The Creepiest Commercials... EVER!

People, these quite frankly are the creepiest commercials I have ever seen. Am I crazy?

I hope this dude doesn't have a creamy middle. And for crying out loud want guy in his right mind wants to smell like a Hershey bar?

I guess this next one is supposed to be a beauty mask of sorts, but with the absence of anyone talking and the eerie soundtrack, I'm thinking something else.

"Always wanted to be a serial killer, but never felt like you had the right look for it? Then you need the Psycho Mask! The Psycho Mask is guaranteed to turn you into a knife-wielding lunatic in 30 days or less or we'll send your money back! Show the ones you love who you really are. Show them you're a monster with a task for blood! Get the Psycho Mask today while supplies last! But wait! Buy now and we'll throw in a set of stainless steel cutlery just for trying the Psycho Mask. Call the number at the bottom of the screen TODAY! ...or we'll take a claw hammer to your head."

And for the little psycho in your life get them Baby Laugh A Lot...

This what would happen if Willie Wonka and Satan joined forces to start an ad agency.


A Video Valentine To My Wife

Swallowed In The Sea

You cut me down a tree
And brought it back to me
And that's what made me see
Where I was going wrong

You put me on a shelf
And kept me for yourself
I can only blame myself
You can only blame me

And I could write a song
A hundred miles long
Well, that's where I belong
And you belong with me

And I could write it down
or spread it all around
Get lost and then get found
Or swallowed in the sea

You put me on a line
And hung me out to dry
And darling that's when I
Decided to go to sea

You cut me down to size
And opened up my eyes
Made me realize
What I could not see

And I could write a book
The one they'll say that shook
The world, and then it took
It took it back from me

And I could write it down
Or spread it all around
Get lost and then get found
And you'll come back to me
Not swallowed in the sea


And I could write a song
A hundred miles long
Well, that's where I belong
And you belong with me

The streets you're walking on
A thousand houses long
Well, that's where I belong
And you belong with me

Oh what good is it to live
With nothing left to give
Forget but not forgive
Not loving all you see

Are the streets you're walking on
A thousand houses long
Well that's where I belong
And you belong with me
Not swallowed in the sea

You belong with me
Not swallowed in the sea
Yeah, you belong with me
Not swallowed in the sea

Songwriters: Guy Berryman, Jon Buckland, Will Champion, Chris Martin
Performed by Coldplay


A Video Valentine To My Children

Speed Of Sound

How long before I get in
Before it starts before I begin
How long before you decide
Before I know what it feels like
Where to, where do I go?
If you never try then you'll never know
How long do I have to climb
Up on the side of this mountain of mine

Look up, I look up at night
Planets are moving at the speed of light,
Climb up, up in the trees
Every chance that you get is a chance you seize
How long am I gonna stand
With my head stuck under the sand
I'll start before I can stop
Before I see things the right way up.

All that noise and all that sound
All those places I got found
And birds go flying at the speed of sound
To show you how it all began
Birds came flying from the underground
If you could see it then you'd understand

Ideas that you'll never find
All the inventors could never design
The buildings that you put up
Japan and China all lit up
The sign that I couldn't read
or a light, that I couldn't see
Some things you have to believe
While others are puzzles, puzzling me

All that noise and all that sound
All those places I got found
And birds go flying at the speed of sound
To show you how it all began
Birds came flying from the underground
If you could see it then you'd understand
Oh, when you see it then you'll understand

All those signs I knew what they meant,
Some things you can invent
Some get made and some get sent ooh-ooh

And birds go flying at the speed of sound
To show you how it all began
Birds came flying from the underground
If you could see it then you'd understand
Oh, when you see it then you'll understand.

Songwriters: Guy Berryman, Jon Buckland, Will Champion, Chris Martin
Preformed by Coldplay


Seek The Wise One

If you're looking for me then you'll need to take a short detour to The Wise Young Mommy where I am not so much guest posting so much as I am blogging for my life to earn a spot as Petra's co-blogger for HeBlog/SheBlog. Thus far, the rest of my competition has been kick-ass so at this point if I can get a chuckle or two then it won't be a total loss. Take time to read their answers posted since Monday and then send Petra your vote (see details). Enjoy!

PS - It may not be posted on her site until 8AM EST.


