Once Upon a Time, in a Galaxy named for a Candy Bar …

Yes, children, it is time for a story. I love stories, don’t you? Must be the Irish in us. At any rate …

This young girl named Jenny who had dimples and auburn hair skipped toward the neighborhood grocery with $2.50 in her hand. The $2 was for milk her mother needed and the $.50 she could spend on whatever she wanted. Being a responsible youngster, she put the milk in her cart first. In those days you could enter the store in bare feet, but it was a bad idea. Somebody had spilled sticky something on the floor. Jenny felt it pull at the bottom of her feet as soon as she stepped into the liquor aisle.

She sat down and turned her foot up to look. What was that aroma? Her mother definitely would not like it, but she touched her finger to the bottom of her left foot and then to her tongue. Ummm, it tasted like caramel and something else. Jenny looked around her at the floor. There was quite a puddle of this stuff. She noticed where someone had shoved broken green glass under the counter. A label on a piece of the glass said, “ish Cream.” Jenny put her palm right into the sticky puddle on the floor and slurped up the yummy stuff, several times. After a while, she began to feel warm and the liquor aisle got a little fuzzy looking. She looked at all the bottles on the shelves to see whether she had enough money to get some Ish Cream, but she couldn’t find any.

About this time, a clerk came into the aisle. “Honey, are you all right?”

“I’m wondering whether you could show me where the Ish Cream is?” Why did her words slur?

“I’m not familiar with that product.”

“There’s a broken bottle of it there on the floor.”

“Oh, my dear, that’s Irish Cream. Here it is. But you aren’t 21, are you?”

She didn’t know what how old she was had to do with it, but clearly, she didn’t have enough money. What would be a good substitute? How about a Milky Way? She headed to the check-out stand, but her balance was off and she teetered into a display of pancake syrup. The bottles swayed crazily, there was a loud crash, bottle tops flew off the plastic bottles, and syrup went everywhere. Little kids, who had been obediently holding onto their mother’s carts, shouted with joy and came skidding into the syrup. The boys lay down and flipped themselves over and over, mouths open, tongues licking. Little girls sat at the fringe, scooping syrup into their palms. Mothers screamed and came running. Jenny tottered in the other direction.

The loudspeaker said, “Clean up on Aisle 4! 911!”

Jenny uturned around the end of Aisle 4 into Aisle 5. However, her trajectory was a little off and she ran smack into an old lady waiting for a prescription.

“Well! I never!” The old lady grabbed the end of the counter to steady herself, but missed and sent rolls of toilet paper flying through the air. One of them bopped a bald-headed man right on top of the head. Jenny had to laugh or explode. He picked up the toilet paper and threw it at the old lady, but he missed and hit a teenager with a nose ring. The battle was on. Jenny sneaked quietly away. She still had to figure out how to spend her $.50, after all. Her tummy was feeling a little woozy, so she nixed the idea of the Milky Way. How about a toy?

In the toy aisle a mother argued with her toddler about a toy he clutched.

The mother shook her finger at the child. “I told you, it has to be less than $1 or you can’t have it. That’s $3.50. Pick something else.”

“Me want this one.”

Mom attempted to wrench the toy from the toddler’s grasp, but instead her elbow flew back and cocked Jenny in the chin. Jenny did a face plant right under the spinwheels.

The toddler pointed at a spinwheel. “I like that one, too.”

The mother checked the price. “Good, I’ll trade you. Thank you, young lady, you just saved my life.” She merrily rolled her cart, toddler spinning the wheel, away, leaving Jenny to pick herself up. Jenny rolled to her left, but couldn’t find her balance. She rolled to her right, same thing. She rolled onto her belly, and just then her stomach heaved and she threw up on a clerk’s shoes. However, she did feel a little better and was able to get up.

Once she did, she noticed a young girl, maybe about her age, but thin and scraggly. Her hair hadn’t been washed in an eon, her clothes were dirty and torn, and her shoes didn’t have bottoms. Now you’re expecting Jenny to give the girl her $.50, aren’t you? That would tie up the story in a neat little bow, like on Facebook. However, that is not what happened. Jenny looked the girl up and down and said, “There’s some Irish Cream on the floor in the liquor aisle that will make you feel a lot better. I left you some.” Jenny bought a bag of Takis, and hot-footed it home to tell her story before the store could call.

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