I smelled a food fight even before the electric eye decided that I was ‘larger than a fruit fly’. Yes, there’s a little pot on the main board, to control ‘Sensitivity.’ Don’t want the supermarket doors to swing open for just any randomly insensitive Drosophile.
Anyway, without stopping to advance my immediate goal, (a dozen-pack of ‘the dogs kids love to bite’ plus some ‘x never equal to y’ number or rolls), I quickly assessed the putative-lunatics contending at counter 4; a balding but nice-enough fellow being tag-teamed by a duo of blue-hairs. Proud of my eagle-eyes, I stooped over to retrieve a couple critical cranial components from the floor, then:
“Here’re a couple screws sir; couldn’t help but notice your missing them.” I held out my hand.
“Ah yes, my missing them has saddened me immensely. Where were they?” He asked, seeming marginally coherent despite the deficit. Probably had a private work-around, for times like these.
“Right here on the floor.” I told him. “Wait, here’s three more…” I added as I grabbed a handy stick to fish them from their hiding place under the counter. He eyed up the brain-screws, rusty and oddly-shapen:
“Those don’t look familiar. Probably the ladies’ behind me.” he motioned in their direction, weakly, as if not to dirty his pointing finger. I glanced with equal lack of relish at the two-some, both of them rusty and oddly misshapen:
“Yes these are theirs, in all likelihood.” I agreed, although between knowing that fact and convincing the women to ‘do the right thing’ stretched a gulf wider than my wading boots. (‘So to speak’, I think one is supposed to add after a mixed-up metaphor.)
“Can I have my CESW back?” Baldie asked then, bringing me back to dry land. I handed him the stick, whose absence had meanwhile only exacerbated the hostilities with the warring blue-hair faction. (I haven’t quoted their dialogue here, it being intended for steam-valve overpressure relief more than inter-species communication.)
“Oh sorry, I’d used it to retrieve the screws from under that display. Here you are, sir. What good’s a Checkout Escalator without a Separation Widget?” I asked, possibly rhetorically.
“Yes, a real mess we have here. Ladies, can you hold on a second?” my ‘patient’ calmly phrased that simple request, somewhat overdue. I considered jotting ‘recuperated’ in his file. But the Gang of Two just kept on automaton-ing their laughably-over-the-line ’10 items or less’ onto the over-burdened treadmill. Chaplin’s silent-flick nightmare came to mind. Or was it Lucille Ball? I needed to pause the projector in either case, and started to lecture:
“Were trying to make order… I turned to Lady One, not wasting an apostrophe when one wasn’t needed. Not a particularly adept conversationalist, she managed the elaborate verbal construction: “Who cares?”
“Well, were trying to make order a more lofty goal in your collapsing volitional Parthenon, maybe then even the likes of you would care enough?” I’d finished my sentence, and waited for early release, given my good behavior.
Lady Two, less taciturn, spit out: “Just ignore him.“
My role as a mediator looked less than assured. At least I could extricate Baldie from the war zone, I hoped, but there were ‘issues’, namely:
“I can’t find the line.” he confessed. The mass of produce had obscured his short-list’s
boundaries. Suddenly, I thought I saw a hazy delineation. Pointing, I told him:
“It’s right here, guy, the line.”
“Somewhere between your nuts and their bananas.”
Wu: I loves the smell of an English lesson in the morning.
Me: How’d you know!
Wu: Smells like…well… scholasticism.
Me: ‘Aisle 9: Cleaning products’. Oughta take care of it.