Still no title, but it’s coming along. Here’s a passage I had fun with. If you’ve ever shopped at Rural King, you’ll know just what I mean. Julia is the working name for the main character. She’s a city girl who has recently moved to the country to care for her former mother-in-law Helen. (More about that later.)
“Where to next, navigator?” Julia said.
“I think we’d better get to Rural King before I poop out,” Helen answered.
“Will they have cleaning supplies? I’ll also need face masks and—”
“Honey, they have everything your little heart could think of there. Including free popcorn for shoppers.”
“I can smell it now. That and new Wrangler jeans, all overlaid with a hint of pesticide.” Then her face brightened. “Oh, I just remembered. It’s April and they’ll have baby chicks.”
Helen grinned. “Think of it as your first step in getting acclimated to the rural life.”
The Rural King parking lot was crowded and Julia couldn’t find a spot near the door. There was a handicap space but without the appropriate tag they couldn’t park there without risking a ticket. One more thing she’d have to check into.
“I’ll let you off and go park.”
“No, that’s all right.”
“It’s too far, Helen. You’ll—”
“You go on, honey. I don’t think I’m up to it after all.”
Surprised, she turned and saw that Helen was absently rubbing her right knee with one gnarled hand. Sometimes just when it seemed she was going to have a good day her RA decided to deliver a sucker punch. Apparently, Helen had just taken one to the gut. Her eyes had narrowed and there was a band of paleness around her mouth that Julia knew meant she was in pain. Not that Helen ever complained.
“Are you all right? Of course you’re not. I’ll take you home and come back.”
“Don’t be silly. That would be a complete waste of gas. I’ll wait in the truck.”
As much as she hated to delay getting Helen home, with the tank was nearly empty and their credit card nearly full, it made sense to save a trip to town. “All right. I’ll hurry.”
The atmosphere was much as Helen had described it. The popcorn aroma was surprisingly appealing, in spite of the attending chemical smell, and her stomach growled. The bagel from breakfast was long gone. She would have to move quickly. They still needed to stop at the grocery store before they could go home. Such as it was.
She pulled a shopping cart from the corral just inside the door and tried to make sense of the department signs hanging from the ceiling. She pointed her cart toward Housewares and worked her way past Automotive, Gardening, and Clothing. The cart’s wheels squeaked. The sound seemed to get louder the closer she got to Housewares, until until she finally realized the extra noise wasn’t coming from the cart at all but from three metal tubs sitting in the aisle. A red glow came from within as if the tubs were some weird power source for alien space ships. But when she got close enough she saw that the light was emanating from ordinary heat lamps suspended over hordes of fuzzy yellow chicks giddy-upping around in dizzying abandon all the while peeping—and pooping—their tiny hearts out.
She felt the sudden urge to hold one and then pictured how amusing it would look if she put several of them in her shopping cart. Or maybe she’d get a lamb to surprise Helen. She looked around, half expecting there to be a pen of them further down the aisle.
She shook herself to snap herself back to reality. She had a shopping list, and barnyard animals, no matter how cute, weren’t on it.It would be so nice of you to share!