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  He couldn’t believe he was actually doing this. He’d heard the old jokes about embarrassed husbands heading through the convenient store checkout with their heads tucked down, avoiding eye contact with the cashier so they could purchase tampons for their wives. He’d never thought he’d agree to run such an errand. Why would he need to? Women drive! Taking out his wallet, he couldn’t believe his bad luck. He’d left his bankcard on his nightstand and had no cash. None. So. This meant he would have to drive the three miles back home, get his card, and come back to do this again, facing the cashier once more. His face reddened further as he explained to the woman that he didn’t actually have anything to pay with and would have to come back. She smiled at him in what was likely a friendly, understanding way, but at the moment he felt she and the whole world were laughing at him. 

  Getting in his truck, trying to feel like a man, he gunned the engine a little and took off. Immediately the lights behind him caught his eye. He was being pulled over, likely for improper take off. What a night!

 As the cop approached the truck, he got out his license and searched in vain for his auto insurance card. Where the hell was it? The officer tapped on the window and he stopped searching. No sense making the cop think he was digging for a gun or something. He rolled the window down and explained his dilemma, leaving out the bit about being on a tampon run. His wife had the flu AND had started her period. He wanted to take care of her, but geez.

 Accepting the ticket with a rueful sigh, he started his truck and this time carefully eased away from the curb, making sure to use his signal. The rest of the short trip home was uneventful, but when he went in to the house he heard his wife coughing pretty severely. He went to check on her. “Hey, Claire, sweetie, you OK?”

 Claire nodded weakly and tried to smile. “Thank you for going to get my stuff,” she murmured. He blushed, just a little.

 “Uh, about that. I forgot my bankcard and had to come back for it. Uh, got a little ticket, too,” he added hastily.

 “A ticket?” she repeated. “What for?”

 He didn’t want to tell her of his embarrassed macho driving so he just said he’d tell her about it later. “OK, Paul. Thanks again. I love you.”

 They were both nineteen and had only been married for two months. He loved her intensely, and that was the only reason he got his card, went back to his truck, and headed back out to the store.

 Once there, he forgot which kind of tampon he’d picked out the first time. Claire had written it on a slip of paper for him but he’d apparently dropped it somewhere between being publicly humiliated, getting pulled over, and going back home. He thumped his forehead with the heel of his hand but it didn’t help. Lost, he stared at the myriad of options in women’s hygiene. He decided to call her, and risk waking her up. He dug in all of his oversize pockets for his phone and came up empty. He trudged back out to his truck and glanced in the window. There it was, on the seat! Wait a minute. He’d dug through all his pockets and come up empty. No truck keys! He screamed a manly scream of frustration and rage when he saw them dangling from his ignition. Running his hands through his hair, he debated about what to do next. He couldn’t call his wife or the locksmith. He could go ahead and buy her tampons, but chances are, they’d be the wrong ones, and with the way his night was going, he figured it would be a big deal, rather than a small inconvenience. Maybe they had different sizes or something. A mental picture of his wife dangling a too big or too small tampon and explaining it to him was beyond mortifying. He hesitated in the parking lot for about fifteen agonizing minutes and decided being an adult was hard. With this new insight, he plodded back into the store. He bought the first box of tampons he saw without checking for size or other embarrassing details, strode up to the cashier with a false sense of bravado, and slapped his card on the counter. He stared directly into the eyes of the cashier, determined not to shy away, but was deflated when she spoke. “I’m sorry sir. Our card reader is down. Cash only.”

 Of course.

 “Can I use your phone, please?” he practically whined.

“Uh, I’m not really supposed to..” she hesitated.

“It’s an emergency.” he blurted.

“Well, OK.” She grudgingly handed him her phone.

He was defeated yet again. He didn’t have Claire’s number memorized. Would a locksmith even take a bankcard? How would he swipe it? Lost, he stood there, holding a phone and gazing at the cashier. He made her nervous. “Sir? I need the phone back now.” He handed it to her and turned away. A simple errand had turned into a night of horror. Making a rash decision, he ran out the door and picked up a nearby brick. He smashed his truck’s back window out with a howl of maniacal triumph! He was in! He had his phone, his keys, and all was right with the world! He got in his truck, but then his stomach rolled. The lights in his rear mirror were flashing angrily. He would have some explaining to do. Young, inexperienced, and unsure, he wondered if it is illegal to break into your own vehicle. Well, he thought as he got out to face the officer with his hands raised, he was about to find out.

February 28, 2020 16:41

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1 comment

Mishka Stennett
01:21 Mar 12, 2020

Nicely paced and funny.

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