I’m on the way out the door and Minnie tells me, How about stoppin’ at the store on your way home and pickin’ up a thing of mustard?
Now, I’m used to bein’ asked to stop and get stuff, but it’s usually the same three or four things, eh? Pick up a bun of bread, or a quart of milk, or a pack of smokes. Sometimes she’ll remind me to pick up dog food, or cat food, or arse-wipe, but that’s about as excitin’ as it ever gets.
Well, “a thing of mustard” is a little off the beaten path and needless to say, buddy, it was in one ear and out the other. I go over to Cyril and Joan’s place, I help Cyril rig up some new brake lights for his truck, and then I drive straight back home, park in the driveway and go in the house without mustard ever once crossin’ my mind.
What’s for supper? I says. I’m hungry enough to chew the …
Hotdogs and buns, Minnie says, with Doritos on the side. Did you get the mustard?
Ohhh for the love of – you never told me to get mustard, I says to her (even though I know she did).
Well then you’ll just have to go without it, she says. The rest of us takes ketsup anyways.
Whuh? I says. Me and little Bill both take mustard though, don’t we? (He was still upstairs and never came down for supper yet.)
No, she says. Bill takes ketsup, too
But wait a minute, I says. When I was kid, boys took mustard on their hotdogs and girls took ketsup. Is that different now, or is Bill, like…
Actually, Rosie says at the table, he’s always taken ketchup.
Oh for the love of cripes, I says.
Anyways, I ate my damn hotdogs with nothin’ on them, which tasted kind of like the way the floor mat in my truck probably tastes. Not that I ever tried that. On purpose, anyway.
The point is, I loves my mustard. But now, mind you, I don’t exactly love it enough to take Minnie to the store to get it. Because I know how that goes – she says let’s go to town and pick up one thing and next thing you know it’s three hours later and she’s been through every store downtown, gone for groceries, and by that time, holy cripes, you’re halfway through the game you wanted to get back and watch on TV.
Needless to say, when I came home without the mustard, I realized my penance would be havin’ to take her to the store. So, we go downtown. I park the truck in front of the store and I get out and start diggin’ in my pocket for change for the meter. And Minnie’s standin’ there with her hands up inside her sleeves and she’s sort of bouncin’ from one foot to the other.
I’m goin’ in, she says, I’m freezin’, and off she goes through the door and into the store.
Now, I’m not a fella that likes to throw money away, and I’d rather be hung from my ears than go shoppin’ with Minnie, so I figured I’d kill some time and have a smoke out by the truck and then put some money in when I finally went in the store. So I took a good five or ten minutes just leanin’ on the fender, smokin’ my smoke. I was so pleased at cheatin’ the parking meter for a while I had no bones about droppin’ a dime into the slot before I went into the store.
I walk around the store for a while, half-looking for Minnie, half eye-balling tools and toys and electronics stuff. I seen Minnie was in the back lookin’ at the women’s underwear so I steered clear of that and stopped to look at a really good screwdriver set they had by the door. I’m readin’ the back of the package when out the window, what do I see but some Dirty Harry meter maid standin’ next to the truck, writin’ me a ticket.
Jumpin’ frig! I yells out loud in the store (only I never said frig), and then I ran outside after her just as she was slappin’ the ticket under my wiper.
What in the hell is this? I says. I put money in that thing! Anybody visits my house, buddy, I lets them park in the driveway for free! What are you’s tryin’ to get away with? And on and on I went, yellin’ at her.
Minnie came out when she heard all the yellin’ and screamin’ but the meter maid just continued on her way, lookin’ at the other cars and never said a word to us.
I stormed into my truck and Minnie hopped in the other side after me, but I squealed the tires as we drove away and I cursed the meter maid all the way back home. Minnie gently pointed out that in all the excitement we forgot the mustard, but I didn’t care.
I was still rantin’ and ravin’ about it when we burst through the door home. That’s where we found little Bill and some pretty little redheaded girl on the couch, neckin’ like crazy with their clothes all messed up.
Holy cripes, I said to Minnie. I guess it’s OK to put ketsup on your hot dog after all.