Yesterday, The Pony wanted to run through McDonald's drive-thru after the Walmart shopping. Not literally run. He was wearing his Adidas slides due to the 66 degree temperature. He's not the most graceful gazelle on the savanna. No. He wanted me to drive T-Hoe through. He has a penchant for the cheeseburger meal with chocolate chip cookies. He's a big help to me, for only the price of two dollars for the game room. So of course I took him to get his cheeseburgers.
The Pony never pays attention. He is still riding behind me like a Grey Poupon passenger in a limo. It makes him no nevermind how I order, or how I fight the double-drive-thru traffic, or how I pay. Sometimes he'll count out the coins from the change cup if I ask. But normally, like today, he has his head in his laptop.
I had a twenty-dollar bill and a quarter, nickel, and penny for the $6.31 bill. For once, we were the only car ordering at the double drive-thru. There were two cars ahead of us, one picking up food, and the other right in front of T-Hoe, paying at the first window. It didn't take long at all. This was truly fast food, for once. I pulled up and handed the girl my bill and coins. I was looking at her hand, of course, to make sure nothing was dropped, nothing blew away.
I looked at her face as she said, "And fourteen dollars is your change." She had a giant open oozing sore at the corner of her lips! Not on her lips proper. On the soft skin just below the left corner of her mouth. My right.
SWEET GUMMI MARY!
That thing needed to be cordoned off with yellow police tape! It was bigger than a nickel, but not round. Kind of shaped like an irregular polygon, with five sides. The outermost layer, the almost-normal skin, was glowing red. Like embers in a campfire. Next was a crusty golden brown border, which gave way to a suppurating hole of white and yellow with a clear sheen on top.
SWEET GUMMI MARY!
I was distracted. She waved the receipt and my bills. "Here's your change!"
SWEET GUMMI MARY!
I did NOT want to touch them! But it was fourteen dollars. I couldn't exactly say, "Keep the change." I stuffed the bills into my cup holder. I pulled forward, reeling from the sight. What had been seen can never be unseen! I wanted to take a Silkwood shower! Never mind that The Pony and I had both washed our hands with purse Germ-X after leaving Walmart. I wanted it NOW! A hot tub full. I spoke out the side of my mouth as I eased T-Hoe up to the pick-up window.
"Pony! Did you SEE that?"
"You didn't see that OOZING OPEN SORE on the corner of that girl's mouth? Shh...we're at the window." I took the soda. No time to scrub first. The girl went to get the food bag. "Pony! I didn't have time to wash my hands...here! Let me give you some more Germ-X!"
"It's FINE, Mother!"
"But she had a GIANT OOZING SORE ON HER FACE!"
"That's why she's not working the food window."
"But every coin she touches gets contaminated! YUCK! I think I'm going to be sick! I'm getting the Germ-X!" I slathered myself with that stuff like surgeon at the sink soaping up before entering the operating theater. "Are you SURE?"
"Yes. I'm fine." The girl brought his food bag, and he dug in.
I was almost shaking. That image was burned into my retinas. They were probably diseased just from the sight. Even after using enough Germ-X to peel the skin off my hands, I would not bring them anywhere near my face.
When we were almost home, I told The Pony, "I'm still shaking. That's just wrong. She should never have been allowed to work today!"
"Mom. It's okay." The Pony massaged my shoulder with his warm strong hand as he sometimes does to calm me down. "Aww..."
"You might want to know that that wasn't my hand."
A perfect end to a perfect shopping trip. Have I ever mentioned how much I don't like feet?