Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: THE UGLY TOURIST (07/09/15)
TITLE: A Series of Fortunate Events
By Amy Gaudette
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I put my rumpled Ford pick-up in reverse and said a prayer. It was THAT time of year again in our sleepy village, Memorial Day weekend, a period of three months when normal genteel folk who mind their own business, pay attention to stop signs, show respect to pedestrians, are ramrodded, puddled, elbowed, and more, by a group of rude, self-occupied people as they infiltrate and infect our entire way of life.
I had lived here in Button Harbor for my whole life – all 31 years of it – and the only thing summer brought to me was the distinctly unpleasant swell of our population from a quaint 500 souls to over 2,500. It was really too much for this area. So here I was, Saturday morning heading to the grocery store to stock up on essentials. You know, dark chocolate bars and fresh pasta before THEY bought everything out.
I pressed on the gas and backed out. . . hoooonnnkkkk! I slammed on my breaks and nearly gave myself a whiplash. What? Figures, an out of state license plate on a shiny red Fiat passing in a no passing zone. It all begins. I was furious. I could have been killed.
My heart racing, I headed to the grocery store for that chocolate. I needed it now more then ever. I turned to pull into the parking lot and quickly reprimanded myself. What was I thinking shopping on a Saturday morning during the summer? There were no parking spots until I found one next to . . . a shiny red Fiat with an out of state license plate, taking up two spots, no less.
Well, I thought to myself, I will show him.
I parked nice and close, and inched my way out of the truck. Many adjectives came to mind at that moment, none of them nice. I headed into the store, wading through a sea of people, none that were familiar, and grabbed my survival food. Breathe, just breathe, as I was elbowed by a teenager reaching for a box of Fruit Loops, his shorts three sizes too big.
Not one familiar face in sight except the cashier. She was chitchatting with a man in a tan T-shirt with two little girls. On and on he talked asking all kinds of questions about our area. The two girls tugged and pleaded with their dad waving chocolate bars in their hands.
Great. Just my luck to get behind a vacationer. My impatience began to boil, my blood pressure rose, and I'm sure steam was coming out of my ears. I bet anything he gives in to those spoiled girls and gives them what they want.
Finally, the gentleman thanked the cashier, and yes, paid for the candy bars and moved on.
I gave Amanda a knowing look of frustration. She laughed.
“Actually, I am very grateful for the extra business that this brings in. And most of them are so nice.”
Well, I guess she had her silver lining behind my dark cloud. But I for one, would be very glad when every tourist hit the road and headed home.
I cashed out and headed to my truck. There seemed to be a little commotion going on. In fact, it was happening right in front of where I had parked.
I picked up my pace only to be confronted with the man I could only say at this point had become my nemesis.
“Ma'am, I scraped your. . .truck with my side mirror because you parked to close to me!” He spoke a bit too loudly.
I was about to give in to the overwhelming desire to smack this guy when I felt a tug on my shirt. I looked down into the two sets of identical deep chocolate brown eyes, smiling up at me.
It caused me to stop in my tracks. I looked back up at the gentleman in front of me who was looking a little sheepish now, and that is where something inside of me snapped. I must have temporarily lost my sanity. We exchanged insurance cards, and well. . . one year later we were married. I became not only a wife, but a mother of two angelic twin girls, both of whom love chocolate as much as I do. Oh, and did I mention? I am now a tourist of Button Hollow.
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