Expiration Dates

“Not now, kid, I’m shopping.”

“   ?  ”

“Tell you what, I don’t care about any kind of soccer, much less ‘youth soccer,’ so hit somebody else up, OK? I’m not having a particularly good day.”

“   .  ”

“So maybe I did say I’d donate on my way out. So what? Does it look like I’m on my way out? See these? These are cashews, kid. Canned cashews. Last for years. If you were smart you’d be stocking up. Pretty soon winning some goddamned youth soccer game’s gonna be your least concern.”

“   .  ”

“You’re right, you’re right—or at least your mother is—people shouldn’t swear in front of little kids—”

“   .  ”

“All right, I shouldn’t swear in front of little kids. Jesus Christ, where’s your mother? Maybe I’ll swear in front of her. And don’t give me any crap about saying ‘Jesus Christ’—or for saying ‘crap’—don’t give me any crap about saying ‘crap.’ So you followed me inside the store  because why?”

“   .  ”

“Because you have to leave now? So leave. Vamoose. See you later.”

“   .  ”

“Listen, kiddo—hey, what are you anyway? Mixed? Mulatto? Or just mixed up? Listen, whatever you are, when I entered this store I did not promise to give your youth soccer team a donation. Period.”

“   .  ”

“I am not lying. What is with you people today?”

“   .  ”

“Good, I’m glad your mother’s coming. Tell her to take you home, anywhere, just away from me.”

“   .  ”

“Which one’s your mother?”

“   .  ”

“What’s your name, kid?”

“   .  ”

“Manny. Good name, good name. Tell you what . . . Manny . . . here’s a couple of bucks for the team. Now you just stay right here, Manny, my boy. Let me tell you how to be prepared, about what’s in my cart.”

 

 

Richard Downing

Richard Downing has received awards/recognition from the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, New Delta Review, New Woman Magazine, Juked, Split This Rock, Boston Review, Gemini, Firewheel Press, Press 53, Concrete Wolf, Ashland Press, Colorado Review, and Solstice. His work appears in journals and anthologies such as Arts & Letters, Dire Elegies, and Prime Number. He holds a PhD in English and is an activist concerned with systemic racism, income equality, and fostering dogs. Richard recommends Feeding Tampa Bay.

 

Edited for Unlikely by Jonathan Penton, Editor-in-Chief
Last revised on Thursday, July 14, 2022 - 12:24