SIX O’CLOCK on a Monday. Middle part of October.
I am in the quick check line. Local Super Market. My night to cook. Take ‘n’ bake pizza. Baby carrots. And some odds and ends. Whole bean coffee. Bag of English Muffins. Half gal of ice cream. You know, guy stuff.
The line is delayed by a price check.
Attractive women frequent upscale stores such as these. Knowing this, I partake in a clandestine past time and scan the line behind me.
YES: BEHIND ME. An older woman. Two, maybe three customers back. Dressed in darkness. Cloistered in walking calamity. Slightly hunched.
Quick details. Nose: small protuberance, left side. Cheeks: Rouge over putty. Eyes: sunken, red, poorly over-lined with yesterday’s mascara. Fingers: gnarled, arthritic, worn.
Her withered bosom rising and falling with each clattery breath. Clutched against that bosom: five red aerosol cans. Two of whipped cream. Three of Raid. Bound up in a plastic produce bag and pinched into the crook of her elbow: one perfect red delicious apple.
My bones shudder, joints seize with cold. A spasm jolts me, neck to tailbone. I inhale but cannot expel the breath.
Turning stiffly toward the checker, caring not one whit about paper or plastic, I pay for my purchase and leave.
I do not look back, what with my knowledge of Lott’s wife and all.
I DON’T KNOW. It just kinda scared me…
Church of the Open Road Press