Did I Make a Good Deal, or What?


What a day I had yesterday. You probably read about part of it on this blog, but let me tell you about the part you missed out on. It’s definitely something I was glad not to miss. (Sorry, Jerry. No pictures to this post. My guess is that you’ll have plenty of them streaming through your brain before you get to the end.)

Let me refresh your memory. I rolled out of bed yesterday morning to icicles hanging from my beard. You remember the beard, right? Okay, maybe it wasn’t that cold, but it was cold enough to make me move faster than a ten year old who just stole a dimes worth of candy. That’s not a very good analogy, is it? It was 39 degrees at 5:30. How’s that? It was cold enough to have me yelling at the coffee to hurry up and brew itself. That didn’t work, but I think the expenditure of energy helped warm things up a bit while I waited for the furnace to do its job and the caffeine prepare itself for consumption.

In the confusion that surrounded my frozen brain, and the work of writing about moving to Matamoros I forgot to take anything out of the freezer for dinner. It probably wouldn’t have thawed out anyway, but I should have tried. I wanted to celebrate the fact that I accomplished something for a change. Not much, but it was something.

Not far from where I currently call home is the town of Alamo, and just beyond that is Ash Springs. The store in Alamo does not sell alcohol, but has everything else I needed for the party I was throwing for myself, to include some pretty good deals on meat begging to be barbecued. The store in Ash Springs has the beer, but not the meat. That meant I was going to make two stops to get everything. That was almost more work than what I accomplished in the morning. But, if I wanted to surprise myself, I was going to have to knuckle down and get it done.

It’s the first stop in Ash Springs I want to write about. Ash Springs is what I’d label a “poke and plumb” town. You know. The town is so small you poke your head out the window and you’re plumb out of town. But, there’s a gas station there with decent prices, and a small store that sells cold beer—probably other alcoholic beverages, but I was after beer so I didn’t pay much attention to anything else.

If you remember correctly from the photo I posted yesterday, I was attired in a pullover fleece hoodie, green camouflage in design and color. I walked into the store and quickly found what I was looking for—a six pack of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. When I made my way to the counter the clerk asked me if I was having any luck…here, let me give you a loose synopsis of our conversation.

“Are you having any luck hunting?” the clerk asked me.

My reply was that I am not a hunter.

“Oh, with what you’re wearing I figured you were a hunter.” She pointed at the camouflage fleece I was wearing.

“No. I wear this to hide from my ex-wives. I’ve got three of them in Texas, and rumor has it that one of them is on her way here. I’m trying to stay hidden. It won’t be pretty if she finds me.”

At that point the clerk had no idea what to say, but the guy behind me in line did. “I need one of them. I’ve got five ex-wives, and two of them are right here in town.”

Did I mention that Ash Springs is a poke and plumb town? That old boy has his work cut out for him if he wants to stay hidden.

I looked at him and said, “Sounds to me like you need a shotgun.”

“Got one of them. I’d rather not use it, though. I’ll give you five dollars for that hoodie.”

“It’s worth more than that. I’ll tell you what. You spring for the beer and it’s all yours.”

He looked at the clerk, who stood there with wide eyes and mouth hanging open, and said, “Put the beer on my tab.”

As I was removing my old, faded hoodie the guy elbowed his way past me to the counter. He put a quart of milk and loaf of bread next to the six pack of beer and handed the clerk a twenty.

While the speechless store employee was bagging his groceries the man was pulling his new hoodie over his head. About that time there was a loud screech from the direction of the door on the other side of the store.

“I’ve been looking all over town for you, you son-of-a-bitch.” The three of us, me, the clerk, and the little man (did I mention he stood about 5’5 and maybe weighed 110 pounds?) dressed in a camouflage hoodie that hung loosely on his bony frame all turned to look in the direction of the commotion coming our way.

What I saw scared hell out of me. Coming at us like a fast moving thunderstorm was a very large woman dressed in a pink moo-moo. She was huffing and puffing like a freight train, picking up speed.

“Oh, oh. Gotta go.”

“Sir, you’re change.”

“Keep it.” My newfound friend grabbed his sack of groceries and plowed his was to the door. About six steps behind him was a very angry woman. I assumed it was one of his ex-wives. If she wasn’t, he’s in deep doo-doo.

The clerk looked at me and said, “I guess the camouflage doesn’t work.”

“Not inside a building it doesn’t. Anyway I didn’t have the heart to tell him that it’s probably not the right color of camouflage for a desert environment. He’ll get that figured out soon enough.”

I walked out to Old Gray, my Jeep, in time to see the pink moo-moo chasing an older model blue Ford pickup through the parking lot, past the gas pumps. She was losing ground quickly, but stopped long enough to grab the quart of milk that had fallen from the ripped plastic bag and throw it in the direction to the speeding vehicle. It splashed to the ground well short of its intended target. The loaf of white bread had fallen victim to a fate worse than that. It appeared to have fallen under the tires of the pickup and laid there, in the parking lot, smashed flatter than a pancake hot off the griddle.

For twenty dollars that man got a hoodie I paid ten dollars for at the Cabella’s in Buda, TX six years ago. What a deal. Did I do good, or what? I got a show better than a sitcom on TV, and a six pack beer. All for an aging hoodie. Can’t say much for the guy who bought my beer for me, though. If all his ex-wives are like the one that almost got her hands on him, he’d better stay on the go.

As I was driving home a disturbing thought hit me. Suppose that was a jilted girlfriend, and not an ex-wife. Damn. He might be in some serious trouble.

Good night, Mrs. Jackson, wherever you are.