Flash Fiction #56

Tunnel

PHOTO PROMPT © Stephen Baum

OUT

Cindy lived in the Bible Belt.  Usually she was very careful what she did and said.  A couple of years ago, a handsome young man had tried to pick her up at the entrance to a club.

She replied, “I’m not straight.”  In a lobby full of smoked-up pill-droppers, that was not unusual, and he persisted.  “No!  I’m not straight.” and Marilyn had come out, and they’d gone home.

Now, the Federal Supreme Court had ruled that her State government could no longer withhold rights and privileges enjoyed by all other citizens.  She and Marilyn were going to get married.

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

#478

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Supermarket Psychology

 

Sriacha Sauce

 

Nah, I’m not gonna talk about how stores get you to buy stuff.  This is more a report on the amateur sport of people watching.  Since I can’t get home delivery of the Toronto Sun, I go out for it Monday to Friday.  There are closer places to pick it up, but I go to a supermarket a mile down the road, because they sell it 50 cents/copy cheaper, as a loss leader.  It’s also the store which installed carts which require a quarter, and I often get the paper free, or nearly so, by putting carts away.

Since I usually have only the one item, I stand in the “Express Lane” checkout line.  This store’s express lines are 12 items or less.  Occasionally I have to remind a clerk or a customer of that.  I stood in another store’s “8 Items or less” line one day behind an entitled bitch who checked out 28 items, for just over $73.  I asked the clerk whether she had trouble counting, or just trouble saying no.  “Well, sometimes when it isn’t busy….”  “There’s me, and four others behind me, all with one or two items.  I think that counts as busy.  Do you need help from the manager??”

Watching people checking out whole cart-loads of groceries is no fun.  They buy everything.  (Almost!)  The fun comes from seeing the one or two items that people absolutely, positively, need, right now, and trying to guess why.  In my first post, I wrote of an older gentleman standing in line with a small bottle of Scope mouthwash, and a pack of Certs gum.  I still think my guess of a hot date that night was a good one.

The wife was going to brown a frozen pie shell, and fill it with instant pudding, as a dessert.  A check in the freezer revealed three boxes of frozen tart shells, but no pie shells.  Quick, over to the store for a package of pie shells – I can see that.  I understand bread, milk, eggs, meat – but some of the rest???!

A woman this week checked out only one tiny bottle of Frank’s Red-Hot Sauce.  I guess if hubby expects chili for supper, ya gotta do what ya gotta do.  A man the next day purchased seven (7!) small bottles of sliced olives.  Now why didn’t he buy one large jar??  Is it pizza day at school tomorrow?  So many questions!  So many chances to be told to mind my own F…. business.

I followed a couple of women out late one Friday afternoon.  I thought they might be more than just friends.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that.  I was disabused of my suspicion, when the manlier of the two told her companion that one of the women she worked with, hoped the same thing.  She’d had to explain that, “No, no!  I don’t like girls.  I like guys.”

I thought of KayJai, and her parties.  Each of these gals checked out two 3-liter/quart jugs of Motts Caesar Mix.  The liquor store is just across the plaza.  A 40-ouncer of cheap Vodka apiece, and it’s on to a weekend to forget.

Just yesterday, a shopper left with two, liter bottles of hydrogen peroxide.  Somebody’s going blonde tonight.  I hope it’s somebody’s girlfriend, not the dark Chicano guy who bought them.  A 9-year-old boy, all by himself, checked out behind him with 9 individual Michelina frozen fettuccini meals.  Where are Mom and Dad?  Gone away for the weekend?  Or is the scout troop coming over?

A couple of the clerks are people-watchers like me, and are absolutely mesmerized by the stuff people rush in to pick up.  It’s like a floor-show, without the $8 cover charge and two drink minimum, although one clerk told me there are days she’d pay the eight bucks, and need the drinks.  Sometimes the combinations are, to say the least, intriguing.  One can of tomato paste, and a jug of drain cleaner – Hmmm, is hubby going to make it to tomorrow??

