By Karen Ekstrom and Mary Claire Ekstrom
“Do you have any more bags of this?” I pointed to the potting soil. “It has the little white beads that hold moisture.” I smiled sweet as pie at the Home Warehouse employee. I’d already cleaned out the bin. Taken 11 bags. Even took the bag with the rip in it that somebody – okay, Barrett – had ripped and I’d duct-taped closed. I was that desperate.
“Yea, we’re going to be gardeners today.” Barrett, age six, busted in.
“Ehh… We might.” The Home Warehouse clerk wrenched up her bra strap while she answered. “I’ll take a look.”
She wandered off.
Three minutes passed.
I picked out another two flats of flowers and two, 10-gallon shrubs. Barrett climbed on the compost, slithered under the lounge chairs, then created a fort inside the outdoor kitchen. I didn’t stop him. Unruly kids made people move faster. Worked like a charm in restaurants.
Not so much in Home Warehouse.
Okay, my sweet-pie-smile was dissipating.
I refused to circle through the compost isle for the fifteenth time. Or to be gawked at, for the third time, when I asked an old crone to please move aside for my oversized, cumbersome cart – It was really too heavy for me.
I ran over the old crone’s foot.
Bet she moves the next time.
The old crone was still screaming…
She even had the nerve to point at me. Accusingly. Like I’d done something. But I did the right thing. I went over and took a look. Acted all sincere. I think the manager believed me. Besides, only three of her toes were damaged. The rest were just fine.
The old hag had become the center of everyone’s world. What a drama queen. So she won’t be able to get a pedicure for a couple of months. Toenails grow back.
They even called an ambulance.
Really. If I didn’t take control, I wouldn’t receive any help. Took Barrett to the power tools. Showed him the electric hedge trimmers and the electrical outlet.
Figured he could take it from there…
The hedge trimmer clicked on.
The Manager rushed over.
Walked out of Home Warehouse with 11 bags of potting soil, 7 flats of flowers and 4, 10-gallon shrubs. Plus, 20 free bags of topsoil with their apologies and assurances that they would make the power tool department “safer.”
The ambulance arrived. Watched as they rolled the old hag out. Still screaming… at me.
I mean really. Blaa… Blaa… Blaa. All those accusations. Who wants to listen to all that?
But, I could tell. Some people believed her.
Well… I didn’t want to look uncaring. So I put on my sweet-as-pie smile and walked over. I rearranged my face to reflect sympathy. “I hope you feel better soon.”
Then I gave her toes a little squeeze.
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