Oh, stop at the store, she says.
It won’t take long, she says.
Normally when we’re drivin’ along and Minnie says that, I roll out one of my go-to excuses. I hate goin’ to the grocery store, so I’ll usually say – Maybe you should drop me off home first, cuz I gotta go to the bathroom somethin’ awful.
Because really, if you’re tryin’ to get out of doin’ somethin’, just say you gotta go to the bathroom and most times it’ll work.
If she swears it’s only gonna take a minute, sometimes I’ll ramp up the excuses to the next level – I didn’t wanna say anything earlier, I’ll tell her, but I got an awful case of the trots today.
Nine times outta ten, that’ll get me out of any grocery store. I’d say in all the years me and Minnie been together, I musta come down with a sudden out-of-the-blue cripplin’ case of the ragin’ grocery store trots three or four hundred times.
Of course, Minnie sees right through it, but she knows if we actually stop, I’m gonna be such a pain in the arse when we get in the store, she’s gonna wish she left me home anyway. Even though I’m roughly the size of a small elephant in a plaid shirt, I’m like a ninja when it comes to sneakin’ stuff into the cart. She leans half a step to check the price of butter and BAM, I got two liters of chocolate milk in the cart. She bends over to pick up a can of soup and BAM, I got two sticks of pepperoni hidden under the toilet paper.
Sometimes when we get to the checkout and she finds all the stuff I snuck in the cart, she’ll grind her teeth and try to yell at me right quiet that we only got thirty bucks and what the hell is wrong with me anyway? That’s when them checkout-line magazine racks turn into a graveyard of rejected cookie bags and pastry boxes and I get the silent treatment all the way home.
But the other day when Minnie started in with – Oh, stop at the store, it’ll only take a minute, I was almost too quick to say – No problem at all, dear.
She shot me the stink eye and knew I was up to somethin’.
So we’re in the store, and Minnie grabs a basket instead of a cart, and I said – You go ahead, I’m just gonna go look at the car magazines.
She was suspicious, but off she went.
Of course, there was two things I wasn’t tellin’ Minnie. The first one is, I came into some money sellin’ worms and I had a $10-bill burnin’ a hole in my pocket. The second one is, I’m now completely an addict for them wedgies they sell at the deli counter in the grocery store.
I can’t count how many times a week I’ll sneak off and get myself a big box of wedgies and sit in the truck and eat the whole thing. I’m at the point the ones at the grocery store are startin’ to notice me. I swear I’m about two weeks away from comin’ in with a pair of them glasses with the fake nose and moustache attached.
Without even thinkin’ I ordered myself a large and the woman hands me the big box and I paid for them right there. That’s when I realize I can’t let Minnie see me with the box of wedgies because she’d have all these questions like – where’d ya get the money for them things? and – yer gonna eat a family-sized box of them things all by yourself?
So I did the only reasonable thing I could think of – I opened the box and started stuffin’ the wedgies into my pockets. I filled my two shirt pockets, both my front pants pockets, and my left arse pocket (because my wallet’s in the other one). That still left about half the box, so I went over and pretended to look at lettuce like it was really friggin’ interesting and shoved all the wedgies in the box into my mouth. Holy cripes, them things are good.
It took me a few minutes, but I gulped down the last of them, wiped my mouth with the back of my hand and threw the greasy box in the garbage. It was the perfect crime.
I wandered around lookin’ for Minnie, casually takin’ a wedgie out of my pants every now and then and poppin’ it in my mouth.
That’s when I found her, with full basket of stuff, tryin’ to carry paper towels under her arm.
Where in the hell did you go? she said. Here, help me with this stuff, and she gave me the paper towels and then piled four soup cans into my other hand. A box of cereal and a bottle of javex later and it was hard enough to carry the stuff around, let alone try to keep a finger free to wriggle a wedgie from my pocket into my mouth.
Why don’t we get a cart? I said, thinkin’ I’d take a good ten minutes walkin’ across the store to get it and bring it back, and eat all the wedgies I could along the way.
No, Minnie said. I only gotta get a few more things. So she piled on J-cloths and a new mop handle and about ten other things. I was like a walkin’ Christmas tree I had so many things hangin’ off me.
That’s when I dropped a soup can, stepped on it, and went flyin’ about ten feet in the air. It wasn’t bad enough I landed flat on my arse and got sick all over aisle four, I squished the wedgies into all my pockets, which Minnie didn’t discover until the next day whens he went to do the wash.
Next time I’ll order the medium box.