Thursday, December 29, 2016

Margaret Compton

Margaret Compton was 85 years old and a royal pain in the ass.

Not everybody felt she sucked; in fact many thought she was delightful. Perky, functional, reasonably sane - not bad for an 85 year old broad.

But perceptions differ.

Ralphie fucking hated her.

Margaret worked in the local grocery store in this tiny town. Not because she had to, but because she wanted to keep in touch with "her" people. Wanted to keep active.

Every time Ralphie stopped in for a 12 pack or a bottle of wine or a jug of whiskey, she was there. Seemed like she fucking lived there.

He had no problem with old farts trying to stay alive, after all death was not number one on his wish list. He wanted to get drunk as many times as possible, wanted to get laid at every opportunity, wanted to ring every drop of insanity out of his life for as long as he possibly could.

What he did have a problem with was gossips, although Ralphie's definition of a gossip was pretty narrow.

He wasn't much of a communicator. In fact he hated conversation. People were so fucking boring and most had nothing to say. If you outlawed cliches most people would have no use for their tongues.

So when he got to Margaret's register and she just had to ask how he was doing, how the job was going, was that a new truck he was driving, how was his ex-wife's health, he almost went out of his mind.

Get in, get out. That was Ralphie's philosophy. Get out of work, pick up some booze, go home and drink it.

No distractions, no wasted time, no fucking bullshit.

But she just wouldn't leave him alone.

His impatience was poison as he waited in line each time, waited while Margaret interrogated every fucking person ahead of him. Even people with one goddamn item, people who should have been waited on and gone in one and a half minutes, who instead spent five minutes or more indulging the old broad.

It was Friday night and Margaret was robbing Ralphie of precious chunks of his weekend.

Impatience boiled over into anger.

When he finally got to the register Margaret's ridiculous, Shar-Pei wrinkled faced broke into her annoying hometown smile.

Ralphie answered her questions through clenched teeth, openly antagonistic, head down, tapping his boot on the creaky wooden floor.

The explosion came when she got around to asking about his ex-wife's health.

Slowly, Ralphie raised his head until he was looking Margaret Compton directly in the eyes.

"This is how my ex-wife feels", he said, just before he punched Margaret in the face.

The people behind him in line, shocked into inaction,  gasped as she went down like a ton of bricks. Calmly, Ralphie opened up one of his Natty Lights and poured the beer all over Margaret's head.

"Have a nice weekend," he said just before he walked out the door.

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