The words over at Three Word Wednesday are cleanse, knead and melt.
She’s Working the Express Lane
He grips the black plastic basket, even though it’s already on the rubber conveyor belt in the 15 Items Or Less lane complete with a couple of those gray rubber bars to mark where your purchases begin and end; the stranglehold he keeps on the folding plastic handles is a defense in case someone behind him in line counts up his items and tattles. In that case, he can just bolt, make a small apology and queue up in a regular line with some light damage control.
He’s way over the 15 Items Or Less suggestion. There’s a gallon of 2 percent milk, a loaf of artisan bread, the bacon-flavored dog treats, six apples (he’s never sure where produce fits, is a bag one item, or is each apple an item?), grape tomatoes (two packages for $3.99), butter lettuce, bananas, olive oil, a half-pound of the honey-glazed deli ham (on sale for $4.99 a pound), a box of maple-flavored granola and the energy bars.
He’s totally sweating the energy bars; three for $1.98, there were four flavors to choose from. He picked up 12.
That takes him way over 15 Items Or Less quota and he shifts his gaze, tries not to look suspicious.
She’s got her bowtie cocked suggestively, like she always does, and a lock of golden-brown hair hangs over her right eye, which she is forever trying to tuck behind her ear. Her white shirt is crisp as always, and he blushes as he traces the delicate lacy bra underneath. The heavy brush of eyeliner, he thinks, makes her blue eyes even more brilliant.
She meets his gaze and smiles. He melts, a little.
She greets him by name, although he wishes she’s drop the Mr. Debow and just call him Mike, as he calls her Lana, which is what the red plastic nametag says on her black apron.
She’s good at small talk, asks if he’s tried the energy bars he’s loaded up on; he fumbles and says something stupid about being on sale and something about being a good thing he can keep in his desk drawer at work.
Money exchanged, she informs him that he’s saved $4.67 on this trip and did he need help out?
“I’ve got it, Lana, thanks just the same” and kneads the white plastic handles of the grocery sacks for a better grip and moves toward the exit.
“Well, you have a great day, you hear,” she says, already beginning to ring up the next customer.
And he’s buoyed by this and remembers that he’s totally forgotten the powdered cleanser, the one item the wife reminded him to pick up – by text and voicemail – on his way home.
And he’s already practicing the conversation he'd like to have with her, in the 15 Items Or Less line, in just a few minutes.