The Parking Lot Incident

It just wouldn’t be right if Kathryn and I left the house and didn’t have a story to tell when we got back home, no matter how mundane the errand.

The two of us had just finished a mid-day grocery shopping trip to Rouse’s. We exited the store a few minutes past noon. Hot was an understatement. The heat blazed up off the asphalt parking lot. The car sat waiting in the back forty.

This particular parking lot is not for the faint of heart. Taking an up-close spot is akin to going back in time to the wild, wild West. Unless you’re just looking for trouble, you don’t do it. Especially not on a Saturday. Especially not when pork is on sale. But I digress…

We’re making our way across hell’s half acre. It’s hotter than a snake’s butt in a wagon rut. The car is in sight, though. We can see it through the waves of heat rolling off the frying pan beneath our feet. Kathryn, being younger and in considerably better shape, is a good fifteen feet ahead of me. That’s when I noticed movement on the ground between us.

A HUGE cockroach ran out from under a cart corral, merged with the flow of foot traffic down our lane, and began following closely behind Kathryn. Seriously, I’ve seen dogs smaller than this bug. I watched it for a few moments and then figured the nice thing to do would be to alert her that she has a stalker.

Calmly at first, she took evasive maneuvers. Kathryn zigged. The roach zigged. Kathryn zagged. The roach did the same. Kathryn picked up the pace. The roach broke into a sprint. At this point, Kathryn’s composure went out the window. She bolted for the safety of the car.

Clearly I needed a plan. I couldn’t leave my child to the mercy of this monster. I needed something with which to whack it. The only thing that came to mind was a shoe. And I was wearing flip flops, of course.

How hilarious this is going to be if I have to hobble around on one foot while removing my flip flop from the other to kill a bug that’s zig-zagging beneath us! Putting a bare foot down on the pavement is not an option. The one-legged hobble will have to do.

I went through this problem-solving process in about 2.4 seconds, not at all confident that the situation was going to turn out well. But our options were very limited. And since we had by then reached the car and thus the back forty, maybe this strange dance would not be witnessed by too many people.

And then we heard it… one cry from the skies above.  A shadow made circles on the ground around us. A seagull who’d been silently watching this bizarre choreography came down to save us. He spotted his prey and was not about to be deterred by two melting ladies dancing below him. He swooped in between us, scooped up the roach in his mouth and flew straight away just like that.

Photo courtesy of WolfBlur, Pixabay

It happened so quickly and was so unexpected that I didn’t quite have time to think through the possible consequences of a seagull soaring overhead with a squirming bug in its mouth. I was thankful for being spared a humiliating tango with a gargantuan roach in a parking lot.  Kathryn, however, wasted no time in adding her commentary to the situation. As we loaded our groceries into the trunk:

“I feel like The Circle of Life should start playing now.”

As if the day isn’t already peculiar enough, I now have a Disney song stuck in my head.

“Wondering when that thing is going to fall out of the sky on top of us.”

I suppressed the urge to cover my head with my hands and dive shrieking into the front seat.

“Well, I guess someone enjoyed their lunch.”

At this point I ceased to care what I was having for mine.

© 2015-2016 Our Lives in Stories


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