This post is my second post in the Fortnight of Flash, a guilt-free celebration of brief memoir, fiction, and whatever else you can flash. No length too short, less than 750 words, and prizes!
"I just want tongue," said the woman. "I was very clear on that." She was so lovely, with bright skin and long blonde hair, wrapped in a dark-grey hat. She was standing in a parking lot of a Home Depot, hands open, pleading. Her partner in complaint was more beautiful, with a generous smile and eyes that danced, wrapped in a handknit scarf and another sweater and with her hands in her pockets, they were bouncing up and down in their shoes, shivering. Waiting for beef.
The farmer and the farmer's wife, faces lined with sun and work and animal-care, with eyes that crinkled and wrinkled, with eyes that contained joy as well as concern, squinted at their spreadsheets and talked in voices that sounded of wrung hands. "We take the animals to the butcher," they said. "And then--" they had no answer that would make tongue appear.
It was not the first appeal for redress heard that day. "You know you just ran these carts into a customer!" said the older man dressed in red and yellow, pointing his finger toward the line of wheeled weapons, yellow and blue, wielded by an apologetic IKEA employee. The man went on, at length, seeking to describe in terms that even this dunderhead would understand, how his status as a customer should preclude all injuries, physical or emotional, accidental-inclusive. His outrage filled the entryway; passing, I had to give it a wide berth.
"They should," said the woman, mind made up, non-descript, non-noticeable were it not for her voice, wronged. She was seated behind my sparkling boy at the cafeteria upstairs. I caught "salmon" and "de-boned" and deduced her struggle was one with the content of her fish plate. The complaint took 10 minutes or more; the hearer was knowledgable about suppliers and preparation of fish, on this woman's side, propped on a wheeled walking device to make up for some handicap, offering solutions.
"I want grass!" said the child. He was bouncing in his seat and she was bouncing in her seat. They were bouncing in their seats, 12 of them! They all wanted grass! Green, squishy, made of sugar and vegetable oils and food colorings, they all wanted chocolate cake with grass! I asked, "what if I served you cake with real grass?" and they said, "eww!" and "no!" and "GROSS!" and I, oh-so-temporarily employed without pay or benefits in this briefest of birthday-party service industries, was happy to hear their complaints.