Minnie got back from gettin’ the groceries the other day and I helped her haul them in from the truck and then she had to run back out again because she was goin’ over Joan’s to help her make pies for some kind of Christmas fundraiser for Joan’s ladies’ auxiliary group.
And what do I say? Even though I’m halfway through an awesome cop movie on TV and the last thing in the world I wanna do is put groceries away? I says – Yes, dear. And I put the groceries away. Because if Minnie’s good enough to go get the groceries and then come home and cook them up into meals every day, I guess the least I could do is spend ten minutes puttin’ them away.
And am I ever glad I did, because the second or third bag I opened it was like in one of them pirate movies or somethin’ where somebody finds a bag full of gold coins and realizes they musta stumbled on the treasure.
Right there in my hands, lookin’ up at me from the plastic bag was a big hunk of kielbasa about as thick as my wrist. And under that, there was one of them long sticks of pepperoni in a package.
Now, even though it’s pretty much my favourite thing in the world, Minnie never buys kielbasa. She says we don’t got a lot of money layin’ around to spend on spicy meat I’m just gonna stuff into my face some night watchin’ TV, and besides, she says, too much of that stuff’ll clog up your arteries.
But the one time of year she’ll cave in and get some kielbasa is Christmas. She’ll usually get some of that and some polish sausage, salami, packaged ham or whatever, and she’ll do up a plate of it with some crackers and cheese and put it out on the table on Christmas Eve. She says it’s in case anybody comes over, but I end up eatin’ almost all of it myself, every year. Usually while the Grinch is doin’ home invasions in Whoville or Clark Griswald is fallin’ off the roof puttin’ up Christmas lights.
She buys it early and then wraps it all up in a bag or somethin’ and hides it at the back of the fridge. So I figured she’d do that again and I could just buy some more and replace it before Christmas without her even knowin’ it was missin’.
Anyways, needless to say, as soon as the groceries were put away, I ripped the wrapper and the skin off the whole hunk of kielbasa and ate the whole thing while I was watchin’ my cop movie. And was it ever good. But the thing is, I was still kinda hungry. So I went out and got the big stick of pepperoni and came back in and ate all that one, too. I musta dozed off for a while because when I woke up, Minnie was back home and her and Rosie were out in the kitchen.
Ya ate all the kilbasa, I see, she said, because I left the wrapper and stuff all over the counter. Did ya see the pepperoni when you were puttin’ the groceries away? I got Rosie all the stuff to make homemade pizza for supper – she learned how to do it in home-ec class.
Ohhhh, did I ever feel guilty. There’s Rosie with her flour and pizza sauce and everything out on the counter, rootin’ around in the fridge, lookin’ for the pepperoni I ate. I had to think fast, so this is what I came up with.
Unbelievable! I said. Ya pay for somethin’ at the grocery store, the least they can do is make sure ya got all yer bags when you’re leavin’ the cash register. Do ya got your receipt? I’ll march down there right now and give them a piece of my mind. You’ll get your pepperoni, love!
Minnie looked at me sideways, but fished out her receipt. I ran down the store and bought another stick of pepperoni. Of course, I got stuck in line behind a fella with about 15 things in the eight items or less line and an old lady who counted out 87 cents in pennies. When I came home with the new stick of pepperoni, I even balled up the receipt and threw it behind the seat of the truck so I wouldn’t get caught.
There it is, I said. There’s your pepperoni. I handed it to Rosie and she kissed me on the cheek like I was her hero.
I went to the manager (I said) and I blew up at him for tryin’ to rip us off. And I even said – because I didn’t want the cashier to get in trouble or nothin’ – but I said – You know what it is, is if somebody’s not trained right, they can’t do their job right, so I don’t even blame whoever the cashier was, buddy, I blame you. You shoulda seen the look on his face!
Rosie ate the story right up, but Minnie was sittin’ at the table goin’ through flyers, still shootin’ me dirty looks.
Finally, when Rosie ran upstairs for a minute while her pizza dough was risin’, Minnie reaches into her pocket and slaps somethin’ down on the table in front of me.
That’s the wrapper from the stick of pepperoni you ate, ya rotten liar! she said, grindin’ her teeth a bit. I found it stuffed down the cushion in your chair! You got problems, buddy.
You’re tellin’ me, I said. I fell asleep before I found out how the cop movie ended.