As soon as Neil walked through the door, Jenni knew something was off.
“You look like you sucked on a lemon. What’s with you?” she asked.
“I think I’m becoming a crotchety old man,” grumbled Neil.
Jenni shrugged. “You’re not that old.”
“Nice. Thanks a lot.”
“Gee, aren’t you touchy. What happened?”
“I was at the checkout at the dollar store. The old man ahead of me looked like he was buying all his groceries. It took forever. And when he was done, he didn’t leave. He kept talking to the cashier,” said Neil.
“So? Be more patient,” said Jenni.
Neil’s eyes bulged. “It wasn’t just me. The cashier started checking me through and the old guy didn’t move. He was right in front of the debit machine. I reached in front of him. Did he step aside? No. It was so awkward.”
“Did you say anything to him?”
“Well then, what did you expect?” asked Jenni.
“Did I mention he smelled? It was like a mix of rotting teeth, four kinds of poo and fermenting bacteria on his skin. It was toxic,” ranted Neil.
“Just to make sure I understand this,” started Jenni. “A poverty stricken, lonely old man scraped together his loose change to buy what little food he could afford, enjoying the only meaningful human interaction he ever gets, to the horror and disgust of someone who is too myopic to understand the world around him. Am I close?”
Neil’s face flushed. “What?” he choked.
“Don’t take it too hard. At least you’re partially right,” smiled Jenni. “You are crotchety.”