Hell's Teacher

This past week I started what will be two months worth of classes, thus putting me on the road to obtaining my teacher’s certification. After only one session, I have to admit my difficulty in containing my excitement over the prospect of teaching high school English and/or History. Still though, I’m trying to balance my enthusiasm with various realities such as passing my subject content tests and then finding an open position at a school, while at the same time quelling my pre-conceived notions of being a mini version of Robin Williams in Dead Poet’s Society. There are times my (well-hidden) romantic nature can get the best of me, and I’m sure all the teachers out their reading this will no doubt pass along more than a few thoughts on my naivety. It was appropriate then, that on the first day of training a highly experienced middle-school principal spent the entire morning sharing the actualities - both good and bad - of the education field. Naturally this included a challenge to ask ourselves why we wanted to teach. I sat there quiet for a moment joining the other 300 plus people all answering the same question. It really didn’t take a great deal of effort to identify my motivations, and no, they had nothing to do with merely getting a job, a subject our speaker specifically made reference to in light of the current economic conditions. Apparently, she had already come across more than a few demonstrating this mindset. 

At some point I will likely share my reasons, but for now, I’m going to hold off in order to ensure they haven’t been colored too rosy by my earlier noted idealism. Besides, after a full day of drinking from the proverbial fire hose, it was clear how much I lack in understanding even the most fundamental of aspects, such as the nuances involved in simply getting an interview. To look at my resume, one might think, “Great experience, but how does it relate to the classroom, and more importantly, how do I know you’re not going to bolt the minute some company sweeps in offering $300K a year?” Obviously I have some retooling to do in marketing my credentials, which also includes putting some deep thought into a draft teaching portfolio that encompasses everything from my personal philosophy to sample lesson plans. This is not to mention the preparation required in order to pass the State of Texas’ exams designed to assess my knowledge of English and Social Studies. Yesterday I downloaded the Lit practice test and was encouraged to have correctly answered the first two questions of the ninety total (I only perused the first page lest you think that was my overall sum of accuracy). Not bad for having graduated almost eleven years ago, an achievement probably owed more to CLIFF notes than any intellectual prowess. Needless to say, I’ve been busier than normal (which is the reason I haven’t been getting around to all the blogs in my regular rotation as much as I normally do. Please forgive me.).

One of the interesting exercises we engaged in on our first day was breaking into groups to discuss our worst teachers. Like most of the people clustered nearby, the bunch I was with chuckled over the anecdotes from our classroom days. Most of the stories were of teachers who couldn’t control their classrooms, didn’t know the material or expected the students to teach themselves from the textbook, while offering little if any guidance. I’ve had a few like these myself, but when it came time to share, there was no doubt as to who left a scar in my educational experience, Mrs. Bowler.

Mrs. Bowler was my second-grade teacher, and easily the cruelest human being I’ve ever been around, which was only compounded by the fact the woman was hideously ugly. At the time I was her student, Mrs. Bowler was in her early 40’s and wore thick glasses with unusually large rims and tinted lenses. The most prominent feature on her pruned face was a lower jaw that jutted forward causing her lower teeth to stick out farther than the upper ones in an under-bite reminiscent of menacing piranha. Whether by design or out of a lack of good sense, Mrs. Bowler highlighted her threatening mandibles with a thick coat of lipstick in one of two colors, a deep purplish red, and a shade of orange worn for safety reasons by hunters and construction workers. As if this weren’t bad enough, her signature look was further reinforced by a head of frizzy black hair that looked like a cross between an afro and a Chia Pet wearing a sweater. Frankly, the woman could scare hungry buzzards off a wagon full of meat in the desert. I realize it’s unfair to judge someone based on such shallow criterion, but Mrs. Bowler’s countenance quickly set the tone for her mean spiritedness.

Her voice was a high-pitched whine infused with a sneering nastiness that told you she was keenly aware of the pain she was capable of inflicting.

There’s little I can remember from my time in second-grade, the parties for holidays, art projects made for my parents, or afternoons playing at recess. Fear, I suppose, tends to choke out childhood frivolity as a subconscious means of survival. What I do remember, however, is the boy Mrs. Bowler made sit in the boiler room adjoining the class where he did his lessons for most of the year, and the girl sitting up front who Mrs. Bowler referred to only as “Ms. Stupid,” rather than her real name. It’s also hard to forget the terror in watching Mrs. Bowler grab the shy girl who sat next to me by the hair and then shaking her head back and forth the way a dog would when thrashing a chew toy.

