/ stories  

  Flying Fish  

I have always tried to keep a low profile.  When in public I try not to draw attention to myself.  It’s a little difficult to do that considering where we live; but, none the less, I keep attention to myself to a minimum.  Well, that all changed forever this past weekend when Bobbie and I went on our regular weekly grocery shopping trip.

The markets here are lively places on the weekends.  Bustling with activity, they are crowded, and, at times hectic; and it’s easy to just sort of blend with the crowd.  The larger markets also have wonderful delicatessens with all kinds of freshly prepared foods to take home ready to eat.  The selections range from beautifully arranged platters of sushi to pastries of every description stuffed with everything imaginable, fruits, vegetables, meats, everything; all fresh and delicious.  It was one magnificently prepared platter of sushi that I chose to take home for our lunch.  We were both hungry so the platter I picked was rather large, about 15 inches square, too big for our shopping basket.  My plan was to pay and take the platter to the car so I wouldn’t have to carry it the whole time.  I went to the cashier at the pastry section and she pointed to the main checkout and suggested I go there to pay.  With the platter balanced in my left hand, I turned and began to point with my right to acknowledge her recommendation.  As I raised my right hand it caught the edge of the platter and sent it high into the air.

Stop right here and imagine life going into slow motion.  The platter rose higher and higher into the air, cart wheeling as it rose.  Slowly, slowly until, at its apogee, it began to fall to earth.  Both my hands went to the sides of my head as all I could do was watch.  My mouth opened and a distorted “Oooohhhhhhhhh noooooooooooooo” was all that would come out.  I watched and I watched for an eternity. A lady passing to my left began apologizing because she thought, in some way, she may have been responsible.  I looked toward the cashier and she had a most horrified look on her face.  She began apologizing because, after all, she had sent me to the other cashiers.  Then finally “splaaat” the platter landed, of course, ‘jelly side down’.  All I could think of was, “Oh thank goodness the lid stayed on (they tape things very well here).  I picked up the platter and turned it over hoping for the best but all I saw was disheveled sushi.  I began to apologize profusely. Everyone around me was apologizing.  The young man who stocks the shelves raced from the kitchen and began apologizing.  After all, if he hadn’t put it on the shelf then I wouldn’t have picked it up and, well, you know.  Three employees raced to my aid, and I think in that one instant I could understand Japanese.  I think they were saying, “its okay, its okay, we will get you another”, as the young man rescued the platter from me and darted back to the kitchen explaining to all there what had just happened.  I know he told all of my disgrace, because I could see them, and they all were mortified.  I could have just died. 

I saw Bobbie not too far away in the produce section.  She must have been a witness, so when I reached her I began to confess like the guilty scoundrel I was.  I should have just said I decided I didn’t want it after all because she hadn’t seen a thing.  I tried to disappear into the crowd, but my efforts were in vain because in about 5 minutes the young man found me and presented me with a freshly prepared platter, apologizing the whole time.

Bobbie says I have to go back.

- Chas