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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