Charlie activated the boutique’s alarm then locked the door. She walked to her car and got in, but before starting the engine she got out and walked back to the door. She tried opening it, but of course it was locked. Okay, she thought, all is alright.
Driving home she listened to KCRW, while dangling a Belmont out the window. A Prius drove up next to her – “you’re killing yourself and polluting our shared air!” shouted a twenty-something. He had a messy man bun, an even messier Grizzly Adams beard and though Charlie couldn’t see them, she was certain that he was wearing skinny jeans – probably with the pre-shredded knees. Charlie took a long drag of her cigarette and blew smoke towards his open window. She smiled and waved as he roared off – well, as much as you can roar off when you’re driving a Prius.
Charlie sang to herself, “hold’er Jack, we’re headed for the rhubarb!” as she took a sharp corner into Trader Joe’s parking lot. She grabbed her canvas shopping bags – God forbid you didn’t bring your own bags, the other shoppers would probably stone you to death with organic nuts – and headed in to do a little grocery shopping.
She filled her cart quickly – fresh flowers (every Friday she bought herself flowers), wine, pre-made salad, Louisiana sausages, Tortilla chips…In the frozen dessert aisle a handsome guy with salt and pepper hair smiled at her, “have you tried these Mochi? They’re insane. Last time I bought them I ate the whole box in one sitting.” He was wearing beat-up black engineer boots – maybe Frye? – with faded jeans, a pricey looking sports watch and a ratty Motörhead tee. Hmm thought Charlie. She smiled back. “I like a guy who binges, I’ll try a box of those,” she reached over to get a box out of the freezer and their arms touched. “I’m Max” he held out his hand to shake hers. “Charlie,” she answered, giving his hand a firm shake after she placed the Mochi in her cart.
They walked down the aisle together. “I forgot my shopping bags,” he said with a grimace. “I’m dreading going to the check-out counter, they always give you that look, you know?” Charlie laughed, “I know!! I’m so over this ‘Ecowarrior, green smoothie drinking, politically correct, everybody is wearing glasses, retro crap!’ I can’t take it anymore!” Max exploded into a fit of laughter. He was so loud that several guys in the Craft Beer section looked up from their label hunting. His laughter reminded Charlie of Rhoda Morgenstern from The Mary Tyler Moore show, it didn’t seem to match who he was and yet it was perfect.