Day 16 of the Flash Fiction February Challenge. Today’s prompt is to write about something boring that becomes exciting.
My feet swing back and forth under the shopping cart handle and I start counting each swing, “1, 2, 3, 4, 6, uh, 4, 8…”
“You forgot 5, bud,” my mom says. Her voice is muffled through the mask.
“…8, 5, 10!”
“No, no, after 4. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5… It’s ok. Try again.” My mom picks up a jar of tomato sauce next to us in the aisle and examines the back label.
“Are we going to get that?”
“Um, yeah. We can always use more marinara sauce.” She drops it in the cart. “When will this line move?”
I turn around to look at the stretched out line that leads us to the checkout counter. When I turn back to my mom, I see the line is now past the pasta section of the aisle and making its way past the beans and hot sauces.
“I’m hungry, can I have a snack?”
“When we get home.” She sighs and kisses my head through her mask. “Soon, bud.”
I am about to reach out and adjust my own mask when I hear a loud exclamation behind me, near the front of the store. My mom’s brows furrow. “What was that?” she says. I try to turn around in my seat as much as I can but I’m strapped in. We hear a grumph, grumph, then an “AAIIIIIEEEEEEE!”
Suddenly, the line to the checkout starts breaking up, shoppers scattering away from the front of the store, leaving their carts of groceries. My mom slowly pushes the cart forward a few feet so we can see around the aisle then she moves to the front of the cart, between me and the noises and I can’t see what’s going on. All I can hear are stumbles, crashes, and loud thumps. Something large is making its way through the store.
A dinosaur! I think at first. Or, maybe a monster truck!
“Where is it?” I hear my mom say but I don’t know who she is talking to. “What is going on?” I can’t tell if she’s worried or not. Her masked face looks back at me and I can’t read her expression. “Stay right there, ok, sweetie?” Like I could go anywhere else. The man behind us finally looks up from his phone, his earbuds still in his ears. His face is confused and as I’m watching him, I see something behind him look around the far corner of the aisle. It’s huge, hairy, and brown. Is it a bear?
“Hold on, I’m trying to find out what’s going on!”
The line of shoppers in the bean and hot sauce sections all run past us. My mom, too busy looking around the front end of the aisle, doesn’t see them.
“Mom!” I squirm in my seat. I’m afraid and I think I start to pee.
“I said just wait!”
The brown, hairy thing walks down the aisle but its not in a hurry. In fact, it seems to be looking for something, and completely ignores the people that are either running or trying to take pictures of it. With over-sized clumsy brown, hairy hands, it pushes aside hot sauces, picks up a bottle, breaks it, and then licks the sauce. It gives a loud growl-shriek and drops it, pawing at its mouth.
This is when my mom finally turns around and shrieks, too.
She immediately tries to pick me up from the cart but forgets about the straps. I really hate those stupid straps. She struggles with the straps but finally is able to yank me free. One of my shoes comes off and there’s definitely a puddle of pee on the seat.
“It’s Bigfoot!” She yells and slowly backs away towards the registers.
As we back away, my mom gets stuck between a wayward display of Valentine’s Day candy and someone else’s cart. I watch as Bigfoot makes his lumbering way to where our cart still sits. He picks up a bottle of marinara sauce and breaks it on the shelf. Then he licks his fingers and makes a happy grunt. Then, as I watch him from where we crouch behind someone else’s cart, he puts his hand up in the air in our direction and smiles, as if he’s saying, “this is the one!”
Then he picks up a box of spaghetti and lumbers back towards the exit, grabbing a bouquet of flowers along the way.