Walmart and Mr. Bean

“I’ve been thinking…”

My husband was pushing the shopping cart. He looked up at me blandly. I get these “thoughts” rather frequently. They are conceived in my fevered imagination, and burst unexpectedly from my mouth at all odd hours of the day and night (in the middle of a film…during a church service… when he’s trying to kiss me…). One can never guess when I’ll turn to him and say these words. Truthfully, the majority of these moments aren’t even preceded by this three and a half-word warning. His introduction to this trend came early in our dating history. I remember one particular phone call when I answered my cell, skipped the greeting, and blurted out, “What exactly is a sarcophagus?”

Perhaps a more tangible explanation of this strange proclivity of mine, would be to compare myself to Dug, the golden retriever in Pixar’s movie “Up”. Throughout our journey getting to know the scatterbrained pup, he will often break off mid sentence, stare into the distance and shout, “Squirrel!”. My husband burst into raucous laughter when we first saw this moment of movie magic. I laughed too…until Timothy leaned over and whispered, “It’s you!” I grimaced at him. “Very funny Timothy. Veeeeery funny…”

Regardless, we were in Walmart, picking up this and that. We were approaching the dairy section. I had my eye on a particular brand of sour cream. A gentlemen and his companion sidled up to the area I was required to approach, and broke into a short discussion. We queued up behind and waited our turn. That was when I turned to my husband.

“I’ve been thinking, what if someone went all Mr. Bean on people at the grocery store.”

My husband smiled at me and chuckled. He knew immediately what I meant. The poor man has had more servings of Mr. Bean force-fed to him than most people get in a lifetime. My thought process ran thus:

I imagined myself standing directly behind, almost uncomfortably close to the gentlemen in front of my beloved brand of sour cream. He picks up vanilla yogurt. I too pick up the same brand and container of vanilla yogurt. He shrugs and wonders why that odd duck needed to stand so disagreeably close to him. Cart leading the way, he shoves off towards the chip and pretzel aisle.

After browsing the current selection of Lay’s potato chips, he lifts a bag of the salt and vinegar variety. Something in his peripheral vision catches his eye. He turns. Blinks. There I stand, looking him over with an unidentifiable expression, somewhere between amusement and disdain. I reach over. I lift not one but two bags of the same potato chips. I sneer. He widens his eyes, grunts, and heads to the next aisle.

What else did he need? Bread! Right. He stops to gently squeeze a loaf. Fear and curiosity tickle the hairs on the back of his neck. Hesitantly, he looks over his shoulder. Yes. Yes I’m there. I already have three loafs of the same bread in my cart.

He dashes with his cart into the next aisle. His heart beats hard against his ribs. He stops short in the middle. His head turns back and forth several times. The freak is nowhere in sight. He takes stock of his surroundings. Candy and gum. He walks down towards the Twizzlers. A pick-me-up would be lovely after this bizarre experience. His hand stretches for the cherry bites. Just before his fingers touch the plastic packaging, a hand reaches from the void and snatches it away. He closes his eyes. Lifts his hand for another. That one too disappears. He finally turns his eyes to mine. I slowly shake my head.

My husband and I finished our trip to Walmart. We hopped into our little white Honda in silence. I was staring off into the distance.

“Buckle up,” Timothy said. He turned the key in the ignition. I turned my head towards him.

“They’d curse me out wouldn’t they?” I asked.

“Probably. But if you want to do it, I’ll follow you and video.”

Fear not, thou unsuspecting shopper. I’m not brave enough.

Author: Rachel Svendsen

Rachel is a poet and writer from Pennsylvania, where she lives with her husband and children. Her short story "Filling the Silence" received an honorable mention in the 2019 Story Embers short story competition.

2 thoughts on “Walmart and Mr. Bean”

  1. LOVE it! I was right there with you and Tim during your trip to Walmart! LOL! That has actually happened to me before! Gotta love people and I also LOVE the movie UP!


    1. When you say that’s happened to you…do you mean that somebody harassed you in the grocery store or that you’ve had the same thought? Because I would love to meet the person who is brave enough to do that.


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