One Bite at a Time




Sunday, November 29, 2009

One Stop Shopping

Patti Abbott has issued another flash fiction challenge. This time the theme is, "Wal-Mart, I Love You." Links to all the stories can be found on Patti's blog.

My contribution is called, "One Stop Shopping."

Enid didn’t have enough make-up to hide the mouse under her eye. She had make-up, just not the kind she liked for the job. She daubed on her second choice, decided it was good enough. This was her day off. Shopping day. Wal-Mart would have more.

Enid loved Wal-Mart. Everything she needed was there. Said hello to Dean, the greeter. Retired fireman, Korean War vet, always pretended to flirt with her. She knew he saw the bruise. His eyes flickered, and he licked his lips like he might say something. Enid went on before he’d feel like he had to.

Got the make-up first, so she wouldn’t forget. She felt underdressed with Plan B on her face, knew it didn’t cover as well, and no one could mistake what was under her eye for anything but what it was. Jimbo’s miscalculation. He rarely hit her where it showed.

She picked up shampoo, coloring, and conditioner. New rubber gloves. She definitely needed Epsom salts. Put back her regular bubble bath, got the more expensive stuff. Went into the grocery section for Jimbo’s steak. He told her on his way out that morning, after the shit she pulled last night she might as well throw herself down the stairs this time if she didn’t have one for his supper, save him the trouble. Picked the baking potatoes individual, didn’t just buy the bag. Real sour cream. Bacon bits. Went back into the general merchandise part of the store for a couple of other things she needed. Jolene Starling checked her out, commented on how nice her blouse looked. Jolene was a sweetheart.

Enid got the potatoes in the oven and made a green salad with the Eye-talian dressing Jimbo liked. Lit the hibachi behind the house in time for his steak to be ready for his first beer. Cut in to make sure it was done enough as the front door opened.

Jimbo smelled the steak and kept whatever he almost said to himself. Enid got him a beer, set it on the table. Neither talked while they ate. She cleared the table after they finished; Jimbo went into the living room to watch SportsCenter with his second beer.

Enid washed the dishes, put everything away. Cleaned the grill. Sat on the back steps and smoked a cigarette while it got dark. Jimbo was snoring when she came back into the house, the beer can balanced on the arm of his chair, that guy who did all that yelling about college basketball on the television. She walked in front of the TV to pick up a magazine and got no notice from Jimbo. Went back into the kitchen and opened her large parcel from Wal-Mart. Then she went back into living room, placed the muzzle of the Winchester 12 gauge shotgun three inches from Jimbo’s right ear and blew the bastard’s head all over the wall. Almost dislocated her shoulder when it went off. Jacked in another round and shoved the muzzle inside his collarbone and shot him again. Practically blew what was left of him apart, knocked the shotgun clean out of her hands.

She went into the bathroom and shut the door. Ran the bath with plenty of bubbles and salts, water as hot as she could bear it. Slid herself into the tub and felt the hot water take hold of her. Didn’t bother washing. Sat in the tub, let the water soak into her and waited for the sirens.

14 comments:

Mike Dennis said...

Good one, Dana. The moral to that story is, don't beat up your wife if you also happen to own a shotgun.

Gerald So said...

Ah, Wal*Mart. They have everything. :)

Kathleen A. Ryan said...

Well, he chose his "last meal" and didn't know it. Very nicely done, Dana. Walmart did have everything she needed!

pattinase (abbott) said...

I wonder how many women are walking through Walmart looking like Enid. More than a few. Really just rewards for Jimbo. I just need her to get off. Thanks, Dana.

John McFetridge said...

Great work, Dana. Her, "large parcel from Wal-Mart," may become a euphemism.

I also really like how Jolene checked her through and only commented on the blouse.

Steve Weddle said...

Nice how she gets the good bubble bath because it's going to be a night to enjoy. Cool story.

Evan Lewis said...

Nice, nice, nice.

sandra seamans said...

Wow! Great story, Dana! I love how you unfolded the backstory through the present story without missing a beat.

danielboshea said...

Me likey. Very nice.

Dorte H said...

One month ago I´d hardly heard about Walmart. Story by story, I feel myself growing very walmart-wise!

Enid is one great character. Thumbs up for her.

Jay Stringer said...

really good story, like the attention to a few small details that sell it.

Cormac Brown said...

I love the little details that give fiction the realism that it should have...

"Jimbo was snoring when she came back into the house, the beer can balanced on the arm of his chair, that guy who did all that yelling about college basketball on the television."

I had a feeling this was venturing into last meal territory and you did a wonderful job of guiding us there.

Alan Griffiths said...

Great story Dana - really good, smooth writing. Very well done!

pattinase (abbott) said...

Dana-Can you send me your email address at aa2579@wayne.edu
Thanks.