Tuesday, August 09, 2005
George was methodical. He unpacked the grocery bag, item by item, and stacked the wares on the table. The cappuccino, the green beans, the mineral water, and everything else. It looked OK. His eyes darted back and forth running inventory on the products he was about to put away. He always performed this check, comparing his shopping list with the receipt and with the wares, to ascertain the sterling symmetry of his trip to the supermarket. That's when it struck him. A lady's head mingled among the items he'd purchased. It had eyes, a nose, supple red lips, and the pupils were trained right on him, tracking him as he paced nervously up and down the before the table. This threw his entire ordered system out the window. Wherever did the head come from? Once again he compared his documentation with the actual items. The paprika, the apricot jam, the milk, and everything else belonged. But not the head. No matter how he crunched the numbers, the head was always left over. He was in a state of immense agitation at the breakdown of his meticulousness, as he spied the suggestion of delicate, skin-colored fingers wiggling around below the head's chin. He let out a sudden shriek, jumping slightly in the air. He'd heard about ladyfingers, those sweet, finger-sized sponge cakes you served with coffee. He had selected a pastry to go with the cappuccino. Might they have been ladyfingers? He hurriedly packed his shopping into the cupboard. The head was relegated to the refrigerator, behind a melon, face turned inwards, away from the door. He did not want to see the eyes staring at him when he searched for a snack. George returned to the supermarket to post a notice on their bulletin board about a missing head. But he never went shopping there again.