Sunday, November 16, 2008

Streak-O-Lean

Part One

"Can I have a clean up on Aisle 9?"

I stepped lightly through the supermarket store, feeling somewhat guilty for choosing toilet paper without the trolls (that's my pet name for the little demons). The woman's southern accent over the intercom rang loudly once again just as I passed under a speaker in the produce section.

"Brandi! I saaaid 'clean up on Aisle 9'!" then quieter but audible" I told you we shouldn't have hired that girl...she's probably out smokin' dope in the back..."

"Dotti..." the faint male voice in the background said, "...you know, the mic's still on..."

"Oh damn, Curtis! I always forget which button to mash!"...Click..

Two old women in tweed suits to match their age sniggered over the cantaloupes. The one with hair dyed with bottled ink put her whithered old hand on her friend's shoulder and said, "Dotti shouldn't be pesterin' that girl so much when she herself is a few marshmallows shy of a jello salad! You know..." she leaned in to her friend "Evelyn said that Ruby was out in her garden after Sunday school last weekend and overheard Roy tellin' Charlene that Dotti came outta her house in her housecoat justa hollerin' and fussin' at that boy of hers as he screeched outta the driveway!"

"NO!" replied the other old biddy.

"Yes! Well, Dear, they ARE mill people and I don't care how long that mill's been closed, mill people will always be mill people."

The plump old woman in violent red lipstick finished her sentence with a wave of a hand (freshly polished in the same color as her lips) to signify that there was nothing more to say about the subject. The two then returned to the pile of cantaloupes before them, pushing their thumbs into the bottoms of the fruit as a test for ripeness. I felt sorry for the poor melons to be prodded so by those garish nails. They noticed me across the pile and I smiled politely to let them know that I meant them no harm. But these were vintage southern women, prone to gossip, bourbon, and spite. I had to be careful! Then Inky spoke in that tone that is reserved for kings and rouge tinted old women.

"I haven't seen you in this supermarket before, Dear. Don't I know you from somewhere?" Hell no! She didn't know me but this was her way of being nosy without being rude.

"I don't think you do. I don't normally shop on Wednesdays." I wanted to add, Because this is Senior Citizens Wednesday and I'd rather have a mammogram using a meat slicer from the deli than be here while the town's octogenarians rummage through coupons and repeatedly remind the check-out girl that it's Senior Citizen's Wednesday and they get a 5% discount. After the typical round of questions including "Where do you attend church?" and my absolute favorite, "Who is your father?" I was able to escape with the melon that I didn't want that she had hand selected for me. I think I had passed the "Are you Mill People?" Test. In fact, if she had dug a little deeper she would have found that I was far worse...I was an Italian from New Jersey.

6 comments:

Madge said...

I'm sorry, are you BLOGGING??? It's about freakin' time. When are we having that GNO?????

Stacie said...

You call it chicadee! and yes, I am blogging...what's it to ya! call me...

Louise said...

You're back! Don't stay away so long next time!

Your post is excellently written. You know, I lived in the "the South" for a year. I wasn't too keen on that "southern hospitality." It was just like you wrote, but it wasn't just the old people.

Oh, I especially loved the part about why you don't usually shop on Wednesdays! When I was much younger and more carefree I used to go to the mall sometimes after work. I never went on Wednesdays because the parking lot was a disaster zone. I called it "geriatric night."

phd in yogurtry said...

Ooh, from New Jersey. "Get a rope!" As a NJ girl living in the south, I can speak with authority that the civil war rages on in the hearts of many a genteel southerner.

I love the line about gossip, bourbon and spite! Excellent!

The Boisterous Butterfly said...

I've been waiting to interrupt your rantings for quite some time now.

ethelmaepotter! said...

Just stopped by for a quick browse and thanks for stopping by my blog, but I found myself totally intrigues with the latest chapter of this short story. I must leave for work now, but am signing up to follow you, and will finish the story tomorrow. This is EXCELLENT! I love your description of the Southern grocery; you've really got the ladies down pat. "What church?" and "Who is your father?" CLASSIC!! And IF they find you acceptable, they will always issue an invitation to come to their church this Sunday.
Love also the Mill People snide remarks. My grandparents were all mill people and lived all their lives in a mill town, in mill houses, with other mill people. The caste system definitely rules in the South!
This is fantastic, and I am looking forward to more.