28 comments

American Contemporary Funny


Eggs, milk, bread, butter, peanut butter…

Should have written it all down, or used the damn phone for more than…

“Turn left at the next intersection.”

Right.

What else is on?

“If you leave me now…”

“Lady in red…”

“She knocked me out with those American…”

The kids; did Sheila pick them up?

“Weather warning: snow squalls and…”

About thirty-five pages tonight… Not a break; not even with time-and-a-half…

“Rock the casbah, rock…”

No traffic; not bad on a Friday.

“Return all carts to the proper section after use.”

Five things…anything I missed?

Eggs?

Brown? Duck?

Yeah, duck...duh...

Brown bread? Sheila likes it; kids hate it?

Bagels, baguettes (whole wheat, Parisian, large…)

“Just like me, they long to be…”

Need to bring my earphones next time…

Where’s my phone?

“honey, we also need those olives Jessica loves and Michael said that he did not have a granola bar for lunch so dont forget to grab some with chocolate on it see you soon”

Great…

Need a basket.

“Attention, shoppers. We invite you to try our cheese selections!”

Well, if I am here.

And it is starting…

Snow squalls…cold snap…Snap, Crackle, Pop…do we need cereal?

What about brie, Gouda, St. Paulin, Swiss…blue…don’tcha make my brown eyes…

Really need my earphones next time.

“Hi! Have you tried our…?”

Nice girl. Michael would probably try to ask her out. Impressive kid…Michael, I mean. Jeez.

Another text?

“did you find the olives?”

“Right on it. The kids home?”

“all home. Just waiting for their devoted father to come back and eat them.”

“*eat dinner with them.”

“haha. lol.”

Truth in advertising?

“It is very…Gouda.”

Well, this one knew her customer service lessons. Always laugh until they leave…

And what’s next?

Okay, we’re getting more cheese. Anything not bright orange in a jar works for me…

Bread…Wonder. I wonder…

Olives! Why so close to the bread? Green and black (getting both)…

“David?”

Brain freeze! Work, school, picnic, regrettable business trip…?

“Laura?”

University; definitely back to that time. Another decade and a half behind them…

“How are you?”

“How are you?”

Small talk in a supermarket. Almost made it out of here. Excuse I can make?

“Wife wants me to pick up a few things.”

“Ball and chain?”

Do people really say that? Well, she did…

Why did we even break up?

She just fixed her hair. Red barrette with teeth (is that what they are?).

Remembering that thing I gave her for her hair (much longer back then…the hair, not the thing…).

Where is my head?

“Lucky woman.”

Ah, we broke up after that party. She had a roommate. My roommate knew about it and had no tact. Like trying to put toothpaste back in the tube. You don’t bed hop with someone’s girlfriend…

Girlfriend?

“Maybe I’m her ball and chain…”

Same laugh. Same ringing of those chimes in her voice…

Girlfriend? Was that what we were? Don’t remember that with us?

“Lucky…”

And now, hand on my arm… No ring.

“We should stay in touch.”

No ring… How did she end up ringless? Ringless? My head is just…

“I never really settled down.”

“I don’t think I did. Just settled.”

Still smiling. Basket’s getting heavy. Still need…what?

Eggs…

“You need to head back home.”

Brown eggs. Definitely brown ones.

“Your wife texted to remind you.”

Granola. Quaker Oats is good. Store brand might work. Something really chocolately.

Something good.

“And you are a good guy.”

Butter. Peanut butter (crunchy as hell).

“Yes, a good guy.”

Could someone please tell them they were blocking the aisle?

No luck; one old woman staring at the prices for mayonnaise, only. What the hell? What the Hellman’s?

Bad to work in advertising.

“You do know that I still regret how it all ended.”

“Ah.”

Quick glance at the old woman. No, no mayo tonight. No Miracles being Whipped…

Am I sweating?

“We should have tried harder to make up.”

“We…um, I remember that you were the one…”

Announcement (not prerecorded this time): “Attention, shoppers…”

She was the hopping one.