Thankfully I managed to somehow avoid any direct confrontations with Mrs. Bowler, that was, until the last day of school.“So, Ronnie,” she said looking up from next year’s student roster. Her voice was a high-pitched whine infused with a sneering nastiness that told you she was keenly aware of the pain she was capable of inflicting. “Looks like you’re not joining us next year?” This was true. My parents had decided to send me to a church school in town, and even though the new school thought it best I repeat the second grade, – a fact I directly attribute to Mrs. Bowler’s teaching abilities – there was exhilarating sense of escape in knowing I would never again occupy the same building as this evil woman. Still, there was another part of me that worried she possessed the power to keep me from leaving. It was like finishing a prison sentence for a crime never committed, but having to face the jail’s sadistic warden one last time before your release, bringing with it a skepticism that shackles any vision of freedom. And even after passing through the gate to the other side of those confining walls, you still feel too afraid to look back knowing by some unexplainable instinct, such cruelty can extend beyond any barricade or border.

My heart pounded, trapped inside my throat, but I still managed to choke out, “Yes, ma’am,” a few seconds before the dismissal bell rang. That was the last time I saw Mrs. Bowler just before bolting from her classroom. I didn’t feel safe again until the first day at my new school where my second, second-grade teacher, Ms. C., turned out to be everything a child hopes for as a student.

I knew how wrong it was of me to withhold the compassion such a mean, old bitch probably never received, but I didn’t care.

Fate, however, seems to have a quirky sense of justice that it administers by unconventional means and at the discretion of its own amusement. Fifteen years after my dash to freedom, during a visit home while on leave from the Army, I turned on the television one morning to catch the weather. There on the local news was a breaking story about an apartment fire that had just broken out, and the anchorman was announcing they would be going live to the scene where residents were standing by with their eyewitness accounts. On cue the camera flipped to the field correspondent who provided some updates to the situation before turning to conduct his first interview. The camera shot widened, and there she was, Mrs. Bowler, wrapped up in a thin blanket that covered her rumpled pajamas.She still wore the huge glasses, her hair was just as frizzy and the smudged orange lipstick indicated she had gone to bed without cleaning it off. It was as if she had never changed, which only confirmed my suspicion that Mrs. Bowler probably taught multiplication tables to Satan himself.

The complex that was blazing behind her was her home, and when my mother added that Mrs. Bowler had gotten divorced, I wanted to feel sorry for her. I wanted to believe that she really wasn’t a mean person at all, but a victim who only acted the way she did because someone had stuffed her in a closet, or called her stupid, or grabbed the back of her hair. It had been years and I had literally put half the world behind me since then, but even so, I couldn’t find one iota of sympathy for Mrs. Bowler’s lot in life. I knew how wrong it was of me to withhold the compassion such a mean, old bitch probably never received, but I didn’t care. Watching her on the TV, the only thing I could see was that shy girl, her head bowed as she tried to stifle the quiet sobs, and the blurred pencil marks on her math worksheet caused by the huge teardrops falling from her eyes. 


More Fridge Art

From time to time I like to post the kids' masterpieces on our virtual refrigerator to show off like only parents can do. It's a well-known fact that me and my boys are classic Star Wars geeks, but in recent months I've managed to make a new convert to the dark side - Allie. After watching a few of the movies, she's been almost obsessed with all thing Star Wars. Admittedly, it's touching to see her shun Barbie and Ken dolls, favoring instead Padme and Anakin Skywalker. When we go to the toy store, the first item Allie picks up is a light saber, and during drives she peppers me with questions like, "Does Darth Vader still think about Pademe when he's choking people?" Of course, I'm thrilled about her new found interest, and freely encourage it, drawing the line only at her wanting to wear the famous Princess Leia bikini.

What does this have to do with IceBox Art? At school her first-grade class is afforded time to write stories, and Allie has been coming home with an on-going series of her own fan fiction about the galactic saga, which includes hand-drawn illustrations of the characters and scenarios. They are just too good not to share...

Among her fascinations, light sabers hold a special place

She nailed this likeness of RD-D2 ( she spelled it out) like Luke Skywalker did wamprats on his home planet.

Yes, the Force is strong with this one.


