Yet this was an odd odor. Grocery stores have their own smells, like the weird produce smell or the smell of fish back in the seafood department or the smell of dog food or cleaning supplies. If you chew gum and walk through the detergent aisle you’re going to taste Tide for the rest of the day. But this was none of the above. It wasn’t a bad smell. It wasn’t like he had stepped in something on the way in or had some sort of crisis with his body functions. It was out of context however, and then it hit me; burned chicken grease. Either this man worked somewhere in fast food or he had put out a fire at a KFC. Or it might have been he was an alien and this is the perfume they wear hoping to mask who or what they really are, thinking the smell of burned chicken grease might just blend in down here. I mean, do you know anyone else who would have connected aliens and fast food smells other than me?
Anyway, the Chicken Grease Alien was standing there and I couldn’t figure out what he was buying. An older woman was in front of him, and she had a ton of stuff, but CGA didn’t seem to have much at all. You have already guessed, I would hope, the two were actually together, but at the time I couldn’t figure it out. I read a story once about a guy who went into a store and stood in line behind people and people got behind him but when he got up to the cashier he opened up on her with a hand gun. She was his ex-wife and for some reason he thought shooting her would make things right again, and then he shot himself, and I guess that did make things right again. I always watch for that sort of thing when I’m in public. You know some people are paranoid about snakes when they’re around water or in the woods? They’ll walk high stepping with their heels as if snakes are the leading cause of unnatural death of human beings, when it gets down to it, human beings are, or chicken grease.
I’ve seen weirdness with people before, you know. I saw the cops drag a man out of a factory where I worked because he wanted to talk to his ex, and she had a restraining order out on him. He just walked in and started looking for her, yelling her name out and wandering around. The factory was a fairly good sized place. Someone wearing no protective gear, yelling, and wandering around generated a fair amount of attention and none of it the right kind. I watched as the deputies confronted him, he snarled at them, they grabbed him and wrestled him down to the floor and he fought them.
I don’t think this has anything to do with love, anymore than rape has anything to do with sex. I think once a guy loses a woman, especially a woman he’s treated poorly, there’s this odd species of pretzel logic that kicks in and tells him if he goes out and does insane things that will convince her to come back, or maybe it’s he thinks as bad as he’s treated her, hell, she doesn’t have a say in how he gets her back, I have no idea, really. Clearly, I’m one of those guys who is easy to get rid of, or at least I’ve never stormed the battery factory shouting, “Stella!” in the rain. Not that it has ever rained in that factory, mind you.
There are people behind me, full carts and they aren’t thinking of aliens or the fact this guy ahead of me might just pull a gun and start shooting. Hell, the cashier doesn’t look nervous, and she doesn’t look like the Chicken Grease type either, but dog only knows what makes people attracted to one another. So what if he does pull a gun? Yeah, Rambo Firesmith kicks in, and saves the day, right? Or stands there with his mouth open and watches helplessly. Or runs like hell, pushing carts and old ladies out of the way, anything just to get to the cat litter aisle where there are at least some sandbags, right? Maybe the people who aren’t looking for other people to go off the deep end are more like me when it comes to snakes; it never occurs to me to be afraid of snakes so I’m never worried about it. Yet the fact remains that Chicken Grease Man, if he isn’t an alien, is a lot more dangerous than your average rattlesnake. If he is an alien and pulls out a phased plasma rifle in the forty watt range I can only assume I am truly and totally screwed.
Yet here I am. Chicken Grease Man, if he isn’t an alien, was with the older woman and he helps cart her stuff away. The cashier whose name isn’t Stella smiles and asks me if I found everything okay, and I did or I wouldn’t be speaking with a cashier, would I? No, I have never said that to a cashier because they deal with far too many weird people, and aliens, as it is.