This is the first in a series of short vignettes featuring the characters from the new book, Where Fools Dare to Tread: A Monk Buttman Mystery, which was be released on February 21st.
Monk and Agnes at the store:
“What’s wrong with chips?” Agnes demanded.
“They’re not healthy! It’s important to eat healthy.” I assumed that went without saying.
“So what are you saying?”
“We’re not getting any chips,” I said.
“But I like chips! I want to have some chips. I’m not going to just eat apples and stuff.”
“Stuff?” Apparently that was her term for the other food in the shopping cart.
“Stuff!” she huffed.
We stood in the junk food isle sizing each other up. Some things between us made sense, the dancing, the drinking, the sex. Other weighty matters such as basic foodstuffs were more problematic. Agnes’ pantry was, minus the canned soup and Cheetos, empty. We had an upcoming road trip that required something more than canned soup and Cheetos.
Our relationship was a little more than a week old.
“What exactly do you eat? You’ve already stated your lack of interest in cooking, so…” I was hoping it wasn’t just bar food at Johnny’s.
Agnes feigned shock. “It’s not just bar food, if that’s what you think. I have a functioning microwave and I go out to nice places too.”
“What’s uh-huh supposed to mean?” She was trying to be put out, placing her hands on her hips for emphasis. I thought it was cute.
“It means your diet is a disaster,” I said, mimicking her with my hands on my hips.
“I don’t think it’s a disaster, Buttman!”
“I’m sure you don’t, but if you have designs on me then you’re going to have to get used to regular food, not chemicals in a frozen box or restaurant food marinated in salt and sugar.”
Agnes frowned. “I eat salads at restaurants, you know.”
“And I didn’t say I had designs on you,” she harrumphed.
“Oh, I think you did, just the other night!” I said this with righteous certitude. Agnes continued to frown.
“Excuse me!” I turned to find an exasperated heavy-set woman pushing a cart with two kids shoehorned into a plastic car attached to the front of it. “You’re in the way!”
I stepped back, allowing her to grab three bags of potato chips. The woman snarled at me as she moved on.
“Exhibit A,” I said once the woman was out of earshot.
“I don’t eat that much!” Agnes protested.
“You also told me, the other night, that you’d like to have someone look out for you and make sure you’re eating right, remember?”
“That doesn’t count…”
“Because I’d been drinking and I was horny, that’s why!” She seemed surprised I would even ask.
Agnes shook her head. “Does this mean I can’t eat pizza or fried chicken or a burger because I like you?”
I shook my head. “No, it means we take it easy on the junk, and if you’re in the mood for pizza or chicken or a burger, we make our own. It’s better that way.” I put my arm around her and kissed her forehead. “We need to finish up, we don’t have all night.”
“Fine, but I have to have some cookies. I won’t budge on that!” she pouted.
“Fine,” I sighed.
I let her go and we left the junk food aisle to its own thoughts.
©2019 David William Pearce