Dream of: 11 May 1998 "Cookies"

In his little red Volkswagen bug, Anderson had come out to Patriot to pick me up. Only recently had I moved to Patriot. Also in the Volkswagen with Anderson and me was my uncle George. As Anderson sped along in the Volkswagen, I began talking to George about my recent move to Patriot. Almost as soon as I had settled in to my new abode, I had had a problem — I had been given a ticket by the police because my pet Dalmatian Picasso and my pet Dalmatian Chaucer had been running loose. I was rather miffed by the tickets and had already decided that I was going to request a jury trial. It seemed ridiculous to me that I should be given a ticket when the dogs just happened to run out in the street in front of my own house. I was already thinking of my jury argument. I would explain to the jury that Patriot had changed dramatically from the way I remembered it. When I had been a young boy, there had only been a few houses in Patriot. There hadn't been any police department or fire department as there was today. There certainly had been no law against dogs running loose. I would explain to the jury that I hadn't been aware of all the changes.

As we rode along, I noticed the rural area around me had also changed dramatically since the time of my youth. Many more houses now lined the road. Where stands of trees once had loomed, small communities had grown up. It was rather depressing to see how people seemed to be crowding in everywhere.

Anderson was driving rather fast. I was sitting in the front seat, and as we rounded one curve, I slid down into the floorboard, expecting that he was going to fly off the road. But he seemed to be adept at handling the little car, and we continued on down the road.

After traveling a short distance farther, Anderson pulled into a small country store. While Anderson and George waited, I stepped out of the car and walked into the store. I wanted to buy a candy bar and began scanning the racks for the candy. Finally I saw the colorful candy wrappers and walked up to the rack. The selection was rather sparse. I reflected that I hardly ever ate candy bars anymore. But this seemed like a good time to do so. I saw some Reese peanut butter cups. I knew they were extremely fattening and that I hadn't had one of those in a long time. I finally decided against them.

Instead I thought I probably should buy something which Anderson and George could also eat. Finally I saw a package of cookies, the layer kind with soft white spread in the middle. I picked up the package of a dozen or more cookies and saw the price of $1.19 on it. I decided to buy this and walked up to the counter with the package.

The dark-haired man behind the counter was probably in his mid 30s. He looked at the package of cookies, rang it up, and told me how much it was. I thought he said $1.36 and I began counting out some change on the counter. It seemed as if he might be overcharging me some, but I didn't feel like arguing. However, when I had counted out the money, he indicated that I hadn't given him enough. I asked him how much it cost and he mumbled something which I couldn't understand. I was beginning to think he was a foreigner who couldn't speak English well. Again I asked him the price and again he mumbled something garbled. Finally I asked him if he would just write the price down on a piece of paper so I could see it. I also picked up the package of cookies and pointed out the price of $1.19 on the side. He immediately seemed surprised at the price and rang up the cookies again. This time he clearly stated that the price was $1.21. I counted out $1.21 in change and scooted it across the counter to him. He seemed satisfied, and in turn he handed me a device made of light gray plastic. It was about the size of a television remote control, only thicker. He indicated that I should stick the device into some kind of machine in the store, and then I would receive discounts on future purchases. He mentioned that I could come in every morning to receive the discounts.

But I wasn't in the least interested in this device. I would probably never be in this store again. I turned to a woman who had walked up behind me, waiting to purchase something, and extending the device to her, I asked, "Do you want this?'

I was simply trying to be friendly. But she appeared a little upset because my purchase had taken so long and she curtly responded, "You can just go on."

I laid the device back down on the counter, thinking someone else might pick it up and use it. Then I turned with my cookies and headed toward the door.

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