Life With Lilly Riddle: Carrie, Sherman, and Lilly Riddle

March 5, 2012
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I slammed on my brakes and spun around the corner in Wal-Mart’s parking lot. I threw my car in park and yanked the keys out of the ignition. I grabbed my purse and held it over my head as I ran through the pouring rain. I had only eight minutes to grab the hair spray, run back home, take a quick shower, and be off to my usual Tuesday night dinner with my parents.

Grabbing one of the nifty baskets by the shopping carts, I headed toward the Health and Beauty Aids isle. I slid on some hand lotion and, to my embarrassment, fell face down on the cold concrete floor.

Carefully, I looked around and realized, with immense relief, that no one had seen my spill. I shook it off and quickly found the isle I was looking for. Scanning the shelves I found the product with ease. I snatched two bottles of children’s detangler spray.

I hated coming to the store to buy the spray because I’m twenty-seven years old woman and I shouldn’t be using detangler spray with a jump roping octopus on it.

I sighed to myself as I hurried past a mother juggling twin boys who were both trying to grab a stuffed bear off the shelf. Maybe one of the self-checkouts will be free, I told myself, unconvincingly.

To my dismay, the self-checkouts were twice as long as the normal lines. I muttered under my breath and dragged my feet to one of the shorter isles. There were two people in front of me so I glanced at the shelves on either side of me. I grabbed a few items and checked my watch again. Five minutes. I absently rubbed my sore chin and tossed a bottle of aspirin and soda onto the conveyor belt with the rest of my items.
Briefly, I could hear someone talking in front of me. They were saying something about milk and a woman’s purple hair brush.
After two minutes of sifting through the assortment of goodie, it was finally my turn. In those two minutes I had done more shopping than I had last week.
The lady behind the counter looked to be about fifty. Her bony hands moved gently and very slowly. Her silver hair was cropped at her chin. Her cheeks were sunken in slightly yet her smile remained. I was caught by surprise when the lady’s husky voice began speaking.
“One pack of strawberry gum. One pack of double A batteries. A ten dollar gift card. One mango chapstick. Three packs of peppermint Tic-Tac’s. Two bottles of hand sanitizer. One Pepsi soda. One bottle of Aspirin. One box of Band-Aids.” The woman’s shaky voice declared everything I was buying.
Just hurry up and finish!! I practically pleaded. I’ve got three minutes!! I tapped my foot in annoyance.
“And two bottles of children’s detangler spray.” Her gray eyes danced in delight. “Oh my! You must have a little girl at home, am I right?” She smiled and stared me down.
I shifted my weight nervously. I’m not going to say those are for me! I’m old enough to have a kid, right?
“Uh . . . yeah . . . her name’s . . . umm . . . Carrie,” I sputtered stupidly.
“Aww!!” the old lady cooed. “How old is she?”
AHHHH!!!! Stop asking questions!!
“She uhh . . . three?”
“How cute! And what’s her daddy’s name?” She leaned forward as if the suspense was too much for her.
Think, Lilly! THINK!!
“Sherman . . .”
“How wonderful! Well, here you go.” Finally I got my bags. “That’ll be $18.24.”
I handed the money over and smiled my most endearing smile I could manage, and then I ran for the doors. I was relieved to find out that it had stopped raining.
Whew! So much trouble just for some hair spray. I walked up to my car and threw my bags into the back seat. I must have been in such a hurry that I forgot to lock the car. I climbed into the front seat and was about to start the car when I noticed a camo jacket on the passenger seat.
Hmm . . . I don’t any camo. Oh well, it must be James’. I jabbed my keys into the ignition but they wouldn’t fit. I sat there and tried again and again to shove my keys in.
Suddenly the car shook and there was a loud knock on my car window. I looked over to see a large redneck man standing outside my car, furious. Nervously I opened the car door and slid out.
“Y-yes? Can I help you?”
“That’s my car!! What do you think you were doing in my car!? Were you just going to drive off?! Huh!? Answer me!!” He spit at me.
“I-I’m sorry. I-“
“I’ve already called the police so don’t even try to deny it. They’ll be here any minute.” His breath reeked of moldy cheese.
“But it was an acid-“ I hadn’t even finished my sentence when I heard the sirens.
“Officer! Over here!” the gruff man waved.
The officer stepped out of the cruiser and walked over. He looked me over then turned to the sweaty man beside me. I thought I was going to cry. I just wanted to go home!
“Is this the lady who tried to steal your car, sir?” He pulled off his sunglasses and stuffed them into his shirt pocket.
“Yes and she’s tryin’ to deny it!”
“But I wasn’t trying to steal your car! I honestly thought I was mine! They look exactly the same!” I talked so fast my words ran together.
The officer looked from me to the man and back again. “Okay, sir. You can be on your way. I’ll take it from here.”
The man grunted and climbed into his car. “You’re lucky I’m not pressing charges!” he shouted before he slammed the car door and sped off (which, considering the circumstances, was not very smart).
The officer turned back to me. “Ma’am-“
“I didn’t try to steal his car, officer! I was in a hurry and couldn’t remember where I had parked and when I saw-“
“Ma’am! I know you weren’t trying to steal the car. That man overreacted but everything’s fine now. Let me help you find your car.”
I nodded. We walked past three cars when I saw my car. I lifted my finger, thoroughly embarrassed. “There it is,” I said sheepishly.
The officer chuckled as he approached my car. “This one? You sure?” he teased.
I nodded and went to unlock the door. I tried my keys in the ignition just to be sure. The car roared to life. I slipped the keys out and walked back to the police officer. I was about to tell him “thank you” when I froze.
“Oh no,” I breathed.
“What’s wrong?”
Hot tears streamed down my face. “My bags!” I wailed.
The officer must have realized what I was talking about because he took out a pad of paper and a pen. “What was in them? I can run into the store and buy them for you.”
I brushed the back of my hand across my face and gave a weak laugh. “The only important thing in them was a bottle of children’s detangler spray.”
The officer looked up and smiled. “Do you have a little girl at home?”


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