Its the first day of summer vacation and Sebastian's mother asks Sebastian to help with the shopping. Sebastian is in for a surprise.
The doom of year 2009 didn't end with the school year. The next day, I was renewing my "sleep-in" addiction when my door rattled.
“Sebastian, are you awake?” floated through the door. “I'm going grocery shopping and need a tote boy. Roll out, I have breakfast waiting.”
“Okay, Mom, I'll be right there.” Tote boy? On the first day of my hard earned summer vacation? Thoughts of the principal's mandates in early January filled my mind. Being a tote boy was worse than extra work for a missed class. Half-mad already because of the early morning reveille from the light filtering through the broken slat, I wasn't ready to be Mom's errand boy for the summer. I would do it this one time, but next time, I'm out of here.
Homemade-breakfast-cinnamon rolls softened my mood; and, to show my thanks, I waited in the passenger's seat while Mom prettied her face.
Instead of going to the local Walmart, we drove five miles north on Meridian, the main drag, to Top Food, across the street from the South Hill Mall.
“Top Food is having a 'Salmon Days' sale of Copper River salmon, so we'll spend our dime here,” Mom said, as we parked. Looking forward to a visit to my favorite store, Top Food's free samples were the best in Puyallup. I didn't react to or comment about her plans for Copper River salmon.
I pulled a cart from the cart-line and joined her on the stroll to the fish counter. I dumped the cart against the counter and headed for the bakery treats next to the fish display.
There, picking donuts out of the enclosed glass shelves, was Sheila. Forgetting the public domain of the store, my arms encircled her from behind. My hands closed over her hands, smashing the donuts she held. She shrieked with the gusto of the megaphone they use when herding cattle at the Puyallup fair. Then, when she saw me, she cried and blubbered,
“I thought it would be three months before I saw you. Do you shop here?”
A woman, dressed as if for a wedding, was jabbing at my arms with her five inch heel in an effort to pry my arms from her precious daughter. Sheila had turned and was hanging on, and I held her even more tightly, as if I were the only saving hope before she fell from a second story window.
With the entire store staff and most customers flying in to save this ill-fated lass, I realized that I had birthed my biggest blooper ever.
“Young man, I'm calling the police if you don't unhand her immediately,” the manager demanded. I recognized that he was the manager because he was wearing a blue “Top Food” jacket.
But I couldn't hear the manager as my mother screeched, “Sebastian, what have you done now?”
I had felt sorry for myself when I was in the crossfire of the FBI and the Pierce County Sheriff detective back there at Stahl; but that didn't hold a candle to the crossfire between these two women. Mom tore the sleeve from my shirt, shoulder to wrist, plucking me one way. At the same time, the high-class richly dressed woman was scratching bloody welts through my sleeve as she pulled my arm the other way.
Waking to reality, Sheila and I let go, with Sheila as red as the raspberry icing on the cake next to her.
“Mom, this is Sheila, the girl I danced with. Remember?”
It was another one of those exits where I was literally being towed by the ear. When we arrived at the car, and I was thrust into the back seat, she said, “Not one word. No, I'm not going back for the cart. If I hear 'Sheila' again, I'll be the one screaming.”