September 6, 2012
It began simply enough. Saarah and I had decided to shoot some pool. The pool hall was in Bay Ridge and we parked close by but first I had to stop at the bank. We walked down the avenue and passed a store with milk on sale for $1.99 a gallon, a really good price. Saarah needed milk and we planned to pick up a gallon on the way home. So we continued to the bank and then went back the same way, passing the store again, and finally to the pool hall.
It was awful. I couldn’t sink a ball for the life of me. I missed easy shots, bounced the cue ball off the table time after time, and somehow even lost the grip on my stick and sent it shooting across the hall like a javelin. Luckily nothing was hurt except my pride. And Saarah? She is some kind of superpro. If she ever tries to play you for money, run like the wind. She was awesome and left me with a serious feeling of inadequacy that only the very pathetic can know, like whenever the New York Mets step onto a baseball diamond.
We left and walked to the milk store and before we knew it we were all the way past the bank. We had somehow missed the store. So we walked back and before we knew it we were all the way past the pool hall. We had somehow missed the store. Again.
The store was gone. Not closed, gone. It was a little after 5 in the afternoon and in the scant hour that had passed the store had vanished. We could not even find a sign for a store that would have sold milk.
If it ever existed to begin with.
But the day went on, as days do, and we shopped a little and ate dinner and had a great desert and I even managed to forget how much Saarah totally annihilated me at pool. We started talking about games. We’d bowled recently and just shot pool and Saarah decided that the next game she would beat me in would be chess. Problem is, she didn’t have a chess set and mine was missing a few important pieces, like a knight and both rooks. And the board.
We decided to buy one at Toys “R” Us and that is where this story really starts.
This was Labor Day and it was around 8:30 at night. There were, counting us, (and I counted), only 6 customers in the store. They were getting ready to close and we were walking around, having picked out a chess set, looking at the toys and just generally having fun as I always do with Saarah. We were in the action figure aisle and I was drooling over some toys that I’d buy if only I had a zillion extra dollars when we heard screaming from not too far away, a man and a woman.
“I’m not buying that! I’m broke!”
“Yes you are buying this for me!”
“I have no money, I’m in debt! I can’t buy it!”
“I’m going to put it on your credit card and you’re going to pay for it!”
“I already owe all my friends money!”
“I DON’T CARE YOU’RE BUYING THIS FOR ME!”
We looked over and saw a man, around 55 years old, stomping out of the doll aisle with, literally, his hands waving in the air like he was either trying to wave the woman’s words away or he was signifying that the last of his sanity was slowly seeping out of his head. He had clearly been through this before. As he rushed away, he was still yelling about how he was broke, how he owed everyone money, that his credit cards were over the limit, etc.
It was pretty much like this
Saarah and I started laughing. And we only laughed harder when we saw that the screaming woman was about 75 years old, probably the guy’s mother. She had four or five dolls in her arms, and one of her arms had a black brace on it. She was dumping them into a wagon with some more dolls in it, though I did not get a good enough look to be able to count.
She started shouting.
“Can someone help me here?”
“I need help with the dolls!”
“SOMEBODY HELP ME WITH THE DOLLS!”
“WHERE IS ALL THE HELP!”
“I NEED SOMBEEODY TO HELP ME IN THE DOLL SECTION!”
“WHERE IS ANYBODY TO GET A DOLL FOR ME I CAN’T REACH!”
“I know you work here COME AND HELP ME!”
As I said, the store was empty. Out of the six customers, two had left, the old woman’s son was MIA, and Saarah and I were just laughing together in the clearance section. There was plenty of sales help to assist the old woman.
The problem was, no one wanted to go near her.
“I NEED HELP!”
She sure did.
We had a clear view of, not ten feet away, an employee shaking his head and trying to get some other employee (out of our line of vision) to go over and help her. He did not want to go over there, in the worst way. And al lthis time the woman was still screaming at the top of her lungs.
“Hey, can’t you come over here? I need help! HELP!” Oops, she spotted him.
“Yes ma’am, sorry, I didn’t hear you.” That was about as bold-faced a lie as I ever heard, and I have told some whoppers myself.
Saarah and I walked around a little more, being nasty and mean and making fun of the woman (to ourselves) who, in all seriousness, has a screw loose. Her son obviously can’t afford to buy any more dolls but she doesn’t care at all. Either she is a hoarder or a shopaholic or, as someone who will remain nameless suggested, just a selfish old be-otch.
Saarah simply wondered why the son would have taken her to Toys “R” Us to begin with.