I have always been intrigued by Nature. Not from a scientific perspective. I could wax nostalgic and romantic at length, yet for immediate purposes, I want to mention that as a child, I often wondered what I would be able to see from an ant’s perspective, a part of the natural world that my large, and perhaps cruder eye could not see me crushing as I walked along. Perhaps it is this desire, this curious nature, that keeps a peel on those things at my height.
Someone has thrown a Busch Beer can out of their car and it has landed in front of our trees roadside. It sets the stage, the context.
I am at the local convenience store. The two Punjabi women are at the counter and there is quite a line as the younger one has been learning the ropes, and from what I have been able to glean, not quickly. I am standing behind a short young woman with deep purple toenails. There are several people behind me. It is that time of day, quittin’ time, when every other customer has a case of beer in hand. A young man walks in. Jaunty, NY ball cap set so, heading for the cooler when a young woman enters, equally, no more so with the jaunt “Yo, Sammy, what up dog?” She sucker punches him in the stomach.
“Fuck, bitch!” They both laugh. The older counter woman shoots a look without surprise.
In short order, a third masculine type. They all know each other. Hugs and a punch from the slugger as all three head to the cooler.
A male voice, “Sammy, you know I didn’t steal your iPod. I just got out of the penitentiary, man.” A conversation ensues punctuated with impropriety.
“We’ll talk. Let’s go outside.”
No, man, I don’t wanna fight.”
“We ain’t gonna fight. Just come outside.”
More “fuck this and that” as negotiations continue through a subtext known only to the conversants as I get my mints and a drink. I think that I might hang back just in case as I like the counter women. It has taken me three years to get the old one to smile. I’m invested. One of the guys leave and I take this as a defusing.
Pet store to by duck feed. The price always takes my breath. I again curse the corn cartel for the extra water in my gas tank.
Hardware store. Third time with a key that seems to defy duplication. It is an unusually long wait for someone to try his hand.
“Has the staff been cut?” There used to be six people working the floor. I knew the answer. New owners. More discreet direction of the conversation reveals that the old proprietors are greatly missed. The conversation starts to swerve to the economy and politics just about the same time the key is cut. We agree to part ways.
On to the likker store. The Dear Wife wants to try a couple specialty drinks and gift a bottle to a friend for his 50th. No men work at the store, save the owner. The women are all very short and very thin, all friendly. The youngest help me find the rarities. She is fresh off of a very short maternity leave. As she rings up another breath-stopper, she slight-of-hands an itch there.
I miss live poker.