“Ooh, look. Beans are on sale.” I turned to show her the cans of pinto beans that had gone on Special that week, but she was already shimmying and gyrating down the isle to the music coming from speakers overhead. “Hey. Did you not want to get in on this?”
She stopped dancing and turned around, mouthing the words, “‘It was the heeeeeat of the moment!’ What? You know you love Asia.” She resumed her dance party and continued pushing the mini cart down the isle toward the dairy and meat sections at the back of the store.
I put the pinto beans back and followed after her, passing another customer who stood watching us, her mouth slightly agape, a can of pears forgotten in her hand.
Catching up with her in front of the bacon, I said suddenly, “Jesus, when did bacon get so expensive?” Picking up a packet of thick, slabby bacon crusted with pepper, I asked, “Is it made with gold?”
“Probably, Drama Monger.” She said, pawing through the off-brand packs of cold cuts mounded in the cooler chest below the bacon.
“Drama Monger? Did the bacon tell you that?” I asked, watching her examine a packet labelled “Turkey” that looked more like ham. I tossed the bacon into the cart.
“Hey, watch where you lob your meat. My bargain avocado is fragile.” She shot over her shoulder. “And no, the bacon didn’t squeal on you. I have a sarcastic Magic 8 Ball in my back pocket.”
“And where did it receive this intelligence?” I queried following her as she wheeled the cart toward the dairy case.
“Oh. Sources.” She paused in front of the cheese. “Good god, will you look at the price of cheddar!”
I waved a suspiciously generic package at her, “You could always buy some of this.” I smirked. “It says ‘genuine processed cheese food product.’ It may even be made of real food.”
“You just keep your food product away from me and my sandwiches.” She dragged the cart away, by the front grate, and one of the wheels squealed in protest.
“Sandwiches? Made with real bacon?” I asked, not following.
“Nope. Made with sarcasm. Fresh, daily.”
“What if I wanted aged sarcasm?”
“You have to go to a special store for that. We don’t stock that here.” She continued to stalk the cheese looking for a clearance tag on the Cabbot cheddar. “Guess what?”
“What?” I asked, looking at the yogurt a few feet from where she stood.
“I bless the rains down in Africa.” She responded dryly, in time with the song now ringing tinnily through the empty, late-night store.
“Oh?” I picked up some plain yogurt. “Are the wild dogs longing for some solitary company?”
“Yeah…it’s kind of their thing.” She said, never missing a beat. “I bet Rosie has redistributed all the water in her dish by now. Using only her ears.”
“So what did your 8 Ball say?” I asked, returning to the original topic of conversation.
“That your honesty is refreshing until it becomes inconvenient, and then it’s drama. Because people don’t like it when you tell them the truth they don’t want to hear. Drama Monger. Ooh,” She fished a wedge of blue cheese from the refrigerated bin. “I have a coupon for this and it’s marked down from six bucks. Twenty-nine cent cheese, yeah buddy.” She put it in the cart.
“Your 8 Ball hurt my feelings. I may cry.” I said, with a deadpan expression.
“There’s no crying in baseball.”
“Yes, but there’s plenty of sarcasm. And also, sale cheese.”
“Fresh, daily.” She wheeled the cart back towards the beans and rice isle. “You’ll never have to worry about running out.”