James Boland



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Lady From the Supermaket

After a while, the trips became less interesting. If Rhonda knew one thing, it was how important it was to fake interest. Often she would walk in the supermarkets with a proud confident smile and stare from behind her evaluation charts in blank wonder at the people plucking the shelves. How unfair, she thought, that she could not escape the drone of the everyday march of mediocrity- 8 years after taking this position and she could practically head the march; hers was not the gift of contentment. Should she not then, at the very least, be respected all the for her tolerance of it all?

She definitely did, thought the young deli clerk, need to see the walk-in freezer and the condition it was in. As long as he could withstand the low temperature, he felt honored to bring her in with him and observe the effects of frost forming on her taupe stockings. It was his pleasure to wipe his hands on her tweed skirt and smear ice cream on her abdomen after he pulled her blouse over her head so she couldn't see.

"Why are you doing this," she cried nervously. "I'll bet you're not used to doing it this way" he said calmly. "You must think I'm naive, don't you?! You think I don't know how things work around here, right?" He pulled her blouse back down from her face and pressed it against the ice cream that started to drip down her skirt. She looked up to see the contents of her purse strewn about the stainless steel floor. He grinned sheepishly from behind her lipstick and proceeded to smear mauve eye shadow from his lids to his temples. "See- it's not so bad. I'm only trying to make you feel comfortable. Would you like a little entertainment before we get started? Perhaps a song would put you in the mood:


Let's get excited over being reunited
You only see me once a year so I'll remove my slacks right here
I'll show you the little weapon that's right next to my thigh
The one that gets `em steppin' on my toes `till I cry

His name is Bob and he's a knife
I talk to him, he saved my life
I keep him in my underpants
I'm always careful when I dance

Let's get together though you hardly even know me
I fantasize about you, I pretend you're below me
You make more money, but you don't make spaghetti
Would you find it funny if your paycheck was confetti

I'll get a nice promotion if I manipulate your emotions
I'll seduce you with the potion that I made from calamine lotion
So tell me how you like my style
Have you been excited all the while?

I see you struggle to get up, that means you're ready for love
Can you picture me and you with 5 kids to be proud of
And now you take off your shoe and shake your heel at me
A sure sign of excitement so I block it with my feet

That's my cue to boogie so just let me finish
I can sing again later so put down that frozen spinach
You know you can have seconds and you can come back for more
So let's get down to business and forget this whole store

"Stop! Stop! I can't listen any more! I can't believe what you're doing to me!," shouted Rhonda, exasperated. "I want you to promise never to tell anyone what I am about to say or what is about to happen. You reminded me, while you were doing that little dance, of my uncle Sharpy. Uncle Sharpy used to dance all the time. He was too shy to dance in front of other people and that's why he said I was special; he would only dance for me. He used to take me in the barn on Saturday nights while my folks were at bingo and share his secret potion with his "ice cream princess". It didn't taste like calamine, though; it was more like blackberry brandy.

"Then he would ask me to play `Bad Horse'. I would have to tie him to the coral with this torn satin strip from grandma's old dress that he kept hidden safe as a family memento. If I didn't do it right away, he would get real mean-like and snarl and drool and he would stand on my toes so I couldn't move. Then I would cry and he would give me some more magic potion. He would have some magic potion too, and sometimes he would cry and say, "Bad Horse! Sharpy's been a bad horse and he needs a spanking!"

Then he would tell me that a bad horse could never be made good unless the spanking really counted. He would pull his slacks down and show me where it hurt the most, where it really counted, he said. I tried my best to make him better like he asked me to, but he was always so mean. I just wasn't strong enough to punish him the way he needed me to. Our game was a secret, he told me, because if other grownups were truly understanding, they would have been able to fix the bad horse a long time ago and they would all be drinking the magic potion. If I told anyone, he said, the next time I go in the icebox to get him or daddy a beer, he would keep me in there until the horse was punished.

"He died in a car accident before I grew up, but now I know how to win at Bad Horse. Do you want to play?"

He looked at her dumfounded and was able only to nod fervently. She took off her blouse as he filled with anticipation. She ripped it into a long strip and tied his wrists to the copper piping along the wall. He was covered with goose bumps. "Now you just leave the rest to Rhonda."

She moved a crate of frozen orange juice and propped it on his feet so he couldn't move anywhere. He closed his eyes and tilted his head back in surrender to ecstasy. "Let's meet our little friend," she said, and pulled his pants down to his ankles. "Oh, Bob, who's been a bad horse? You're going to help me this time... There! Now the horse will never be bad again!" She left the mess in the freezer and was gone before anyone could respond to the screams.

©1996 James Boland

Other Writings
The Great Elf
The Indignant Bastard Troll
She'll Piss Herself
The Unauthorized Biography Of Mike Bellina



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