I was in a bad mood the other day, so Husband sent me out of the house to get some fresh air and a gallon of milk. In one of the aisles of the grocery store, I saw a little boy sitting in a shopping cart.
He stared at me.
I smiled brightly and waved.
He held up a package of wooden spoons.
I made expressions indicating I approved of his treasure.
I was charmed!
He was still winking when he made a sort of clicking noise with his mouth. Then I heard a tremendous explosion, masterfully improvised, as he fired his makeshift weapon at my face.
My eyes went from soft, wide doe-eyes to the razor-thin slits of an angry snake as I registered the betrayal.
He appraised me with a look of smug victory.
I was suddenly filled with white-hot rage. My muscles began twitching under my poofy winter coat. A feeling of suffocating tightness came over me as I realized my body was expanding at an alarming rate. The seams of my coat burst. The fabric shredded all around me to reveal skin that was now a sickening shade of green. I had the sudden urge to rip those wooden spoons out of his hand and snap them over my muscular knee. I wanted to grab his Hostess cupcakes out of the carriage, tear open the package, and squeeze them until the creme and mangled cake crumbs extruded greasily between my fingers. I wanted to pull all of the six-packs of soda off the shelves and smash them onto the floor so hard that they exploded into hundreds of angry geysers. Then, amid the spray and chocolate wreckage, I would stand over his terrified little face and say in a very slow, very low voice:
But instead I kept on walking. Walking, walking down the aisle with my milk and my tattered clothing dragging behind me, walking right by his mother who didn't seem to mind that my virtual brains were splattered all over Aisle 7. Which is too bad, because he's likely to do that again, and I'm one of the saner individuals at my supermarket.