There’s a reason I need to take naps every day. Driving home from scouts this evening, I told my son, ” The sunset is phenomenal. Does that cloud look like an angry cash slot? I’m so sad that it’s getting late earlier and earlier.“
“You mean it’s getting dark earlier and earlier,” he corrected smugly, which earned him a jab in the ribs for being a smartacus.
I was still reeling from my experience at Walmart an hour prior. One just never knows what’ll happen at Walmart. I made it to the check-stand after picking up a handful of items I needed. I like self-checking. I hold my item this way and that, and I’m rewarded with the familiar beep before I bag it. When my shopping cart was empty, I pulled my credit card from my wallet. I looked around the checking contraption which looks like an arcade toy, circus-like noises and lights to boot. I slid my card into one of the flashing slots, its landing lights showing me exactly where to go. I would have graduated the University of Walmart with flying colors.
No sooner did my card dock, than I realized it was in the cash slot. ‘Shoot!’ I thought. I reached out to grab it and the arcade monster sucked it in spitefully before I could stop it. Said machine started to grind and sputter. The light on the top started flickering and calling a code. A pregnant woman on aisle 9 passed out. ‘Shoot, shoot!’ I said, breaking into a cold sweat.
The attendant manning the self-check area came running. He was young enough to be my grandson.
“I accidentally put my card in the cash slot,” I said, pointing to the offending opening. It licked its lips in mockery, then heaved for dramatic effect and threatened to hurl.
“Oh freak! Not the cash slot,” Josh gasped. His hand hit his forehead to help him assess the situation. “Oh freaking grand!” His calculations showed it wasn’t good.
“Oh shoot,” I added helpfully.
He took off in a dead panic towards customer service. Two steps later he spun around and crashed into the gum display. “This isn’t good,” he was saying, both hands now on his head. He lurched to a stop 2 aisles down as though there was an electric fence that he’d had a previous personal encounter with. He stuck his head this way and that, up and over the electric fence, muttering in his panic. He was trying to get someone’s attention but they were way over there. Obviously, the only thing worse than my felony was for him to leave his station unmanned.
“Can I go get someone?” I offered.
“Yes, quickly. Go over there and call Kayla,” he was hyperventilating. A massive blood vessel was pulsating on his temple.
‘Now what have I done?’ I said to myself, taking off in a sprint towards customer service. As soon as I got there, I heard him yelling, “Kayla, Kayla!”
I spun around and saw a bright yellow vest approaching him from the opposite direction. He waved me down and I darted back their way, my heart in my mouth. Now I’d done it.
I found him trying to find words to convey to Kayla, “This…” he threw his exasperated hands in my direction, “this… lady… oh my God, … she accidentally, oh freak!” A voice-crack escaped his frantic mouth, and the machine belched fire.
I stepped up to help him, expecting her to pull out her wooden yard stick and rap my fingers or chase me around the store beating me with it. (Parents, don’t send your children to Catholic school.)
I gulped. “I put my credit card in the cash slot.” This was not how I’d envisioned the end but I stepped forward bravely, closed my eyes, and tilted my head so she could slice it off with her yardstick. The machine ground the card to shreds and started to smoke and shake like a pot-bellied stove.
She pulled out the biggest pile of keys from her back pocket as she clicked the piercings in her lips. She has 3 on the top lip and 2 on the bottom.
“Let’s see here,” she muttered, opening the crocodiles mouth with a tiny key. Nothing there. She slammed that shut and opened another panel, lined with circuit boards and more lights. Nothing.
“Oh no,” said voice-crack. “This can’t be good.”
Kayla slammed that shut with a shu-shunk, and opened a third compartment. There minding its own little business, sat my credit card like a polite Catholic school girl.
“Oh thank you Jesus! Thank you Kayla!” I exclaimed and almost hugged her. “No problem,” she smiled and waved at someone else who was yelling her name across the store. Who knows what another idiot customer had done.
“Oh, oh, oh man,” said Josh, clutching his chest and holding onto the check stand for much needed support. “Wow, that could have been really, really bad!”
Kayla pushed the “I solved the problem” button and the arcade machine started playing circus music and blowing bubbles for all the happy children. I swallowed my heart back into its spot, grabbed my bags, and handed one to Josh to breath into.
Amazing sunset today. Kinda looks like a monster card-eating cash-slot, eye and all.