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The Grocery List

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The Grocery List



Please pick up the following on your way home from school:



ground beef

seasoning salt


onion soup mix

Thanks, Mom.

Eric glanced at the contents of the list before looking up at the back of the boy heading out of 8th grade

math. He shook his long black hair out of his eyes. "Kyle! You dropped something."

Eric watched Kyle's surprised stop, the boy's drooped shoulders making him appear even smaller than he was.

Kyle turned around slowly, red faced, apparently at being addressed by a member of the wrestling team.

Eric waited as Kyle tentatively made his way towards him. He glanced at the other side of the dropped

piece of paper and time slowed down.

Two things happened at once. The meaning of the scratched out message on the other side of the grocery

list sunk into Eric's brain, and Kyle suddenly stopped once again, staring in horror as Eric looked

at the paper with wide eyes.

Kyle's blush vanished only to be replaced by a sickly white color, in stark contrast to his red hair.

Eric thought he looked like he might faint, he was frozen with his hand half out towards the grocery list.

An eternity passed. Neither boy moved. Neither boy quite knew what to do.

Kyle's reaction told Eric that the message was his, and that it was true, or at least had been

before it was scratched out.

Eric had read once about some science experiment that showed how people actually made decisions long

seconds before their conscious mind thought they did. He pretended to himself for an instant that he was

undecided, but he already knew what he was going to do.

His coach was going to kill him. His dad too. He hoped they'd understand later.

"C'mon Kyle. Let's go buy your groceries." He steered Kyle towards the exit door with a gentle

hand on his back.

Kyle spoke for the first time. "D... Don't you have a meet?"


They had almost made it out of school when the Coach's yell stopped them. "Little Rabbit! Where the

hell are you going?! Get your butt in the locker room and get changed!"

Eric looked back. "Sorry Coach. I gotta help McAllister with his grocery shopping."

He tried to pour meaning into his heavy stare back at the Coach. It must have worked, at least a little.

The Coach's mouth dropped open, then closed again, and he stared back at Eric with a whole host of

expressions on his face, but he didn't say another word.

They walked out into the bright afternoon towards the supermarket. Sometimes, thought Eric, helping

someone with their grocery list was the most important thing you can do.

Besides, Kyle was awfully cute.

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Very good, and I'm still trying to decide which of the couple of dozen or so possibilities I've thought of for the other side of the grocery list is the best. Or the right one!

What's contained in the minds of authors!

Colin :icon_geek:

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Nice, but for me, with my paucity of imagination, I'm left hanging uncomfortably wondering what might possibly be written on the other side of the list. I can only admire Colin's ability to think of not just one, but several dozen.

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Sounds like it worked then. I wanted to leave what was written on the other side undetermined. Obviously I have my own ideas but it really could be any number of things, and I'm not sure it matters to the story in the end. If it ever turns into a short story then things would have to be a wee bit different.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm thinkin' it had somethin' to do with...somethin'.

I'm a big fan of spontaneous responses in general, and those moments when

everything relevant hits you in the space of a second and you know what to do

and you do.

Nice work, Gee.


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