Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Short, Short Stories: Part II

BBQ Bonanza
After spending a couple of weeks on the island, I have to say that I’ve been pretty impressed with the food down here.  I’ve had some of the most excellent fresh fish dishes, plenty of jerk chicken and some delicious BBQ. 
One night while meeting some new friends at a bar, we started to talk about how much we all like St. Croix.  My boyfriend and I were there for a long weekend last summer and we had visited a beachside BBQ place with the best BBQ I’ve ever had.  When I brought this place up to our new friend, he knew the exact place that I was referring to.   ‘Oh’ he said, ‘Did you have the BBQ chicken?’  I told him that I couldn’t remember if I’d had it, or not.  He responded by convincingly saying, “You’ve got to try it the next time you’re there. They throw a couple of chickens in the belly of the pig and roast it all together.”
Our car was running on empty one day, so we pulled over to get gas at the local gas station on top of the hill.  After several, unsuccessful attempts to get the gas pump to work, my boyfriend went inside to see if he had to pre-pay.  As he walked inside, a very helpful, yet impatient Latino man was walking toward me.  He approached me and said, “No gas now.  Maybe later.”  Uncertain that I heard him right, I responded with a “Pardon, me?”, conscience of how Midwestern my accent must have sounded.  He confirmed what I thought I had heard him say by yelling, “Later.  Later.  Gas coming later.”
I got in the car and waited for my boyfriend’s return.  As I looked around the gas station I noticed that it was really busy with cars coming in and out frequently.  In addition, there was a huge gas truck parked in the lot by the tanks.  How could they possibly be out of gas?      
When my boyfriend returned, he confirmed what my Latino friend has just told me.  There was no gas at the gas station.
Time is on My Side
I have now visited Kmart enough times to know that I want to get in and get out as quickly as possible.  Since I needed some items for my closet, I couldn’t avoid another chaotic trip to the busiest store on the island.  My boyfriend and I decided to divide and conquer.  I rushed over to the closet section to find some sealed containers that I could put clothes and shoes in.  He went to go find a plug that he needed. 
I proceeded to conscientiously price out the different types of containers to see which ones I could get the most for my money with, since I needed several of them.  After thoughtfully looking them over and deciding what I wanted, I stacked the containers together and met my boyfriend at the checkout line. 
All the lines were long, so we just picked the closest line to us and waited…5 minutes passed, 10 minutes passed.  This line wasn’t moving, meanwhile every other line was becoming shorter and shorter.  Practicing my patience, I decided to grab the US Weekly that was calling my name on the magazine rack.  Naturally, it was last week’s edition, but I was thankful to get my mind off this slow moving line. 
Finally, we got to the front of the line and greeted the cashier with a friendly Caribbean, “Good Afternoon”.  Without any response whatsoever and no expression on her face she slowly and solemnly went about her business.  Finally, she got to the tower of containers that I had stacked.  However, rather than unstacking them and scanning each one individually, she lazily scanned  the entire tower at one time, ultimately only charging me for one container.  She then proceeded to move on to the next item.  Not wanting to confront this depressed lady, and somehow feeling as though this was owed to me after standing in line for so long, I didn’t say a thing.  I proceeded to the exit door, had the usual lady scan my receipt and obliviously glance over my cart and walked to my car without a shred of guilt.
Cactus Head
My dogs are avid retrievers and love running to catch the tennis ball in our front yard whenever the opportunity presents itself.  Our yard is framed with cacti, so it’s inevitable that the ball will land in one of these prickly plants at some point during our game.  These particular cacti have protective hook-like edges on them that break off easily.  Since the dogs compete with each other to be the first to catch the ball and bring it back to us, they don’t think twice about diving head first into one of the cacti in our front yard, resulting in a head and face full of spiny stems.    
One day after playing outside I noticed that Oakley had several of these stickers hooked in his head, face and chin.  I felt bad for him since saw a little blood on his chin from one of them.  So, I carefully pulled them out and put them in the garbage. 
A couple of minutes later when I was lying on the couch Oakley came over and started begging for some attention.  As I was petting him, I noticed that I had missed pulling out one of the cactus stems from his chest.  I gently pulled it out and set it on the coffee table to be thrown out later.  Oakley, inquisitively looked at this thing, curiously sniffed it, and then...he ate it.    

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