Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Groceries - deadline 8-23-12 10 am NY time (08/16/12)
TITLE: The Last of the Store-Brand Foil
By Wilma Schlegel
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“Well, Honey, we’ll just have to have them on a night when ‘your dad’ doesn’t eat with us.” Julie’s smile was condescending. She shook her head and thought ‘Robert’s dad!’
“Oh,” the new husband said. He looked uncomfortably at the bag and took a deep breath. “Okay,” he said. He wondered when the last time was that his dad had gone grocery shopping. This whole experience was new to him, but Julie said it would be fun and ‘something they could do together, just the two of them,’ so here he was, at the super store.
Julie was on to the next thing. “How about ground beef and some chicken? - Legs and thighs okay?”
“Yeah, fine.” Robert answered. His eyes darted to that ‘alien’ shrimp in the cart again.
“What’s wrong, honey, you don’t seem like you’re enjoying this.” Julie playfully put her hand on Robert’s arm.
“Yoh!” Robert yelled. “Your hand is as cold as ice.”
“You’re ‘It’!” she taunted. She grabbed the cart and pushed it fast around the end of the aisle.
He caught up to her and grabbed her waist to stop her.
“Oh, I guess I’m ‘It’ now!” she put her head back and laughed.
“No, you’re not ‘It’ and stop making a scene. People will think we’re a couple of kids.” Robert warned.
“Well first of all, we Are, and second of all, who cares? And third of all, who am I shopping with, you or some crotchety old guy?” Julie was disappointed to see a new side to her previously fun-loving husband.
Robert looked doubtful. “I’m just not used to this kind of place.”
“This ‘kind of place’ is a grocery store. Look at the people here. They don’t care if you have some fun. As long as you’re not in their way and don’t take the last of something they want, they won’t even notice you,” Julie explained.
“That’s not true. My mom and most of her friends shop here. They usually act kind of serious.” Robert dutifully pushed the cart along.
“You’re worried about your mom and her friends? That’s silly.” Julie grabbed some sweet potatoes. “You eat sweet potatoes, don’t you? My mom says they’re among the top ten superfoods.”
“Your mom would say something like that.” Robert rolled his eyes.
They made their way into the snack food aisle. “Hey, remember the time your mom made potato chip cookies, but she used sour cream and onion flavored? Man, that was something!” Robert laughed out loud.
“Oh, really? I don’t remember.” Julie didn’t appreciate that Robert chose to laugh now - at her mom.
Robert threw in two bags of ‘sour cream and onion’. “Well, then I guess she’ll have to make them again, and we can supply the chips.”
“Well, at least she tries new things and she hasn’t been interfering with this whole shopping trip the way your parents have.”
“My parents would never interfere.” Robert defended.
“Oh, but they constantly do,” Julie insisted looking at the shrimp.
“I don’t know what you mean,” Robert argued.
Julie put some generic aluminum foil into the cart.
“Why can’t you get the name brand?” Robert asked. “And what did you mean about my parents?”
Julie scowled at her husband, tapping her foot. “Why should we get the name brand, Robert? And I actually think your parents are interfering right now,” she said through clenched teeth.
“What are you talking about, Julie? You know they’re at the shore right now.”
“Robert,” came a voice from a complete stranger who was standing uncomfortably close to them. “I think maybe your parents prefer the name brand.”
“They do.” Robert smiled in satisfaction. “ Julie, you said nobody’d notice us.”
“And maybe,” the stranger continued as she looked at Julie, “Robert’s parents have been a strong influence on him, rather than an interference with your shopping. Kind of like your own mother’s influence on you. It’s all in how you look at it, after all.”
Julie thought about it and smiled, nodding slowly.
“Now, if you don’t mind,” the shopper said reaching behind Julie, “Is that the last of the store brand foil?”
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