by Arnold Snyder
I went shopping for Dusty. She needed some women’s clothes and accessories and I only wanted the best for her. I found a beautiful silk scarf at Neiman Marcus. $130.00. It was long and colorful with an abstract flower pattern and would be easy to wrap around her, solving the whole dressing problem.
I was at a real loss for what kind of perfume to get her. The clerk at the fragrance counter tried to be helpful. She asked me how old my wife was. That stumped me right there. I said “about my age.” She asked me about her taste in clothes. I said she was old fashioned and liked classical looks more than modern. I showed her the scarf. “She likes things like this,” I said.
She insisted Chanel #5 would be the perfect choice. $125 for a tiny bottle. I got it.
But what to do about a hat? She’d specifically asked for a hat. Dusty didn’t really have a head. All of her leaves ended in pointed thorns. I finally decided on a slouchy-looking turquoise felt beret that looked like something I could hang on her just about anywhere. The turquoise matched some of the color streaks in the scarf I’d already purchased and the clerk assured me it was very high fashion. $95.
The store must have had a dozen makeup counters, one for every brand they carried. I decided Revlon would make her happy. It was a brand name and I knew that would be important to her. I picked a reddish brown lipstick that Revlon called “Enticing.”
“Would you like some lip gloss also?” the clerk asked. She was a pretty young woman, maybe in her early twenties. I know nothing about fashion, but I knew she was fashionably dressed.
“No, I think just this,” I said.
“How about some lip liner?”
“No, just the lipstick. That’s all.”
“Is this a gift? I can wrap it.”
“No, it’s fine as is.”
She rang it up and I was done in Neiman Marcus for only $18.00 more.
Finally, I stopped at a medical supply outlet.
“I need a wheelchair for my wife,” I told the old geezer behind the front counter.
“Motorized?” he said. He had some kind of an eye tic that kept him squinting and unsquinting his eyes.
“No, just regular,” I said. “She can’t operate controls. I have to push her.”
“How much does she weigh?”
“She pretty big, like sixty-five, maybe seventy pounds.”
“Seventy pounds? She’s very small for an adult. Come in the back and I’ll show you what we have.”
I followed him to a large back room, a warehouse actually. He called my attention to a half-dozen different non-motorized models. I chose one that looked like it would fold small enough to get into the back seat of my car, with a big enough seat to fit Dusty’s pot, and a seat belt to hold her in. $175.00.
As I was loading the wheelchair into my car, my phone rang. It was Pete.
“Hey,” I said.
“Whatcha doing, Morg?”
“I’m out shopping. Getting some groceries.” There was no way I would tell him I’d just blown more than $500 getting stuff for Dusty so I could take her on a date.
“C’mon over to the Hippo tonight,” he said. “I’ll comp you a pitcher.”
“No can do,” I said.
“Is it because of that … cactus?”
“I’m not really into strip clubs anymore,” I said.
“Is that so? You’ve already had your fill of breasts in this lifetime, is that it?”
“I’m looking for something deeper, Pete. Not that you’d know anything about that.”
“That girl’s got you pussy-whipped, Morg, and she doesn’t even have a pussy. I’m working grave tonight. If you get an itch to see some tits later, I’ve got a pitcher of beer waiting for you. I’ll be on till six. Just in case you come to your senses.”
Go to Chapter Eight