He reached Corliss suite and pressed the door buzzer. From inside he heard a shout, which sounded like Corliss, and then a laugh, which sounded like another man. Mike frowned: This was supposed to be a one-on-one breakfast. He waited at the door. Nobody came. He heard more shouts and laughter. He pressed the door buzzer, leaving his finger on the button longer this time.
He heard footsteps. The door opened. Mikes jaw dropped. It was Marty, wearing only a huge bathing suit the color of a traffic cone, his pasty white belly drooping over the waistband.
Look whos here! said Marty.
Whos there? replied Wendell from inside the suite.
The father of the bride! said Marty.
Who? said Wendell.
Mike, said Marty.
Ah, said Wendell.
Mike stepped into the suite, which was huge. To the left, beyond a barrier of sofas, the TV was showing Spongebob Squarepants. In the distance, Wendell, in a bathrobe, was seated at the dining-area table, frowning at the screen of a laptop computer. The table was strewn with coffee cups, dirty plates and ravaged stainless-steel platters of bacon, toast and potatoes. In the middle was a large Styrofoam takeout container containing two pancakes.
So, said Mike, approaching Wendell, are we ...
Wendell raised a hand, stopping him. Marty, he said, how do you capture a graveyard again?
Which graveyard? said Marty.
No no no, said Marty, waving his arms. Do not capture Snowfall Graveyard.
We dont want to re-spawn out of the battle.
Ah, said Wendell.
Whats going on? said Mike.
World of Warcraft, said Marty. Ever play?
No, said Mike, trying not to look at Martys vast, mayonnaise-white belly. He turned to Wendell. So, are we still on for breakfast?
Wendell looked up at Mike. His eyes were bloodshot. You have got to try the pancakes, he said. Theres a couple left.
Mike looked at the pancakes, then back at Wendell. Im cutting down on gluten, he said.
Wendell nodded. Is it just me, he said to Marty, or does it seem like everybodys cutting down on gluten?
Its not just you, said Marty. Five years ago, I never even heard of gluten. Then all of a sudden its the worst thing in the world. Its the Nazi Party of food ingredients. People are scared to death of gluten. You could rob a bank with it. The bank people would be like, Do whatever he says! Hes got gluten! Marty burped. What the heck is gluten, anyway?
It used to be trans fats, said Wendell.
Gluten did? said Marty.
What I mean, said Wendell, is that it used to be you werent supposed to eat anything with trans fats. Or maybe you were supposed to eat things with trans fats. I dont remember which. You never hear anybody talk about them anymore. Theyre over.
Like MySpace, said Marty. Or global warming.
Or Deepak Chopra.
What about carbs? said Marty.