The Grill

This seemed like one of my Really Great Sunday 5 pm Ideas. I wanted a barbeque grill. One of those instant lighting-don’t have to wash a pot or pan-deals. And the End of summer great bargain prices.
It turns into one of those trapped in Discount City Underworld moments.
I find just the critter, but no identifying price code bars marks. Without the Sacred Code, ye shall not pass the screaming electronic door.
I find a box with the approximate model and pilfer the required sticker. We can’t go home without it.
With immense embarrassment, my husband begins to roll the clattering beast to the front of the store.
After a long slow ascent to the register and plenty of disregarded stares from people, the checkout spots appear. The absent clerk beeps the tag. No response. She smooths the tag endlessly smearing the bars and makes several vain passes with the less than magic wand. Mystified, she stares at the bars.
She suddenly remembers that with effort, she can type the tiny numbers into the computer. She needs 6 or 8 tries to finally read the tiny jumbled numbers. $88 the register rings.
“ Eighty eight dollars,” she triumphs. Yeah, just like the tag reads in regular human numerals.
“Thanks a lot.” she smiles, throwing us out of the store.
“We need a propane tank.” my voice trails off like a grade B movie ending. Blue vested clerks begin to move in terrifying slow motion dream-like states. There is no code, no access to purchasing a one gallon tank full of propane in these here parts.
An hour has been sucked from my life, and the heat is rising inside my head. I feel primal scream surges. The beet red of my face must provide clues to an emerging tirade.
My spouse shakes his head, “Don’t do it.” He warns and sends me from the store. He must maintain a proper community presence because he is a librarian.
I don’t. I rage like a fool in the parking lot.

Somehow he gets the Discount clock starting again. Both the grill and the agonizingly obtained propane loaded.
Visions of steak and mushrooms ease the rising tempers.

Ah, but Discount hell still burns on an August weekend.
Grill is set. The tank gingerly attached to burner, igniter clicked.
Just like your home computer, nothing.
No flame, but an odd odor of rotten eggs drifts through the yard.
A try with a lighter leads to a spectacular blaze that eliminates my troublesome eyebrows. I check my brain temperature. 108 degrees.

The valves from the tank to the grill are not actually connected and another hour slips from the clock as I search for missing wing nuts in burnt grass. The sun sets and the mosquitos descend just as the steaks slide from rare to medium.

Finally satisfied with T-bone and buttered mushrooms, my disposition sweetens. In my butteriest voice, I want to call Discount City to rip them a new place for their hearing aids. Their failure to connect the gas valves to the grill nearly gave me a Mohawk. The comfort food sends me to the recliner instead of the phone.

Perhaps that which is hard earned is more savory sweet.


  1. Vivid pictures entered my mind. I was glad to be reading and not in the store. Lanyard must have been going bonkers. Wondering how you were able to re-enter the store after the clerk threw you out. LOL Just think of the poor cow who gave up his life just for this episode. Hope it’s still functioning well and that your eyebrows and hair have grown back sufficiently. gm

  2. Have mercy!! A new place for their hearing aides–too much, too funny, too vivid. Happy ending, T-bones and mushrooms. I need to rest from imagining as I read. Some miles away from the “incident” I thought it was a local feedlot waifting through the air. Now I know the rest of the story. Thoroughly entertaining, yes, at your expense but a wonderful story.

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