Cruising home, anticipating dinner, I suddenly realize I haven't the proper salad dressing in the fridge. I've passed by all the civilized grocery stores and the only applicable merchant remaining between I and the Grotto is No Frills, home of filth, spoiled food and general imbecility.
What the heck. It's just salad dressing. In a sealed bottle. How wrong can I go?
Well, let's find out, shall we?
I pull in, avoid the more menacing potholes; those possibly bottomless, and park.
Inside, I squeeze down the narrow aisles past other zombified clientele, seeking the world's saddest little dressing collection in a remote corner and grabbing a hankerin' hunk o' cheddar on the way and a steak for kicks.
Three products in hand I hit the checkout land where three cashiers are working and forty-or-so customers (no exaggeration - swear) are crammed into three massive confused lines. Were we packed any tighter we'd probably trigger a Big Bang and birth a new universe. The entire front-of-store boulevard is grid-locked. Those touring the aisles are forced to reverse and use the back-of-store avenue to access other aisles.
Gazing well ahead I verify that I'm in the express aisle, clearly marked '1-8 ITEMS ONLY'.
The grid-lock does not deter one courageous patron from insisting she use the check-out boulevard for traversing the entire width of the store, expecting forty of us to climb atop each other to allow her passage. As she eventually inches up behind me I'm forced to acknowledge her presence as the lady standing behind me in line hails my attention - not by saying 'Excuse me, sir' or by tapping me on the shoulder or by any other respectable means commonly practiced by post-Neolithic hominids, but by poking me in the side. She jabs me right in the kidney. I just about shit myself.
I turn around very slowly and give her the deadest, emotionless stare I can muster while the courageous traverser squeaks, "Excuse me."
Silent, I turn to the mighty traveller and give her a slow expressionless sideways nod and press my body against the shopping cart of another shopper in another line. She inches by me eventually and I look back at the Poking Lady for a moment.
'Lady, if you ever touch me like that again I'll punch you so hard you'll sail clear through the air just like they do in those cartoons that you watch in your roach-infested apartment while you eat your Kraft Dinner and wait for Geraldo to come on.'
Outwardly I say nothing of course. I just peel myself off my neighbor's cart and turn and watch the patrons ahead of me shuffle forward, arrange their treasures on the conveyor belt and pay their dues.
I grow increasingly dumbfounded as freak after freak stands under the very decorative '1-8 ITEMS ONLY' sign and deposits ten, twenty or thirty items on the belt. I can't help but wonder how many stages of genetic evolution separate these lower-order bipeds from my own species and just how the hell they sleep at night.
Upon gaining a six-foot proximity to the 8-item-only checkout line I watch a man unload about twenty-eight purchases.
I calmly raised my three items, one at a time and tossed them through the air and into his pile, announcing, "Here buddy, add these to your collection." And then I marched out the door. And then I halted a speeding Honda with booming bass-boomer blasting by flashing my palm at it, hauled the teenage driver from it through the window by his nose rings and snapped his neck in two. And then I wrestled a secret decoder device from a SPECTRE agent, sucked back a martini; shaken-not-stirred, and banged a soviet spy. And then I taught President Bush how to love his fellow humans and how to speak English. And then I delivered toys to all the good boys and girls of the world.
And then I awoke from the reverie, my three items still in hand. I paid for them and exited the store - thirty minutes closer to death then I'd been upon entry.
And that's the tale of FWG's last ever visit to No Frills. So there.