He Said... She Said... It's A Blog Off

It's Monday and I'm already cheating on the posts for this week. You'll have to forgive me, but I will be spilling on more of the details in the very near future as to my "slackerd-ness". In the mean time, I am very excited about a possible opportunity to work with fellow blogger and one very adorable lady, Petra of The Wise (Young) Mommy. I say "possible" because this week she is holding try-outs for a weekly series HeBlog / SheBlog where readers and fans submit questions to be answered from the perspective of both a woman and a man. It's a very fun concept, and I would be remiss if I didn't mention her original co-creator, the incredibly likable and talented blogger Jim "The Heinous" one of Irregularly Periodic Ruminations who is on a blog hiatus for the time being.

Besides thanking Petra for the chance to be a part of HeBlog / SheBlog, I would also like to introduce my fellow entrants who are all a bunch of talented writers with a massive fan base to prove it. They are:

Christopher from Cajoh (entry post on Monday, February 9th)
And the very splendid Irish Gumbo (entry post on Monday, February 9th)

Joe from Crotchety Old Man Yells At Cars (entry post on Tuesday, February 10th)
IB from Idiot’s Stew (entry post on Tuesday, February 10th)

Chad ‘Captain Dumbass’ from Us and Them (entry post on Wednesday, February 11th)
Matt from DC Urban Dad (entry post on Wednesday, February 11th)

Ryan at Pacing the Panic Room (entry post on Thursday, February 12th)

I will be joining Ryan with my entry on Thursday, February 12th (which makes me nervous given how superb of a writer Ryan is)

As you can see, each of us will have our day for readers to review our answers and then vote in the form of an email to Petra (it's secret ballet people READ HERE for details).

Even though I am not supposed to show up for a few days, out of fairness, I wanted to make everyone that reads the Lunchbox aware so they can go to The Wise (Young) Mommy this week and add their two cents. Of course I hope that you will vote for me, but whoever is chosen as the winner Petra will have a quality partner to work with. And with that...

... it's a Blog Off!


Laid Off? Unemployed? We Still Love You.

This post is more of a public service announcement of sorts and if you can help out by passing it along to anyone you might think of that might be interested it would be greatly appreciated. Basically, Irish Gumbo and I are teaming up to collect information for an idea that has some real merit to it. There definitely is some benefit to anyone who eventually becomes involved, but we can't say just yet until we see what kind of response there is to it.

This little blurb is being posted to as many places as we can think of right now and your help on getting the word out would be a huge help.

"Are you a father recently been laid off because of the economic downturn?If you are among the growing number of men who fall into this category, then we would like to hear from you as a possible contributor to a potential project.

For more details please email either Clark Kent's Lunchbox (clarksdouble (at) gmail (dot)com or Irish Gumbo kms8gumbo(at)gmail (dot)com

As part of your inquiry, please provide a short description (less than 400 words) of your background, (previous occupation, family size, marital status, etc), and your personal feelings on your current circumstances within the body of your email. Please do not send attachments.

Should you already have a personal blog or website, please include the URL or link as well.

Thank you for your interest. We hope to hear from you soon."

Thanks all.


Death Wish

My wife, it seems has a death wish. It's unclear to me whether she is a fatalist, an overly anxious pessimist, or if she harbors a quiet, yet insatiable need for attention. Quite honestly, it wouldn't be out of the question for her fascination to be an equal combination of all three. In any case, she continually manages to find new abnormal circumstances sure to be responsible for her demise. Understand, her theories are far beyond that of a mundane car accident or place crash, but contain, instead a consistent element of dramatic rarity supported by meticulous research intended to make her audience doubt their own misgivings as they listen to my wife's point-by-point assertions.

Not that her little quirk is an annoyance to me, as she has convinced me on several occasions of the legitimacy behind a few of her hunches, and because she's my wife, it's hard for me to accuse her of crying wolf. Who wants to be the grieving husband haunted by his deceased spouse's eternal nagging, "And you thought I was so full of shit. Look who's laughing now, Mr. Know-it-all?" Still, I'd like to thank the bevy of Television medical dramas (Grey's Anatomy excluded), as well as the efficiency of the Google search function for the quasi PHD my wife now holds in the field of medicine. 

. . .a death that allows adequate time to bask in the sympathy from others, while at the same time being devoid of pain. . .

From before I knew her, my wife has often speculated on having contracted a number of obscure diseases and disorders, which she has since dismissed after crossing off various signs and symptoms that were no longer consistently present in her goings to and fro. More recent dismissals have included Waaler Aarskog syndrome, Quinquaud's decalvans folliculitis and Pachydermoperiostosis, leaving Huntington's disease and brain aneurysm to remain as strong front-runners. Given that my wife's father may have had Huntington's and that her mother survived an aneurysm, coupled with the strong hereditary nature common to both afflictions, I remain alert. 

