Then, watch out. No holds barred is how we roll.
We don't like following senseless rules made by big ass organizations, especially when it limits one's poultry purchasing capabilities.
A limit of two packages per family, the sign said.
Two measly packages. We'll see about that. We'll show those big guys who's really boss in this town.
We form a posse, Mr. Handsome up in front, me behind him holding Dee's hand, Em bringing up the rear. All the while, our eyes do not meet, nor do we speak. We are alone in this endeavour. All alone. And yet, a team. It's poetic.
Mr. Handsome picks out two choice packages of chicken breasts. Skinless. Boneless. Priceless. He turns, does not acknowledge my existence, and quickly starts making his way to the cash at the front of the store.
Now, it's my turn. A smile forms as I watch Mr. Handsome leave, not sure I can believe what we are doing. Damn. Did an employee see me smiling at him, and now they know?
I search through the freezer bin for the perfect poultry packages. My hands grow cold with the effort. I'm not sure I can fulfill the task.
I finally find the appropriate packs, and I look up to see Em staring at me. She quickly looks away, and again I do the rounds of the store with my eyes, ensuring no one has seen this obvious communication between us.
Again, safe. When will our luck run out? I ask myself, as I start walking purposefully to the cash.
I get to the front of the store, and get in line behind someone I know from the neighbourhood, and start jabbering, chattering away about everything and nothing, as such things are.
As I get closer to the cash, I realize I don't have a penny to my name. I don't have my credit card either. I'm screwed.
So, I make the effort to hiss very loudly, surreptitiously asking Em for some bills, knowing Mr. Handsome had given her some before our foray into this vast building of rules and poultry. I don't think I've been seen, and if I have, it's too late. I'll take the bullet for the team.
Em hands me a $20, and tells me with no uncertainty that that's all she has for me.
My poultry purchase will be about $25.
I start to panic. The sweat begins to drip down the back of my neck. My palms start losing their hold on the precious cargo.
I don't want to lose my place in line (the line-ups were atrocious), and Em hasn't quite gotten in place yet, so I coerce her to find Mr. Handsome and get some more money from him. But, I remind her, don't let anyone see you, or we're screwed.
She does it. She's coming back with a fiver. I see it in her hand. I stick out my hand, and more swiftly than David Copperfield makes the naked woman disappear, she puts it in my hand. She's good. Very good.
I finally get to the cash. Almost there, I say to myself. Just pay the lady and get out. Stay calm.
I leave the store. Breathe. See both children by the car, Em with chicken pallets in hand. Rain is pouring down on us.
Then I realize Mr. Handsome is still in line in the store, and has the keys to the car.
I have to go back in there. I have no choice. This isn't over yet. Far from it. Nothing's easy in this life.
Just as I start back into the store, I see Mr. Handsome leaving. He looks confused. He stops to read the wall, where people have left ads. I yell out to him, get his attention. And then I realize what I have done.
We make a run for it, through the rain, down the slick parking lot to the car. As we near it, Mr. Handsome deftly pushes the trunk button on his key with one swift movement of his opposable thumb, and the trunk pops open. With one fell swoop, we all drop our load, close the trunk and get into the car, and breathe again.
Next week: The cereal aisle.