Little Redfern’s Trip to the Supermarket


I looked up from my bucket to leer at two bickering coeds who were at the other end of Aisle 14. I thought about mouthing the sequins on brunette’s blue miniskirt. I guessed from the flesh-toned Band-Aid on her calf that she’d nicked herself shaving.

They were too far away for me to hear everything, but I could catch snippets of their conversation. The brunette was pointing at a box of Fruit Loops, arguing that was seven cereals in one because of the cornucopia of flavors. I snorted when she said “cornucopia of flavors,” and they both glanced toward me. I’d stationed myself near the cranberry juice and was pulling the rusty lever that works the mechanism to wring water from the mop’s head. They dismissed me as so inconsequential that my eavesdropping wasn’t a concern. I slapped the mop onto the floor and began moving it around in tiny clockwise circles.

The blond reached for a carton of Frosted Flakes and made to put it in the child safety seat of the shopping cart they’d navigated down the aisle. I thought about teasing up her skirt with the end of the mop handle. I wheeled the bucket a few feet toward them. Not so much as to be conspicuous, I told myself, but enough to get a better look.

“Look at this picture, beeatch,” the blond said, tapping an image of sugar-laced flakes, “it’s natural like Corn Flakes, like natural and wholesome. But still a little fun.” A platoon of oversized bracelets tumbled down her lithe arm as she grabbed the Family-Sized box of Fruit Loops from the brunette. “These are, like, for children,” she scoffed, pointing toward the dayglo-colored illustration of toys potentially hidden inside. I wondered what her hair smelled like. Her makeup might taste like strawberries, I thought.

“Hey ho, Chief Bluecorn,” bellowed a voice from behind me. I whipped around and recognized young Charlie Specks. His hair was longer than I remembered, but it had been two, three years since he’d gone off to college.

I strained to recall his Scout name. He was a year older than my Tommy, but had always been the runt of the troop. Tommy had two inches on him, easy, the whole time they’d been in Scouts together. Charlie was filling out now. His face sported the stubble of an adult. “Little Charlie Specks — Little Redfern, I mean. S’been a long while.”

“Long time since me and Tom and you sat around those back yard Pow Wow campfires,” he said, grinning, “the good ‘ole days.” He thrust out his hand, which I started to take on reflex before pulling back from his shake.

“Noble Indians don’t greet like the savage white man,” I scolded as I leaned to perform the secret ceremonial bow of Indian Scouts Troop 143.

“Forgive my indiscretion, Honorable Bluecorn,” said Charlie Specks as he mirrored my salutation, “Litte Redfern asks for your forgiveness and informs you he must take leave for the hunt.” He nodded toward the girls and gave me a wink. I nodded my permission, keeping my jaw clenched and strong as befitting a Clan Chief of my assumed stature.

I dunked my mop into the bucket and wrung it damp again. I took stock of the water. About time to change it out, but there were still a few soap bubbles—and I didn’t want to go to the back room when the scenery was so lovely. I wondered if the blond’s muscles calves as firm as they looked. Little Redfern patted my shoulder as he glided past.

“Lovely ladies,” he said to the squaws, slowing his walk. They matched his smile but didn’t reply.

I noticed that the brunette’s waistband almost was perfectly sized, her silhouette revealing only the tiniest of modulations where fabric met flesh. She wore her hair up, with silver pins holding it in a loose bun. I wondered whether I could buy a girl like that, if I had the money. I pictured her naked on hotel sheets, telling me she wanted me.

“All I’m saying is, Fruit Loops are really really good so let’s just split the difference and get both,” said the brunette. I hadn’t noticed the sheerness of her skirt from my earlier vantage, so was surprised that I could discern the white lace panties underneath. The blond eyed Charlie, who was still ambling near them, hoping for encouragement.

“Sorry Redfern,” she said — Charlie and I were both surprised she’d been listening — “you’re cute and all, but we’re discussing cereal right now.” Little Redfern smiled and continued his stroll.

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