Were I in my wife's shoes, the numerous precautions and warning signs involved in monitoring these legitimate health risks would be more than enough to keep my mind preoccupied. Apparently she feels differently, continually exploring more and more potential culprits in a quest for the perfect means by which to leave this world. Specifically, this would mean a death that allows adequate time to bask in the sympathy from others, while at the same time being devoid of pain, complicated treatments or any potential for survival. A beheading for example, would be way too quick, but at the same time, the plague is so excruciating the agony would overshadow her capcity to enjoy the adulation of grieving well-wishers, and that's not to mention it's easily curable.    

The other day she swiveled around in the desk chair to greet me as I walked into the room. "I think I have hypothyroidism," she announced as if winning a coupon good for a sizable discount at her favorite shoe store. Behind her, on the computer screen, were the results of an Internet query, which she noticed me glancing at. "I runs in my family."

"Geez, woman. What doesn't run in your family?" It's true, sometimes they seemed to be the prefect candidates for a library full of cases studies conducted by experts in a wide-range of specialties.

She responded by squinting her eyes mockingly as if to say ha ha, very funny. "Oh ya? Well it explains the tiredness, weight-gain, snoring..."

There were more symptoms, but I can never remember more than three. There's no real point in doing so since anytime one of them is mentioned, my wife is quick to recite the details tying the symptom in question to the diagnoses in a manner not unlike medical interns proving their proficiency to the attending as they make their daily rounds. Upon the conclusion of these impromptu sessions, my wife will then repeat the story of how she astonished doctors by identifying the viral infection behind her daughter's illness. 

"It has all the drama associated with the connotation of a brain tumor, but with better odds of survival."

The hint of skepticism that somehow seeped through in my reaction to her self-assessed hypothyroidism apparently warranted the need for my wife to up the stakes somewhat. "I was doing a bit of reading today," she said as we were riding in the van, "and I have a brain tumor."

This time, I couldn't help but roll my eyes. "The other day it was your thyroid, and now you have a tumor?"

"Ya, the two are related." Naturally a full dissertation followed, and when she came to the point explaining how this particular tumor is classified as a brain tumor, their was a hint of glee that coated those two words. Brain tumor. My suspicion was confirmed as she mentioned how this particular growth is usually benign and easy to remove. "It has all the drama associated with the connotation of a brain tumor, but with better odds of survival." She seemed quite proud to have been "chosen" for such and honor. So sure was she of herself that she dialed a doctor right then and there. Admittedly, her confidence in the matter had me legitimately concerned for her health, but it was tempered with a calmness watching my wife rehearse how she would break the news to friends and family once the diagnosis was official. To date, my wife has yet to meet with the doctor. In the meantime, however, she has found new discoveries sure to kill her.

The other night as we watched TV, an astronomer was being interviewed about a book recently written concerning the outer space (see video in the sidebar). During the talk, he alluded to an asteroid currently being tracked, that will narrowly miss our planet roughly 27 years from now. Interestingly, it seems that this initial pass by us is only a precursor as to whether this same chuck of rock will actually impact earth the very following year.

Upon hearing of this potential catastrophe, my wife sat straight up. "Wait," she said after counting on her fingers, "That means I'll be 59 and you'll be..." She ticked through her fingers again, "65. We could still be alive."

"Maybe," I said already knowing where this was going with this. Sure enough, as if the Google god himself had called to her in a booming voice from a burning laptop in the wilderness, my wife rose up from the couch to answer the call, searching for more details concerning the future demise of humanity.

"I wonder if there's a countdown clock for that thing somewhere," she said between clicking through 756,668 search results.

I raised one eyebrow."Honey, do you think we could get past the tumors, aneurysms, and my sanity before worrying about a killer asteroid?" But she didn't hear me. She was already figuring out how she planned on telling everyone goodbye.         


Ninja At A Drug Store

This weekend, I thought it would be a nice treat to surprise "Lois" with a little breakfast when she woke up. Normally I would whip something up, blueberry muffins, cinnamon pancakes, French toast - something easy. However, seen as how we had practically nothing in the cupboards for ingredients, a trip to Dunkin' Donuts seemed in order. 

