Let us review. No money. No car. No cell phone. Now what?
The computer! I will find an unsecured wireless network and e-mail BFSK S. (Best friend Since Kindergarten) for help. She would not be happy, but she would never leave me stranded in the Wal-Mart parking lot. It is official. I have a plan.
It may have been more realistic to attempt to shoplift a bicycle from inside the Wal-Mart,conceal it in the front of my pants, then ride it home to retrieve my wallet. There was no unsecured wireless network available. Of course not.
The contents of my purse yielded twelve quarters, a couple dimes and a bunch of sticky pennies. All total, $3.27. Disbelief quickly turned to panic. Options, I need options. There are no pay phones at Wal-Mart. I am certain there are no pay phones left in the civilized world. You cannot buy a cell phone charger for three bucks and change. I am a horrid bitch with very few redeeming qualities, but I am not a thief. Stealing a bicycle was out of the question.
What does this leave? Let’s see, I might have been able to afford a poster board and a Marks A-Lot to fashion a sign that said “Will Work for Tire Repair” but alongside the “No Parking in Fire Lane” signs were “No Soliciting” signs. Soliciting? Begging? Same thing. This was not a good option.
When you behave in a way that is so offensive to those who encounter you, even on a casual basis, it is then difficult to demand favors, or for that matter forgiveness and be met with anything other than loathing and disdain. That is one of the problems of being me. Being mean and being me. Clearly, there was no one at Wal-Mart that was going to come to my rescue.
How much could it cost to repair a tire? I did not have a clue, but I was sure it was more than $3.27. I looked through the laptop bag for more quarters or a stray twenty-dollar bill. I knew better, but unexpected windfalls do happen occasionally. Mostly on laundry day, but they do happen. Besides, I was desperate. Panic-stricken is more like it. I was head between your knees, breathe in to a brown paper bag, heart palpitating, aneurysm generating, anxiety attack inducing desperate. Worst of all, I was alone.
I am a total bad-ass when I have my posse with me. Kind of like High school, it is much easier to be a Mean Girl if your friends are around. My friends AMEX, Wells Fargo, Hilda and T-Mobile all split and left me alone. I was the new girl at school cornered in the bathroom by Sam Walton and his friend Stan The Man who were about to beat the snot out of me in the next ten minutes if I didn’t come up with ten bucks.
One last look in the laptop bag produced a credit card. "I have a credit card! Thank God, I am saved! I am going to pay for the tire, then go directly to Starbucks for a ten thousand-carb latte and a muffin!" " Let them eat Muffins!”
No, wait… This is one of Mr. Fussy Pant’s credit cards. Fussy thinks it is a real laugh riot to give me a credit card then go on line and put a hold on the available credit. He then monitors the account in real time waiting for me to try to use the card. This is Mortgage Company humor. I learned a long time ago only to use his credit cards at ATM machines to avoid embarrassment. I have had this card in the bottom of my bag for so long that I do not remember the pin number. SHITDAMNHELLCRAP. It is only ten bucks we are talking about here. This has to work. I estimated my odds at about 5 to 1. I am playing with capped dice.
Stan the Man came to tell me my car was done. I followed him on shaky legs to the cashier. Dead woman walking. I promised myself I would leave the Wal-Mart with my dignity intact even if that meant I left on new cute summer sandals (that would certainly rub blisters before I was out of the parking lot) , rather than at the wheel of Hilda, the miracle of German engineering.
The woman behind the register resembled Nurse Ratched (Ratchet in this case). There would be no sympathy here. She would call the orderlies with straight jackets and Demerol filled hypodermics at the slightest provocation. This had to work. Ratchet typed a series of mystery numbers in to the computer. She asked for personal information. She prepared an envelope with my name and Hilda’s description on the front. “All of this for a tire patch”? I was too weak to argue.
“That will be $111.82,” Ratchet announced. “Excuse Me?” I whimpered. “$111.82, cash or charge?” She replied.
Usually? Ordinarily? On any other day of my estrogen infused life, this would have set off a fit of outrage that would have made for tales of Urban Legend in the employee break room of Wal-Mart for weeks to come. On this day, at that moment, my response? A barely audible, “Charge.”
I reluctantly handed over the card and started to pray.
“Ummm, Ma'am this card is expired” …
To be continued…