I hope that’s for a Boy Scout baking project.  Otherwise, how many kids do you have in your house, that you need four large boxes of Corn Flakes at three in the afternoon?  Shouldn’t you be buying milk with that?  A chocolate cake, and two mousetraps??  Just what are you trying to catch, hubby stealing a slice?

I was recently up unreasonably unusually early on a Saturday morning, to take the daughter and her friend to a strawberry festival to market their wares.  I stopped into my preferred supermarket shortly after 8 AM opening, and wound up in line  with a bunch of old people.  Huh?  Whazzat?  Who, me too?

The old codger in front of me checked out a jug of orange juice, and a spray can of Pledge furniture polish.  That dust can really sneak up on you.  The white-haired winner behind me had a round loaf of Portuguese bread, and what looked like a small slab of Feta cheese.

Ever nosy tactful, I asked, “Is that breakfast?”  “Oh yes!  Toast and cheese.”  Oh, great, something else to look forward to, not being able to think about things like eating, until hunger pangs hit.  Then they all go to the McDonalds across the street, and nurse a coffee till lunch time.  People-watching is fun.  Just ask the folks who watch me.

That’s Funny

First, just a little piece of advice I picked up for KayJai, SparkleBumps, and maybe a few more of you Betty Ford AWOLs.

 

NOTICE TO ALL EMPLOYEES

Nobody minds a man having a morning eye-opener, and it’s okay to have a bracer around 10 A.M., and maybe a couple of drinks with lunch.  Also, a few beers on a hot afternoon will keep a person healthy, or at least happy.  Of course, everyone drinks at cocktail hour, and a person can’t be criticized for having some wine with dinner, a liquor afterwards, and a highball or two during the evening – but this damned business of  SIP, SIP, Sip, all day long HAS GOT TO STOP!

 

Before they decide how much lumber they will need to build a house, the carpenters usually get together and have a board meeting.

A seamstress is a real material girl!

Sign at the Acme Shoelace Company ~ We are truly fit to be tied.

Jockey: My racehorse is named FleaBag.

Bettor: Has he won a lot of races?

Jockey: Nah!  He keeps getting scratched.

 

Buying quality is like buying hay.  If you want nice, clean, fresh hay, you must pay a fair price.  However, if you can be satisfied with hay that has already been through the cow – THAT COMES A LITTLE CHEAPER!

 

Up in Heaven, the Pearly Gates had been replaced by two arched, golden doors, with signs above them.  The one to the left read, “The Wrong Religion,” and there was no-one at it.  The one to the right read, “The Right Religion,” and there was a long line of people, waiting to get through.  God said to St. Peter, “The stupid thing is, none of them get the joke!”

NEWS RELEASE

Recently, an airliner crashed in the Pacific, close to an uninhabited island.  The survivors consisted of…

Two American businessmen and their secretary

Two French businessmen and their secretary

Two Italian businessmen and their secretary

Two British businessmen and their secretary

Two Canadian businessmen and their secretary

Knowing they would be stranded for some time, the two Americans made a schedule to have their secretary as follows: the first American would have her Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.  The other would have her Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, and she would have Sundays to herself.

The two Frenchmen had no problems, and immediately established a “ménage a trois.”

The two Italians had no problem either, as one of them shot the other so he could have the secretary all to himself.

The two British also had no problems, as they shot the secretary, so as to have each other.

And….the two Canadians are still waiting for instructions from head-office.

READ BETWEEN THE LINES

The “Executive Vocabulary” can be a little confusing.  Here’s a list of definitions which should help you get through your day.

Orientation; Move around till we can find something you can do.

Consolidating our position in the marketplace; We didn’t make any money on it.

Unparalleled demand; Six orders in the mail.

Note and initial; Let’s spread the responsibility for this around.

For your consideration; You hold the bag for a while.

We’re making a survey; We need more time to think up an answer.

For your approval; Passing the buck.

For your comment; I don’t have the faintest idea myself.