“…due to the weather conditions announced earlier…”

It was his roommate; his friend.

“…the supermarket will be closing at 8 pm tonight.”

She wanted something else. Someone else.

“Thank you for shopping at…”

He put the basket down. The bread and olives bounced in the plastic.

“Nice to see you, Laura.”

Peanut butter. Butter. Eggs. The list was in his hands.

“Say hi to everyone for me.”

He dropped the list into the basket, scooped it up and…well…

“I will.”

He was already near the coolers.

Eggs and butter (brown and salted). And milk right beside it all (Skim for them).

Peanut butter?

Same aisle…

She was still there.

Right by the tubs.

A quick turn. The unplanned moment for it.

A kiss. Warmth by her neck. Scent of her in his head.

Not bad. Late night and basket of food. A good challenge.

“Bye, Laura.”

In the other direction, he sped off for the express lane.

Granola?

Granola! To the bars...

Candy aisle. Cookies and chocolates. Store brand right there.

Laura. That was her perfume. Right behind him.

“That’s all?”

Ring hand; the small of his back.

“Laura…”

“Yeah, I know. Family and all that.”

Card in his back pocket.

“Call me.”

A moment to take her in. No basket. No trolley. Just…was that wine?

Was that his phone?

“hey, you get lost? Weather is nasty now. Get back here.”

He put the card in his hands.

Professional card. Embossed. Gold and black.

“Accounting services.”

A small laugh.

The basket felt light.

No sightings at the line. Two other men (good sign). Older clerk he knew. No drama.

“$24.83.”

“Debit.”

“Bag?”

“Yeah, you better.”

Frown. Was that almost a threat?

Outside, raw drifts of snow. Cold knives of wind in his jacket (parka next time).

No need for the trunk. Car had to heat up for a bit. At least thirty minutes before he got home. No crowds out here, too.

“Honey?”

No response.

Radio might have a surprise.

“MY GOD, WHAT HAVE I DONE?”

Volume! David Byrne scared him.

“got everything?”

“Everything. And some extras…”

“goofball”

“Miss Goofball.”

;) - nice to see.

He pulled out. Not slick on the road. Traffic at main exit not bad. Music worked (all new wave on this station).

“oh, I forgot something!”

“I’m on the highway.”

“No, I met someone you know. Said she was an ex.”

He did not reply.

“Laura. Remember her? That was back in university. Remember? My roommate. Damn. A long time ago.”

He remembered the card.

He remembered Sheila never looked in his wallet.

The road ahead was clear.

“Remember?”





February 25, 2023 01:41

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.

28 comments

Ian Barrett
22:18 Feb 25, 2023

This was really good. I enjoyed the fragment experiment.

Reply

Kendall Defoe
12:07 Feb 28, 2023

Thank you, sir! I will check out your work soon!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Lily Finch
00:24 Mar 04, 2023

Such a good use of the prompt. It made me think of Same Old Lang Sine by Dan Fogelberg for a minute. All of these events you write about fit with fragments. So cleverly done! LF6.

Reply

Kendall Defoe
03:18 Mar 15, 2023

Thank you, Ms. F!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Delbert Griffith
15:51 Mar 03, 2023

I instantly thought of Don DeLillo's book "White Noise" when I read this. What a superb tale of a man leading a life of quiet desperation. The writing was so good, so crisp. I found that the muddled fragments presented a clear picture of the man's mind. I especially liked the fragments of song lyrics and the puns. They all added and expanded what the story was telling us. Nicely done, my friend. Nicely done indeed.

Reply

Kendall Defoe
23:37 Mar 03, 2023

Wow. Never thought I'd see his name mentioned here (last tome of his I read was "Mao II"). Thank you for that!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Kathy Trevelyan
09:25 Mar 01, 2023

Nicely done! You managed to build so much story into fragments of thoughts and memories, during what should have been a normal, mundane visit to the shop. I really enjoyed reading it, and writing from this prompt, and it’s produced some excellent and different stories.

