Saturday, August 23, 2014

Chapter 24




"You don't have a problem shopping here do you?"

"Of course not.  A lot of my foster families came to this place or places like it."

He relaxed.  "Lisa always hated it when I insisted on shopping here.  She said it was embarrassing."

"Lisa was your fiancé?"

"It was never official."  Then he got grumpy and said, "And it's in the past.  Let's not talk about it."

I shrugged and let him lead.  We walked in, grabbed a buggy, and started taking things out of bins and shelves that worked with our lists.  We wound up having to use two carts and then switching that to a flatbed as we added flats of canned goods that were slightly dented but otherwise just fine.  I spotted several bottles of off brand salsa and other condiments that we stocked up on.  Every time I would put one of an item on the flatbed Sawyer would double, triple, or more if it was there to be had.  I let him choose until he tried to put forty-eight bottles of honey mustard on there.

"Sawyer!"  I said laughing at the serious look on his face.

"What?"

"You know what you just put on the flatbed?"

He looked and then frowned then slowly it changed to a grin.  "Yeah, I know it looks funny but Gramps said to pick the good deals up and we'd spread it amongst the family.  If you think of it that way, that's not really all that much mustard."

I had to agree to that.

We left there and the manager even came out to wring us up and to get nosey.  Sawyer looked at me and said, "You know, it's not fair being the youngest newlyweds.  They think it's funny to send us to town with all their grocery lists and tell us it's to save fuel but I'm telling you I don't think it is that funny at all."

"Well they're your family," I responded.

"Yeah I guess but now I gotta break this down and make sure everyone gets what they told me to pick up and give them back the right change and everything.  And you know Gramps is going to want a full accounting right down to the penny."

The manager smiled and said, "Got one of those in your family too do you?"

"Uh ... sorry ... guess I shouldn't complain.  Things are bad enough as it is."

"We all need to blow off steam some time.  At least they didn't tell you to write a check.  For this amount I would have had to call the bank and they're closed now."

I didn't say a word until we had everything loaded in the truck - I discovered the mattress was on the bottom covered by a tarp - and he opened the door to help me up into the cab.  "You getting tired?"

"No."

"You sure?"

"Yeah."

"Then what's wrong?"

"What was all that about back there?"

"Gramps warned me people were getting nosey and that we don't need them thinking we're hoarders or stockpiling or anything else.  Most people know we've got a big family so when we make purchases in town we try and make out like any one purchase is for all of us even if it isn't."

"Oh."

"You don't approve?"

"It's not that.  I don't like lying but since we did buy some of that stuff to share I can probably work my way around that but ... I guess it gets a little more real every day."

"What does?"

"Those things you tell me your grandfather says and thinks.  It also makes me feel kind of dumb."

"Why would it do that?"

"I didn't think much about that manager coming out to ring up the order or the questions he was asking ... not until you pointed it out by acting the way you did.  It just seems so ... cloak and dagger."

"You don't believe Gramps?"

"No, it's not that I told you.  It isn't that it isn't believable it just seems so strange that one family would know about it but no one else acts like they do."

"More people than you imagine have an idea of what is happening all around us ... it’s just that too many of them think it can be fixed or put off longer or that the worst of it won't happen to them for some reason.  Gramps says that's a good way to wind up hard up, hard off, and maybe even dead."

I shivered.

"You ok?"

"Yeah," I answered but I was beginning to wonder if I was.

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