Through the ranks; The boss’s son worked one summer in the shipping department.

Promising young executive; Son of a fraternity brother.

Co-ordinator; An executive with a desk between two expeditors.

Implement a program; Hire more people, and expand the office.

Middle management; An executive with his own pen and pencil set, but no water pitcher.

I never worked at an office which had a gym or a fitness program.  I always got my exercise by jumping to conclusions, flying off the handle, running the boss down, passing on rumors, stabbing co-workers in the back, dodging responsibility, and pushing my luck.  How’s your workday going??!

 

After The Fun

I went to have my fangs resharpened again yesterday.  I might go an entire lifetime without hearing the name “Ariel”, unless I rented Disney’s Little Mermaid.  In the half-hour I spent beneath Damocles’ TV, I heard about two, Ariel Sharon, ex-prime minister of Israel, and Ariel Castro, the Ohio kidnapper who hanged himself.  (Although, I wonder if he had just a bit of assistance?)

We went back to the Farmers’ Market this morning.  With a bit of pickling mixture left over, the wife wondered if we could put down a few baby dills.  Scrubbed and soaked tonight.  Tomorrow comes the boiling.

There was a broadcast van from CTV, Canada’s second network, as well as from CHCH-TV, out of Hamilton Ontario, an independent which bills itself as Canada’s Superstation, like Atlanta, in the same way Tonka Trucks are big-rigs like Peterbilts.

Two camera crews wandering around, I saw a woman, probably a real shopper, but practising her lines before being dragged into camera range for a “spontaneous”, man-on-the-street….or woman-at-the-market interview.

Elbow-to-elbow crowds, which would be good if they were there to shop, but many just wanted photos or videos.  A food-service area, with no room to swing a cat and I saw a man and a woman smoking cigarettes, and a man my age with a cigar as big as a Great Dane’s turd, and almost as fragrant.  I thought of yelling as if I’d been burned.

Ontario’s lesbian Liberal leader was on hand early, for rah-rah photo-ops.  She stopped at my favorite produce vendor, and talked a good story, but bought nothing.  Another vendor further up said she did the same at his stall.  The local male Liberal candidate finally bought a basket of tomatoes, and gave it to her.

Two big food trailers across the walkway from the fire had been seriously melted.  They were hauled away and replaced with a trailer with washrooms and a temporary Market office.  The canvas top on the French-fry-serving Conestoga wagon looked like it had been through a movie Indian attack.  The nylon top of the gazebo beyond it melted.

I Apologise

I recently apologised to a British blogger, for Justin Bieber.  Apparently the blogger was male, and older than 13.  While I was at it, I also apologised for four older female Canadian singers.  It’s a bit late for retroactive apologies, because they’ve all come, and almost gone, but they’re still being played on the radio, and they still irritate me.

It’s not that they’re poor singers or performers.  They’re all adequate to good; it’s more the Kardashian famous-for-being-famous, off-stage persona that bites my ass.  They all seem to believe that they are as special as they think their fans feel they are.

Celine Dion

Empress Celine and pedophile regent Rene….it’s mostly Rene’s fault.  He was sniffing around the poor little Québécois trailer-trash since she was 12 and he was 38.  He didn’t marry her until it was legal, but, don’t worry, nothing sexual happened until then.  She had some talent, and he kept telling her how special she was, till she believed it.  Police officers refer to this as *grooming*.  One of 14 dirt-poor children, she’d have done anything to escape the family farm.

He was accused by a hotel maid of rape.  The wife said, “Oh he wouldn’t do that!  He just got married.” as if that somehow cancelled his overactive feeling of sexual entitlement.

I got a chance to see the photos of the wedding when Celine and Rene finally got married, and my eyes still itch. Czarina Catherine of Russia didn’t have as flamboyant a ceremony as that.  We could have bailed Greece out of debt with the amount of money that was wasted on that ego-trip.  Her sense of inadequacy must be huge, and Rene, the enabler, just keeps playing to it, as long as he gets his cut.

