This week’s prompt:
A spelling bee contestant, a long lost love spotted in the super market, air freshener
Jeremy frowned at the sign. It was one of those cutsey ones with a twee little frame around a chalk board. Of course there was some kind of plastic vine woven around it.
“Try Our Charcutery Board” The sign implored. As if anything from a supermarket deli could aspire to anything that could be called that.
“Excuse me,” he said, pulling his hand basket full of air freshener and cat food closer to himself.
“Excuse me,” he said again a little louder and this time the stocky middle aged woman behind the counter turned to looked at him. She failed to hide the weariness and general loathing for the public she must have felt for the general public. She took off the flimsy clear plastic gloves and reached for a new pair while opening the back of the deli case.
“What can a I get for you,” she said and her voice sounded almost genuine.
“This sign,” Jeremy pointed at the chalkboard. “I need to talk to someone about this.”
“Those are only available by special order. You wil need to call or come in during regular business hours to talk to the girl that handles them. If you want, I can take your name and number-”
“No, no,” Jeremy could not keep the impatience from his voice. “I do not have any desire to purchase one. I need to talk to whoever made the sign.”
The woman looked confused for a moment. He saw now that her name badge read “Destyney.” Inside he wanted to scream. Was spelling not a thing any more. Did no one care?
“You need to talk to whoever wrote the sign?” Destyney repeated.
“Yes,” Jeremy said, filling his voice with all the indignant outrage he was feeling inside.
“It is misspelled. I need to speak to them immediately.”
“Look,” the woman said, pulling the case shut and tossing another pair of gloves away before pulling out a new set. “The signs are done on morning shift, I have no idea who wrote it. And even if I did, they are not here right now.”
“This is unacceptable!” Jeremy spluttered. “That is not how you spell Charcuterie!”
“As important as that it, I am will just have to leave a note for the morning shift.”
“It IS important,” Jeremy huffed. “I was the 1999 state spelling bee champion. I know how it is supossed to be spelled.”
“Well, congratulations to you,” Destyney did not hide her disdain this time. “But this is 2019 and a Deli, not a junior high gymnasium. If you are not going to buy anything, I will have to get back to work.” She turned her back on Jeremy.
Jeremy spluttered and fumed for a moment more before making the decision to snatch the offending board off the case and scrub the chalk off the front of it.
“This is an affront to all educated people,” he snarled slamming hte slate back on top of the glass. The deli worker gave him a look that was full of contempt, but he did not care. HE knew how to spell Charcuterie, even if they did not.
As he stormed out of the deli and to the nearest self check out lane, his righteous indignation pushing him though, he heard another voice behind him.
“Jeremy?” he turned to face the speaker, still angry about the sign.
“What?” He snarled before he saw who was addressing him. His eyes widened and his mouth went dry.
“B-Brenda?” he stammered. “Is that you?” She had been his high school crush. She never talked to him then, and went on to become a local celebrity. He had dreamed of seeing her again for years.
“Last I checked the woman said. Her face was carefully neutral, the years of television reporting had given her a mask nothing could unseat.
“So it IS you,” she said looking closer for a moment. “Who else besides you would still be hanging onto the dubious laurel of a state spelling bee and using it to harass deli employees.”
Brenda cut him off with a gesture. “I really do not care. I just wanted to see if I was right. Do take care, Jeremy.” Without another word, she left him standing there with the self checkout machine beeping at him.