wrong. Because that, Zeke knew, would taste even better than a gravy-slathered turkey thigh, even better than a towering slice of his sister’s justifiably famous chocolate cream pie.
So he stayed away from the kitchen. He distracted himself with every distraction his house had to offer, and chewed a pack and a half of gum.
And finally, he heard it, the call he’d been waiting for since he opened his eyes that morning:
* * *
A little less than an hour after he pulled the last chocolate smeared fork from between his lips, Zeke finally managed to haul himself upright and hobble upstairs to his room. There, he flopped down onto his bed and reached for his cell phone. He didn’t even have the mental whatnot to dial, and so held his thumb down on the power button and slurred, “Call Adam,” toward the thing.
It rang, and Zeke dragged his body a little further up the bed and laid his head down atop the phone.
Adam picked up after the fourth ring, just before Zeke was shunted over to voicemail.
“Unnnghhh,” Adam said.
“Bughhhhh,” answered Zeke.
There was some more groaning and grunting from Adam’s end. He seemed to be summoning all his strength. “How much,” he said, “you eat?”
“Too much,” said Zeke. “You?”
“Yeah,” Adam said. “Same.”
There was a bit more grunting and groaning. And then the friends, failing to say goodbye or even hang up, each drifted off into a separate – but equally full-bellied – sleep.