I’m not a person who easily laughs, in fact it takes a lot, and I’ve always envied people who can laugh unconditionally with little or no effort because their brain is always looking for humor. My brain is too dark, ha! And the humor part is long sleeping, and waiting.
My laugh woke when I was shopping at a nicely renovated Aldi store. A tall man walked in. I’m tall, at six foot five, but I had to crane my neck to get a good look at this guy. His hair was a long, thick disheveled mane of slop hanging loosely and carefree from his head. He had a large pair of those expensive, cheaply made, headphones covering his ears. His ears were so big that the points of the tops stuck out of the headphones. His eyes were slanted almonds and they were set too far apart, compared to others I’ve seen. His eyes darted everywhere, glaring at people who weren’t donning masks.
My mask was over my nose and mouth. I was glad because this guy looked like he was seeking to make trouble; he had that movement, those twitches in his eyes as an indicator. He glared at me and as I pinched the nose piece on my mask his eyes turned soft, empathetic, really, but then darted to another, non-masker. There was a part of me that had to see what was coming; I mean Facebook is bombarded with videos featuring nut jobs just like this guy. Who don’t like a little Sunday morning fight? I kept my eyes on him the entire time that he weaved in and out of the aisles. He was fast, a lot like the shoplifters I’ve apprehend in my days at Target. His eyes continued to dart towards people in between loading his cart. Was he going to book out of the store with groceries? Was he going to pulverize someone who didn’t have a mask covering their face? I couldn’t tell.
My mask makes me feel secure, even though I’m armed with antibodies and two vaccine shots. It’s a personal comfort, a security blanket, if you will. It was obvious this man had the same sentiment. The giant made a grunt noise. I didn’t know if he was going to belt out in song or if he were going to start yelling.
The aisle with all the canned goods at Aldi is a popular place, there’s rarely a time when that aisle don’t have three, four and sometimes six people milling around. I was near it, but not in it. The tall one ambled down it, his throat grunting every once in a while. There was a mother and father with a red head toddler who ran around like the store was a playground, there were two octogenarians picking up cans of stewed tomatoes, there was a college kid wearing a MAGA shirt who made direct eye contact with the masked man. The patrons in the aisle were all unmasked. Grand Guy let out the song/cough noise, again, and I recognized it, he was clearing his throat. I heard him once more and he pulled his mask down. He moved as close to the mask-less hoard as he could. He coughed. Flying wet particles flew, spraying droplets everywhere, one large droplet coated with green landed in the toddler’s hair and another on the mom’s exposed cleavage, I’m sure it wasn’t the only thing that ever landed in that spot. I expected action, but instead the mask-less moved away from him, letting him have room. The MAGA male was wiping a shower of green snot that landed on him, and he cowered away like a sniveling dog. Masked man sneered at each one of them, a smirk trembling on his lips, and then laughed. It was hideous, bellowing from deep inside, and I couldn’t help it, but I joined him. I instantly became an enemy to those people, and I didn’t care. I had an ally in the tall masked man.
After that occurrence laughing was easier for me, my humor woke. I gained power from that guffaw that tickled me deep. So, wherever you are, tall masked one, thank you, so much, for waking up the dried up, humorless inside and making me chuckle at your wet spraying cough. Now, when I enter a store, masked, and I feel a cough, I pull my mask and I let it out! Who cares? Why not? It is my right to cough openly, isn’t it? I’ve never laughed this much in my life!
Thanks for reading!
Tim Eagle is an author who lives full time, on the road, with his wife, Maria and their dog, Cocoa. He grew up in Michigan and is inspired by the dysfunction, insanity, and nepotism of rural America. His most current novella, Krae and The Vasectomus Trilogy are both available in e-Book and print. Find Tim Eagle at timeaglefiction.com or here on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Tim-Eagle/e/B004JOB5OS and on godless: https://godless.com/collections/vendors?q=Tim%20Eagle If you liked reading this, sign up on timeaglefiction.com/contact and get alerted whenever something new is posted and for the monthly newsletter!