Market Rage


Evelyn Duboff

I'm at the Westside Market checkout counter, searching for a credit card to pay for my purchases. There's a man in line behind me. He's tall, blond, and good-looking-except for the tension in his face. I can sense his rage at the delay I'm causing.

The clerk is quiet. This type of thing apparently happens all the time.

I'm trying to recall where I last used my card, when, to my relief, I find it. "Here it is!" I shout, and turn to the man to apologize. "I, uh . . . "

But he cuts me off. "You should have had your card ready," he snaps. "You ignored me!"

The clerk's eyes drop. She's waiting for my counterattack.
I jump right in: "Oh, I could never ignore you-you're too attractive." (That's my mother talking-guiding me from beyond.)

The clerk bites her lip to suppress a grin.

"Sorry I kept you waiting," I add. (That's me talking.)

"No problem," he says, his mouth curving upward, puts cash on the counter for his six-pack, and rushes off without another word.

A tall, dark-haired man, next in line behind me, witnessed the exchange and smiles at me. He's just as good-looking as the tall blond man.

"That fellow wanted very much to stay angry with you, but he couldn't after what you said. Congratulations."

"Thank you," I say, and make a mental note to visit this market more often.