Boca knights excerpt
I drove from State Road 7 to the Regency Shopping Center on Powerline Road. When I walked into the Publix Supermarket I was still ruminating about the “haves and have nots” in the area. I had a throbbing headache. I was hungry. I needed a nap.
The supermarket was crowded, and the lines at the registers were long. After waiting patiently for fifteen minutes in line, it was my turn. I started unloading my groceries on the counter when a short, white-haired old lady darted in front of me and started placing her items on the counter.
“Excuse me, but I’m waiting here,” I said politely.
The woman looked at me over bifocals. “So wait,” she said, as if it was logical.
This drew a few laughs from people behind me in line, but the woman didn’t acknowledge the attention. She just unloaded her cart casually. The teenage boy at the register, dressed in Goth black under his mandatory green Publix vest, smirked at me.
Bing! One red spot. “Stay calm,” I said to myself, knowing that mayhem was only a red spot away. I studied the old woman in front me. Why was she in such a hurry? How old was she? I guessed mid seventies.
“Stop staring at me,” she said, glaring.
“I’m not staring at you.”
“Yes you are,” she snapped. I noticed that there weren’t any wrinkles around her eyes. I glanced at her hands holding a hundred-dollar bill towards the Goth. They didn’t look like an old woman’s hands. Alarm. Distraction Action! I watched as the cashier took the woman’s money. He placed the hundred in the cash drawer on top of other hundreds.
I’ll be damned, I said to myself.
The cashier gave the woman forty dollars in change, which she put in her pocketbook. She gave me a “get over it” look and walked across the aisle to the Customer Service counter. I watched her. She cut in front of two people in the Customer Service line, creating a minor disturbance. She cashed a check, producing two forms of identification while arguing with the two people she had cut off.
“I’ll be damned,” I said, out loud this time
When the cashier gave me my change, I pointed to the hundred dollar bill the woman had just given him.
“I want that hundred,” I told him. I took two fifties from my wallet and held them out to him.
He looked exasperated.
“Next, please,” he said.
Bing! Bing! Two red spots.
“What didn’t you understand?” I was losing my temper. “I told you I want that hundred dollar bill for my two fifties.”
“I heard you,” he said, “Next.”
Bing! Bing! Bing! Man overboard!
“If you don’t give me that hundred, I’m gonna pull that ring right out of your nose and stick it in your ear.”
“You don’t scare me, you old geezer,” the cashier said.
I had never been called a geezer. Under different circumstances I might have thought it was funny. But with this imbecile, I was seeing red. I made a move with my right hand for his left nostril. He jumped backwards and held both hands over his nose. “Are you crazy?” he shouted.
I reached across the counter and removed the hundred-dollar bill I wanted from the register. I placed my two fifties in the drawer.
“Hey, you can’t do that,” he protested.
“I can’t do what? Give you two good fifties for this phony C-note?” I held the bill up to the light to confirm my suspicion.