Avril Lavigne

Actually, Avril is the least objectionable of the bunch, and has come the farthest toward becoming a decent performer.  She started out with that fedora (?) and a guy’s tie, making more people than just me think she might be just a bit lesbian.  Her handlers have got rid of the protester props, and taught her how to dress.  They’ve got her hair cut in a more mature style as she ages, and they’ve got her a *boyfriend* to hold up to the general public, so I’m sure she’s hetero.

Several publications referred to her early persona as a Punk, and she became quite incensed, claiming she wasn’t Punk.  If she dresses like a Punk, talks like a Punk and acts like a Punk, then she’s probably just another petulant French-Canadian bitch, even if she does have a song titled Punk Princess.  Her later songs have a bit more mature meat to them, but some of the early ones….Aye-Yi-Yi!  Sk8ter Boi?  Is that some kind of French-Canadian *woody* joke?

A female entertainment columnist described the song Complicated as just about dorky boys being dorky, but when you look at the lyrics, it’s more about a cultural naïf not realizing that there are different ways to dress and act for different people and social situations.  And that, I’m With You, song??  Standing in the dark, waiting in the rain, I don’t know who you are, but I’m with you??!  Doesn’t sound like good life-choices to me.  More like an underage bar pickup nobody wants a witness to.  Are we back to the Love That Dare Not Speak Its Name?  Nah, she’s got a boyfriend!

Alanis Morissette

Little Miss, Isn’t I Moronic, brought us perhaps the only song written about irony, and the ironic thing was that she didn’t know what irony was.  After her handlers gently explained the difference between irony and a song full of gripes, she held a press conference to explain that the entire song shouldn’t be regarded as Ironic.  Rain on her wedding day, a black fly in her coffee?  Bitch, bitch, bitch!  Ten thousand spoons, and all she needs is a knife.  Next time plan better, and have one when you need it, or get off your lazy ass and go get one.

Meeting the man of her dreams and then meeting his lovely wife??!  Irony is having the opposite of what was intended, happen.  Fifteen years ago, you wouldn’t even give this guy a mercy fuck.  Some other woman took him under her wing, spent time and energy, and civilized him, teaching him how to dress, and not pick his nose in public, and now you want him and can’t have him.  Isn’t that ironic?

Her singing isn’t bad until she gets towards the end of most of her songs.  Then she goes into this high-pitched ululating, ayee, ayee, ayee!  I looked at my dog one day, and he had his paws over his ears.

Shania Twain

I’ve saved the best for last, Shania the liar.

I don’t like Country music, even the Country-Lite that she serves up.  That said, she sings well, has a good presentation, and mostly good songs.  All except for that, That Don’t Impress Me Much, fiasco.  Brad Pitt and rocket scientists don’t impress her?  What does?  Bad boy plow jockeys?  Not a lot of farmers or cowboys come out of Timmins.  I guess it’s tough to write about hard-rock miners.

Getting past her act, the thing I hate about Shania is that, every word that falls out of her mouth is a lie.  Start with her name, Shania Twain.  She was born Eileen Edwards.  She says she’s from Timmins, Ontario.  Yeah, well, that may be where she was when she hit it big, but she lived in Windsor until she was six.  That’s where she’s from.  I can understand dumping the Eileen Edwards name for show business; lots of people do the same.  She claims she adopted Shania to celebrate her native heritage.  Sweetie, see above.  You’re a white girl from Windsor.

She presented this tight-as-Daisy Dukes shorts and low neckline act, and then called a media conference to tell everybody that she had no sex-drive, she put all her energy into her songs.  Two months later, she held another, to announce that she was pregnant.  Well, somebody had a sex-drive.  She popped the boy-child out, and named him Eja.  It looks like it should be pronounced Ee-Jay, but she insists that it’s *Asia*.  She claims that she’s just an ordinary Canadian housewife, and then grabs her strangely-named kid, and takes two years off in a French castle.  Yeah!  Lots of ordinary Canadian housewives do that.