Mystery Shopper

j0438363I love to read! And I will read almost anything – biographies, romances, classics, self-helps, but my favorite genre, the one my little heart draws to every time, is mysteries! All kinds of mysteries, everything from cozy mysteries that are lighthearted, even comical, to heavy, edge-of-your-seat, heart-in-your-throat thrillers! But, recently, I’ve begun to wonder if, perhaps, I’ve read one too many mysteries…

I was shopping in Walmart, as I frequently do. My mind was in a million different places, as it frequently is. As I turned the first corner into an aisle, my unstoppable force met an immovable object – I rammed straight into some poor man in the frozen foods! Reaching down to retrieve my purse which I had dropped in the collision, I apologized profusely, knowing it was completely my scatter-brained fault. Mortified, I barely let the man speak and practically sprinted down the aisle. But as I did, I felt his eyes boring into me, following me. I made my short little legs move even faster.

Moving quickly through the aisles, my mind soon moved on to more 168Hpressing matters, like the price of coffee and which peanut butter was a better value. But, it wasn’t long before I saw him again, moving determinedly down the aisle, coming straight for me! Well, my legs might be short, but I can still hustle when I need to, and I was beginning to get a strange vibe coming off of this guy. Putting space between us seemed like a very good idea!

I hurriedly made my way to the cereal aisle. Maybe Captain Crunch could keep me safe! But, alas, the Captain’s protection seemed to be soggy at best, for within minutes the man appeared again, his expression even more determined, as he scanned the aisle. I knew he was looking for me! He was stalking me! I was being stalked in the cereal aisle at Walmart! Maybe by a serial killer! Was it possible to be stalked by a serial killer in the cereal aisle? I abandoned the Captain and scurried out of the aisle as fast as I could!

Desperate times called for desperate measures! I made my way to women’s lingerie! Certainly, he wouldn’t follow me among the bras, panties and girdles! (Do they even call them girdles anymore? Excuse me, body shapers!) I picked up a piece of “massive weaponry” – one cup was enough to cover my whole face – this would keep me hidden! One minute. Three minutes. Five minutes. Surely, it must be safe. I peeked out from behind my Double D hiding place and nearly dropped my bloomers! There he was coming around the corner of the Genie bra display right towards me! This was getting creepy!

Ok, think, Ronnie, think! What would Lindsay Boxer do? What would Stephanie Plum do? What would Nancy Drew do? Then the answer hit me – it was right there hanging from the ceiling on a big blue sign with white letters – “RESTROOM”! Yes, I’ll hide in the restroom! Isn’t that just what all big, brave mystery solving women would do?! Probably not, but it sure was what I was going to do!

So, I headed for the bathrooms as fast as my short little stubs could take me. I abandoned my shopping cart in the middle of the aisle and staked my claim in the least offensive stall of the Walmart ladies’ room! With the stall door locked and my knees pulled up tightly so no one could see my feet beneath the door, I felt smug and protected. Surely, I was safe here of all places! Hmmmm… I do watch the news… what if “he’s” not really a “he”? Hmmmm…. Oh, well, this was as safe as I was getting! I waited. And waited. And waited. After 15 long minutes, I peeked out of my hiding place. The coast seemed to be clear. I came out a little farther, and then a little farther. Still clear. I decided it was safe to wander out into the store. But by now my desire to shop was gone.

I headed to the door and for my car. As I got to my car and reached into my purse to retrieve my keys I sighed the sigh of the weary. What an ordeal! So many crazies out there! I shook my head. Just as I reached for my door I heard a voice rapidly closing in on me, “Ma’am, ma’am! I’m so glad I finally caught you!” It was him! And he was standing right there next to me! There was nowhere for me to go, nowhere to run! I stood there frozen! He continued speaking, “I’ve been trying to catch up with you since our little ‘collision’ back there. I have something for you.” I could see he was reaching into his pocket. Oh no! Does he have a gun? A knife? Duct tape to kidnap me? “It’s your wallet, ma’am. It must’ve fallen out of your purse when we ran into one another. I’m so glad I was able to catch you before you left!”

My wallet? My wallet! He had my wallet! I hadn’t even noticed it was missing since I left without my purchases. I thanked him profusely and apologized again for running into him. We chatted briefly and he introduced himself as the new pastor at the church only two blocks from my home. We wished one another a nice day, and he took off across the parking lot where he met up with his wife and three small children who were waiting for him to complete his mission.

Quietly, I slid into my car. I tossed my wallet onto the passenger seat where it picjumbo.com_HNCK3576landed on the latest James Patterson novel I was reading, an exciting thriller filled with stalkers and serial killers. I picked up the book, turning it over and over in my hand, then I tossed it into the back seat. Maybe I’d read a nice Debbie Macomber or Karen Kingsbury novel instead.

*The story you have just read is completely fiction, but something I could see myself doing! I hope you enjoyed reading it because I enjoyed writing it. You just never know what you’re going to get when you pop in here!

 

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