Ok, ya, I know everyone's read about my love of Boston Cremes, so maybe Dunkin' Donuts was a little self-serving, but whatever. "Lois" was going to get sustenance without lifting a finger. In Houston, the 4th largest metropolis in the United States, there are a grand total of four Dunkin' Donuts, five if you count the one still listed on the company's web page, but has been closed long enough for large vines to have encased the building like a plane that crashed in a jungle 40 or 50 years ago. The limited number of locations is a sharp contrast to Chicago, where there were at least four Dunkin' Donuts within a three-block radius of my flat. One more reason I need to get back there. I digress. 

Point being, I had to drive a ways to get those Boston Cremes (and no George sightings either), which took too long and "Lois" woke up wondering where I had gone. As I was crawling into the good-ol' minivan she called. 

"Hey, where are you? I miss you."

"Aw, you're too cute. I miss you. Just headed out to get us some Dunkin' Donuts."

"Yay! Did you grab any Diet Coke?"

Dummy me. I should've remembered how she can't function in the morning without that crap. "Sure, honey. No problem. Be home in about 5 minutes." Thinking for a moment, I figured the quickest place to get a case would probably be a drug store on the way back. There's a CVS just a few lights down from our place that would work, and being fairly early, it only seemed logical that the place wouldn't be too busy. This assumption proved correct with only one lady at the check-out counter. 

It took about 30 seconds to grab a case and walk to the counter where the same lady was still having her items rung up. No biggie; she had a bunch of stuff in her cart, like a week's worth of unhealthy groceries that could give an elephant a heart attack, along with miscellaneous junk that always makes you wonder, who buys this crap? Apparently, this lady did. Whatever, who am I to judge. 

I heard the cashier announce the total, $85.98 and watched the junk lady pull out four $20 bills. Then it dawned on junk day that's not enough to cover the remaining $5.98 and asked if a check would be OK. I also noticed several novelty pens - Jonas Brothers ones no less - amongst her booty haul. They were worth $6 bucks total with tax.

Junk lady goes to write the check, and screwed it up. At this point I've been in line roughly 5 minutes, because on top of all this, she moves pretty slow. Like molasses in January as my mother always said. 

Put the pens back lady. I'm thinking. Who needs pens adorned with teeny boppers.

Junk lady started up with check number 2 - the last in the book I overheard her mention as she listed her address, phone number, and driver's license number. Don't banks pre-print this stuff for you? Oh wait, she forgot the number and dug in her purse, and dug, and dug. Digging like a rat through garbage or better, a cat in kitty litter. 

Why not just forget the pens? 

She's was still digging. Then she dumped the contents of her purse onto the counter most of which spilled onto the floor. 15 minutes and counting. Junk lady decided to abandon the search for the license, pulling out a credit card, but not before she stuffed everything back into her bag in a thoughtful manner as if she were a librarian returning books to their rightful location on a shelf.

The PENS lady. Your therapist just called and said to let it go

Mind you, the checkout line was now so long it looked like starving refugees lining up for a ration of rice handed out by aid workers. Not once did it occur to junk lady to maybe apologize as a polite courtesy, of course she also seemed to have a serious hard on for the irresistible combination of the Jonas Brothers and writing utensils, so common sense probably escaped her grasp. The cashier, God bless her, was as friendly as she could be, but as she examined the credit card she also informed oblivious-junk-glacier lady that she would need to provide a photo ID.

THE PEEEEEEEEEEEEEENS!!! The mother Smurfin' PEN! Before I grab them and jam them into my own eyeball.

Oblivious-junk-glacier lady started to dump her purse again before the girl at the register smartly said never mind and ran the card. With everything I just witnessed, it wasn't out the question that the card would be denied. Surprisingly it was approved. Everyone almost cheered when oblivious-junk-glacier lady (slowly) exited the store. 20 minutes of my life wasted.

Setting my the Diet Coke on the counter, I commented, "This will be a pretty simple transaction, Miss. One item and I have various means by which to pay - all of them swiftly."

The check-out girl chuckled. 

Eleven years of the hurry-up-and wait lifestyle in the Army taught me great patience in almost any situation except when at a drug store while holding a case of pop and standing in line behind oblivious-junk-glacier lady. A few minutes more and I was about to turn those stupid flipping pens into nunchucks and unleash some mad ninja skills on her. I'm a nice guy, but I have my moments.

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