By Eric Suhem
On a snowy winter’s evening in a small Sierra mountain town, Colin held a chunk of ice in his coat pocket, disguising it as a gun, as he demanded money from the liquor store cashier. The alarmed cashier jumped back and slipped on a melting ice cube, falling and hitting his head on the linoleum floor. The man later died, and the fugitive Colin fled the store, never captured, the sound of boots crushing into the packed snow reverberating in his mind.
Colin eventually got a job as a waiter at a vegetarian restaurant in the Sierras. One evening, all of the customers began tapping their water glasses with spoons, complaining to Colin, “We specifically requested crushed ice, yet you gave us ice cubes, can you imagine how disappointed we are?” All of the customers were in town for a cashier convention. The restaurant’s manager intervened, asking Colin and Peggy, one of the restaurant’s cashiers, to go to the market and get crushed ice.
As Colin drove to the convenience store, with Peggy in the passenger seat, he noticed, oddly, that she had a big ball of yarn, and was snapping at it industriously with two large knitting needles, while wearing an apron adorned with bouncing apples and oranges. Upon further inspection, he determined that Peggy was knitting a machine gun. Her response, when asked about it, was a cheerful “Well, everybody needs a hobby!”
They pulled the Toyota Camry into the parking lot of the convenience store. Colin got out, and got in line, as Peggy stayed in the car, busy knitting the gun’s trigger. A woman who was queued in front of Colin, wearing a turquoise and neon green dress approached the cashier, “In the freezer section, I noticed only bags of ice cubes for sale, when I needed to get crushed ice…”
“I’m sorry we only sell ice cubes,” said the cashier.
“Well I had gone to the casinos in Reno for my crushed ice,” the woman said, “but all I could get was shavings from the discount tubs at the buffets, and most of that was partially melted, and filled with disagreeable pieces of parsley, and sweat from swarthy buffet workers, and…”
“Enough!” said the cashier, holding up her hand. “Go home and crush the cubes with a hammer. Next!” The woman walked away, in tears.
Colin was next in line. “I need some crushed ice…” he began. The cashier held up her hand, ready to wave Colin away, when she glanced out the window at the Toyota, seeing the jolly Peggy hold the knitted machine gun against the passenger window. The cashier looked at Colin, beads of sweat suddenly perspiring on her forehead, and reached down into a small freezer underneath the cash register, retrieving a bag of crushed ice. “89 cents,” she worriedly said to Colin, who gave her a dollar, and got back 11 cents in change, which he put into his pocket, bypassing the tip jar.
As Colin returned to the car with crushed ice, Peggy finished her knitting. “Colin, dear, did you leave the change for the cashier in the tip jar?”
“Are you kidding?” he smirked, looking at her crocheted yarn gun and laughing, “Is that something for next week’s sewing circle?”
Peggy pointed it at his temple, and clicked the trigger, saying, “Thanks for shopping with us.” It took her 3 hours to clean the blood out of the car upholstery.
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Eric Suhem lives in California and enjoys the qualities of his vegetable juicer.
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