As we progress to Part 2 of Jerkapalooza, Mrs. Hillbilly Mom has made her way into The Devil's Playground to pick up some supplies for potato-salad-making so that she does not turn up at her sister the ex-mayor's wife's Memorial Day barbecue empty-handed.
The produce section is right up front in my regular Devil's Playground. I had already grabbed a 5-pound bag of Idaho potatoes. I don't keep them on hand, because we don't eat many potatoes now that The Pony is gone away to college. He liked them baked, with lots of butter and salt. We use them occasionally in the Broccocaulipeppot, but that's mainly a cool-weather dish. If I have a bag of potatoes sitting in the pantry, I pretty much ignore them until I trip over them, or they start to stink, or they sprout so that their tentacles grasp at my ankles when I step in to grab some salsa.
I had put my potato bag in the cart, and was rounding the end of the aisle to look for tomatoes. I don't put them in potato salad, of course, but Farmer H was grilling for us on Sunday, so I wanted some nice big tomatoes to slice for the hamburgers. As I started down the aisle, I noticed, on the end cap of the aisle to the left, a display of cherries. Cherries on the stem, in a plastic bag with handles and a plastic sliding closer thingy.
Farmer H likes cherries. They're better for him than Casey's donuts. I also like cherries. I saw that the price was three dollars and something a pound. Of course the bags didn't say how much was in them, but I figured it was at least a couple of pounds. They weren't going to be cheap. So I looked for a bag where there were no smashed cherries. Just looked. I didn't paw through them like 5:00 a.m. customers at a table of children's clothes at a Friday morning garage sale. I saw an acceptable bag of cherries, and put them in the child seat of my cart. Then I continued down to the middle of the aisle to look at tomatoes.
It took me a few minutes. I didn't want organic tomatoes. To me, that just means they're fertilized with poop, and somebody sits guard for $50 an hour and flicks away the bugs and birds and tomato hornworms with a silk scarf, rather than those tomatoes having chemical fertilizer and pesticide powder. I usually like the tomatoes that are still on the stem. But I didn't see any of those. I DID see some that were two-in-a-pack. Round and plump. Just the shape and size for hamburger garnishing. So I picked up two or three packs to look at them closer. They were in long cardboard boxes, like the bottom half of a Velveeta cheese container. Not all see-through like the cherry bags. Then I selected one. I put it in the child seat of my cart with the other unsmashables like the cherries. Then I went back up the aisle the way I had come, to head over to the shredded lettuce area.
I had just exited the aisle proper when I heard something. A cross between a THUMP and a PLOP. It was slightly behind me, on my right side. I turned to see what it was, and saw that a bag of cherries had tumbled off the top shelf of the end cap, and that cherries had spilled out of the top and scattered across the floor. Huh.
If it had been a single item, I would have picked it up and placed it back where it belonged. Because I'm a helper like that. But this was a two-or-more-pound bag of loose cherries. Sweet Gummi Mary! I could have a stroke, bending my head over upside-down for so long to pick them up. Besides, they just randomly fell. I had been looking at the tomatoes for at least three or four minutes. And the bag of cherries I had taken before then was sitting on top. I didn't even dig for them. It was just a weird coincident that they fell from where they did, when they did.
I started on toward the shredded lettuce, and that feeling you get when somebody is watching you made me turn my head to the left, over toward the bread wall. There was a Devil's handmaiden pushing a tall three-shelf metal cart, putting items on display.
THAT HANDMAIDEN GAVE ME THE STINKEYE!
She glared at me like she was trying to set me on fire. Like I had grabbed that bag of cherries and spiked them to the tile like a football player celebrating a touchdown. That is so unfair! I was nowhere near those cherries! Okay. I was actually right beside those cherries. About four feet away. But they fell due to gravity. I did not touch them or bump the display. And now that I've been making wise choices for the past year, and dropped 111 pounds, I don't think my steps vibrated the foundation like some kind of Jurassic Park dinosaur, either.
I was startled to see The Devil's Handmaiden firing those combustion waves at me from her eyeballs. I didn't even say anything. Didn't acknowledge. I went right on about my business, because I KNEW I had nothing to do with those fallen cherries, and it wasn't MY job to pick them up, it was hers. In fact, I saw that the shredded lettuce was too limp and too close to the date for me, and I went on around to the frozen food aisle to get Farmer H's multigrain blueberry waffles.
When I crossed the waffles off my list, I saw that I had forgotten to get Farmer H's Sweet Hawaiian Rolls. Which were over on a shelf by the bread wall. I went back, directly across the path of the Handmaiden, and luckily did not combust.
She's probably still looking in my direction.