Reply

Kendall Defoe
14:00 Mar 01, 2023

Thank you for this! I have so many comments to read and stories to review!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Francis Daisy
02:20 Mar 01, 2023

This. Is. Perfect. How did you get inside my head? SCARY! Beautiful! Loved it!

Reply

Kendall Defoe
14:02 Mar 01, 2023

A lot of stream-of-consciousness writing stuck in my head...

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Michał Przywara
00:18 Mar 01, 2023

Yeah, fragments work well here. For the first bit, they suit that kind of chore you need to do, even if your head's not in it. Then add all the distractions of advertising and constant noise pollution. For the second part, it works too. Trying to place a face, an old fling, all the conflicting thoughts and memories it brings up. Sounds like there's quite a history here, with a bit of a mutual roommate/mate swap, if I'm reading it right. And the story has a tense angle to it as well, with the snow storm. We have a very distracted protag...

Reply

Kendall Defoe
14:01 Mar 01, 2023

Always my best critic... 😉

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Wendy Kaminski
16:00 Feb 28, 2023

This was really well-done, Kendall, and a unique and perfect response to the prompt! A shopping trip, of course: I chat to myself all the time. Though, I'm gonna have to punalize you for "“It is very…Gouda.” lol :P Enjoyed it, particularly the twist! :)

Reply

Kendall Defoe
22:47 Feb 28, 2023

What? No comment on "What the Hellman's" or "Miracles...Whipped"? Understood. I was on the fence with using them, but with fragments, it does work. Thank Q!

Reply

Wendy Kaminski
23:58 Feb 28, 2023

I was still getting over those... :( Now you've re-traumatized me omg!

Reply

Kendall Defoe
03:20 Mar 15, 2023

Hope you got your Snap Crackle Popped...!

Reply

Wendy Kaminski
13:48 Mar 15, 2023

omg I was almost there! Whyyyyy! :)

Reply

Kendall Defoe
18:14 Mar 15, 2023

Almost?

Reply

Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Roger Scypion
04:48 Feb 28, 2023

The fragmented thoughts of a shopping mind! The channel turning of the radio getting various music and reports...Awesome use of the prompt!

Reply

Kendall Defoe
11:59 Feb 28, 2023

Thank you for this and all the other comments. I have to go back and read over your work today!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
11:00 May 12, 2023

That prompt intrigued me but I opted for the dialogue only. You nailed this! Poor Guy having to shop for the family. He did well. So realistic. LOL. Better than my husband. Actually if I'd done a fragment story about that topic it would have taken too many words. He always meets people and talks to them for sooooo long. He also ignores lists, will spend twice as much as the budget allows, and brings home stuff we don't eat or already have multiples of. Shudder to think what goes on in his mind when shopping.

Reply

Kendall Defoe
00:27 May 13, 2023

You really do not want to know what goes on in anyone's mind in a supermarket. ;) Thank you for your comments!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Mary Bendickson
22:01 Mar 25, 2023

Thanks for liking my silly story 'Working on it'. Nothing like the masterpieces the rest of you come up with like this one. As you can tell I am still getting around to reading some I follow. This was a gem. We talk constantly to ourselves in snippets and this proved it.

Reply

Kendall Defoe
18:13 Apr 21, 2023

Thank you. Delayed response, so I apologize.

Reply

Mary Bendickson
18:35 Apr 21, 2023

No problem. My good intentions are always getting sidelined.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Mike Panasitti
11:13 Mar 15, 2023

The only way I could've written this is by going to the store and recording all the random thoughts I had while shopping on my voice memo app. Quite impressive if you did it my means of a stream of consciousness.

Reply

Kendall Defoe
11:29 Mar 15, 2023

Thanks. I just visualized going to the market and taking in all the sounds and sights.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
RBE | Illustration — We made a writing app for you | 2023-02

We made a writing app for you

Yes, you! Write. Format. Export for ebook and print. 100% free, always.