Buster was thirteen and itching to be alone. It was that magical time of year, Summer Vacation, when parents tended to leave their children home alone more often. Today was one of those days, and he lay in bed anxiously awaiting that mystical sound: The front door closing.

Buster twitched. The sound was late. He decided to go downstairs, where he found his mother lying on the couch covered in sweat. She was coughing as she looked towards the television, which was on a Spanish soap opera. Buster grimaced: his mother was obviously very sick.

“Mom, are you okay?” Buster asked.

Bitzi groaned loudly, “Help me get it off this channel, Buster,” she pleaded with a helpless tone. Buster pressed one button; the channel changed to a morning show and Bitzi sighed with relief. “I’m afraid I have the flu, son. You might not want to be around me right now.”

“I’ll be fine, Mom,” Buster sighed. “Do you mind if I go back to bed?” he asked. Bitzi groaned loudly. Buster sighed again, “What do you need me to do?”

“In an hour, will you go to the pharmacy for me? I’ll make you a list,” she said, straining to get up. Buster offered to bring her a pen and notebook. She thanked him, and Buster moved to his mother’s office to collect what she needed.

When he returned, however, his mother was fast asleep with her mouth open. She was snoring loudly as well, and Buster felt his annoyance level rising: He wanted the morning to himself, yet he was stuck there with his sick mom.

Buster moved into the kitchen after leaving the pen and paper where his mom could reach it. He washed his hands and started contemplating breakfast options. The morning before, he made an egg surprise combo with eggs, cheese, and several fresh vegetables from the community garden sautéed in olive oil. But today, Buster didn’t know what to make.

In the living room, Bitzi groaned again. Buster walked in to find the pen under the coffee table and the paper splayed across the floor. Buster sighed and collected the items. He then sat in a nearby chair.

“Mom, you just need to tell me what you need,” Buster said. Bitzi nodded softly before coughing, “Well, first, I need cough drops and tissues. And flu medicine, night and day time. Get the off brand,” she listed before pausing to cough. Buster nodded. “And soup, lots of soup, chicken noodle,” she muttered.

“I know what to get for the sick, Mom. Do you need anything else?” he asked. Bitzi shook her head as she coughed again. Buster nodded and moved to get dressed, washing his hands first. He could tell by the look of things that this would probably be a week-long affair, an entire week of caring for his mom.

And he was right. Bitzi was too sick to leave the couch. Buster had to cook and clean for her, get the mail, take out the trash—all the chores he normally did plus plenty more. He was exhausted, and all of his hand-washing was making his hands raw. Arthur and his friends kept calling too, all of them wondering where Buster had disappeared to. Buster wondered where he’d disappeared to as well….

But one morning, he woke up to that familiar sound of his mother locking the door. Buster smiled and ran downstairs. Sure enough, Bitzi had left for work. She told Buster in a note that she still felt weak, but she was up for her editing duties and needed to go in.

“Oh my, oh my!” Buster grinned, opening the refrigerator to attempt to make himself breakfast. His smile quickly faded: The fridge was bare of most foods that Buster enjoyed, and he sighed heavily. “Looks like we’re casseroling it, Buster,” he sighed.

Buster did a quick inventory of his supplies. He had eggs and pancake mix, as well as a few blueberries and strawberries. There was chocolate syrup and whipped cream. And at the back of the fridge was a can of root beer Buster forgot he had.

Buster gasped, “I could make root beer waffles!” Buster nearly jumped for joy as he began mixing the ingredients. He heated up the waffle iron and poured the first batch of batter.

He could barely contain his excitement. The smell coming from the waffle maker was amazing, and a little bit of drool dribbled down Buster’s chin. He could barely wait…and then the timer chimed. Buster lifted the lid of the waffle maker carefully. The root beer waffle looked beautiful, but undressed.

Buster added the blueberries and chocolate syrup. He left off the strawberries but added some sprinkles from the back of a cabinet. The meal looked perfect, and he carried the plate to the table.

As he took the first bite, he felt like he was in heaven. He chewed slowly to enjoy every moment, and he promised to save himself a piece for his “Ultimate Foods” collection.

Things were going perfect until Buster started doing the dishes. Then, he sneeze, forcing bubbles to fly around the kitchen. Buster sighed and sank into a chair, feeling more tired than usual. His mother had given him the flu.


Theme 66: Breakfast

Theme part of my Infinite Theme List Challenge. Let me know if you’d like more info.

This is the first stories in my Buster’s Delicious Secrets series. To see what I have so far, you can find them on ff.net.


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