Mary and Robert

“We need eggs,” Mary hissed at Robert, as the cart Robert pushed creaked along down the over-bright pet aisle, “you’re going the wrong way.”

“Oh hush, woman!” Robert whispered back, then he chuckled and dodged, nearly toppling a perfectly stacked pyramid of cat food tins with the cart, as Mary smacked him with her purse.

“Good God, man, do you really want to get the whole store’s attention? We’re too old to do this the hard way, you’ll throw out your back again trying to get out the damn door! Did you see the size of that door greeter?”

“Oh he’s big alright, but I’m faster.” Robert said, and sped up just a tad.

“It’s not your speed I’m worried about, Robbie, it’s what’s going to happen when that man lands in your way.” She scolded, then she sped up and passed him with a gentle jab to the side.

“You never let me have any fun anymore.” Robert grumbled, slowing down as Mary turned them towards those eggs.

“If you think fun is a jail cell at our age, you’re out of your mind.” Mary retorted. She sped up a bit and then grew quiet.

“You missed the eggs, woman!” Robert whispered loudly, then he ducked before Mary had a chance to land another blow with the purse, but she didn’t swing. She turned around and grabbed the first carton of eggs she saw and set them right on the bread without looking.

“Mary, you squashed the bread.” Robert said softly. He abandoned the cart and gently took Mary by the arm. “What is it? What are you thinking about?” Mary glanced at him, then turned and moved the eggs. She carefully tried to right the bread as she spoke.

“I want to go back to Dublin, to that little tavern where we met.” She said.

“Mary, we’ve been over it a hundred times. How can we afford a trip to Europe? It would wipe out our savings.”

“You promised, Robert.”

“That was 50 years ago. We were 20 and thought the game would make us rich by 30.” Robert laughed. Mary scowled. “Ah come on, Mary, cheer up.”

“And you’re the one complaining that I never let you have any fun.” Mary turned down another aisle and quickly palmed a tube of lipstick, then deposited it in her purse.

“Getting caught shoplifting might get us a few nights in jail, Mary, but spending every dime we have to get to Dublin would wipe us out, and for what? What if one of us needs a stay in the hospital? At our age, it’s just a matter of time.” Mary sighed as they turned down the baking aisle. She stuck a jar of turmeric in her pocket and paused at the nuts.

“I know Robbie. Everything just seems stale these days. I feel like we’d somehow come to life again if we went back. It’s stupid, I know.” She grabbed a large bag of pecans and turned to Robert “Pecan pie?” He nodded. She tossed them in the cart and continued towards the front to check out.

“It’s not stupid. I understand what you mean, and I feel the same way, but it wasn’t Dublin that made us feel so alive back then, Mary.” Robert paused for a moment and stroked his chin. Suddenly the corner of his mouth shot up into a smirk, and Mary saw the old mischievous spark in his eye. “I know just what you need, my love.” Mary gave Robert a quizzical look. Robert laughed.

“Robbie, what are you thinking?”

“You know.”

“But you’ll…”

“So what.”

“We can’t just…”

“And why not?”

“They’ll catch us…”

“We’re old, they’ll go easy on us.”

“I don’t know. It’s been so long…”

“You know what to do.”

“Robbie…”

“On three.”

“Don’t…”

“Just like the good old days.”

“You’re crazy, old man.” Mary started to smile, despite herself.

“One…”

“Oh Christ, you’re serious.” Mary chuckled quietly.

“Two…”

“We’re really going to do this?”

“Three.” Mary pulled a small gun from her purse as Robert pulled a slightly larger gun from the inside pocket of his jacket. “Ladies and gentlemen,” Robert announced loudly as they approached the line at the register, “this is a robbery.”

 

2-5-17

 

 

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