When we last convened, I was telling tales inside the educational facility. How Hick and my mom had been all set to chow down on some chicken and dumplings from the basketball team fundraiser, but were force-fed chili instead.
We went our separate ways. Hick drove T-Hoe back to the Walmart lot
to pick up his car to go auctioning. The Pony and I did a rare Saturday-night shop. He
almost forgot the two-dollar bribe that I give him for the game room. I
guess there were more checkers on duty on a Saturday night, because the
lines moved quickly. My gal was ignorant in the ways of bagging like-shaped
and like-temperatured items together, but she was fast. I was done
before The Pony had finished his first race. I parked my cart beside his
machine to watch.
"I still have a dollar left!" He put
it in. Chose his track. Some kind of southern California road, with
palm trees and ocean views. It did not help that he reared his red car
back in a wheelie at the start, burning rubber and showing off,
immediately placing himself in 6th. To paraphrase Rooster Cogburn
speaking of his stepson, Horace, who must have broke forty cup...I'll
just say that a recklesser driver I've never seen than The Pony. That
boy must have destroyed forty light poles. Who knew that a car could
drive right through buildings? Though we all know that flowers raining
down like...well...rain after a trip through the middle of a roundabout
does not portend well for a first-place finish. The Pony was lucky to
escape with 3rd, and without a summons. "All done."
the keys!" I handed them over under the grimace of a woman who had been
sitting in one of those vibrating recliners, watching the race play
out. The absurdity of the situation hit me. "Is this irony?"
Pony looked sheepish. "Maybe." It's not as if I was giving him the keys
to drive T-Hoe. He gets there quicker to click the clicker and start
readying T-Hoe's rear to receive our load.
routine. He hands me back the keys so they don't get lost, piles in the
groceries, covers the cold stuff with my winter coat, and takes back the
cart. I get in and write down the debit amount in my checkbook, then
give The Pony and myself a squirt of green apple Germ-X that I carry in
my purse. Can't be too careful when touching objects the masses have
pawed all day.
I opened up my driver's door. There, on
the black leather seat, was a mark. I don't know what it was. Maybe Hick
had some type of chili remnant on his pants, a smashed bean, perhaps,
wiped from his man-hands. Maybe he had scooted across the seat like a
dog dragging its butt, and a rivet on his jeans left a scratch. I licked
my finger and rubbed. I'd like to be able to tell you that the blemish
wiped away. But I can't. Because I don't remember.
I LICKED MY FINGER THAT HAD JUST BEEN PUSHING A CART THROUGH WALMART FOR 30 MINUTES!
It was all I could do not to go Charlie-Brown Lucy, and scream for disinfectant. After all, my lips have touched dog-nose. My tongue, too. So I dialed the horror down a notch. But that didn't keep me from screaming at The Pony, "I can't believe I just licked my finger that has been on a Walmart cart! I'm going to wake up with hepatitis!" He chuckled. So supportive. We know he doesn't really have any desire to help people, after that ACT interest inventory. Still. I was shocked at his lack of concern.
When we got home, The Pony trotted into the living room to put his phone on the windowsill for an unlimited internet boost. He cradled a package of Jet-Puffed mini-marshmallows like a baby. "I think I'll have a snack on my marshmallows. Mmm. Smell them. They smell like marshmallows." I humored him.
"Yes. What were they supposed to smell like?"
"I just meant that I haven't opened them yet. And even through the package, they smell like marshmallows." He leaned his head over and LICKED THE PLASTIC!
"What are you doing? You know that's been laying around in Walmart, with people pawing at it all day, right? And now, you're LICKING it? I'm going to wake up with hepatitis, and you're going to wake up with hoof-and-mouth disease!"
Sometimes, we do not use good sense. Next thing you know, we'll be tasting Auction Meat.