There comes a time when a boy young 'un has to strike out on his own. To take over duties which were done for him during his tender years. Okay. So driving is currently not up for take-over, what with the lack of a license. But Mrs. Hillbilly Mom saw no reason why The Pony couldn't run into The Devil's Playground after school to pick up a couple of items.
After all, The Pony is the one who grabbed the cough medicine this morning to take to school for a noontime treatment. The cough medicine that had barely enough for one dose swirling around the bottom of the bottle, still encased in its box, the measuring cup thingy on top of the lid.
It's not like we hoard the good stuff. No prescription needed. Over-the-counter stuff made for kids. Yes. Even though The Pony has reached the ripe old age of 17, he takes that kid medicine. He can stomach the taste, and it eases his stuffiness or runniness without incapacitating him. He most often takes it at night, or when he's feeling particularly poorly in the first two days of a cold.
Let the record show that The Pony leaves his lunch bag in my room, and comes to pick it up and sometimes heat his food during his lunch shift. It's my plan time then, so we momentarily connect. I don't even see him in the hall the rest of the day.
"Pony. You brought an empty bottle of cough medicine this morning."
"What? Isn't there enough to take some?"
"It looks like there might be almost a dose. We're going to stop by The Devil's Playground on the way home. You can run in and get another bottle."
"I'm pretty sure we have one at home over the stove. By the dishwashing liquid."
"I don't know about that. This might be the last one. I'm not taking a chance on not having any tonight. You don't sound good."
"Okay. But I'm sure we have some."
By the time we hit The Devil's parking lot, I had added another item to the short list.
"Get a bag of that Tyson Honey Chicken while you're in there. I'll drop you off at the pharmacy end, and park down at the food end. Here's cash."
Let the record show that the #1 son loved to use the debit card. But The Pony likes things less complicated. I parked and waited. After 5 minutes, my phone rang.
"Mom? They don't have the honey chicken. I looked in the freezer case with the door across from the hot dog buns where it usually is, and in the middle freezers. It's not anywhere. Should I get a bag of chicken chunks?"
"Yeah. That's fine."
A few minutes later The Pony exited through The Devil's exit door (unlike 95% of his clientele) and squinted like a mole rousted from its burrow in the afternoon sun. He spotted T-Hoe and climbed in.
"They wouldn't let me buy the cough medicine. You have to be 18."
Poor little fella. Given such a daunting task, and thwarted by The Devil. I had no idea there was such a requirement. There are no signs. The stuff is on the shelves, not behind the counter. I suppose it's because of the penchant some ne'er-do-well teens have for slurping that stuff with soda as a mood-altering pharmaceutical. But that's for other places you hear about on TV. Not in Hillmomba.
Anyhoo...I drove back to the pharmacy end of The Playground. Teetered across the lot on sore knees that didn't get their ibuprofen last night and endured a standing 30-minute tribute this morning. I found the cough medicine right where The Pony described it. The same stuff he's taken since he was 4 or 5 years old. The box was kind of crinkled, but it was the only one on the shelf. The slot next to it was empty, and the other side was a different kind.
I paid relatively quickly after being next to next to next in line. Teetered back out across the parking lot like a prize sweet potato on toothpick legs.
"This was the last one. I guess they kept that other one you had at the register."
"Last one? There were five on the shelf when I got that one."
"Huh. I guess that's why they have an age limit. This stuff must be really good. It's flying off the shelf!"
Let the record show that we DID have an unopened boxed bottle of that cough medicine over the stove, behind the Dawn.
I feel kind of bad for subjecting The Pony to embarrassment, even though he said it didn't bother him.