Just one, please

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My phone is charging, my drink is drunk, the music’s playing, my car is waiting. The banana bread was okay—not great, but okay—and I have forty minutes to spare before I head home. I didn’t buy the screws before I got here because when she rang them up she asked for nine dollars and change but when I found the packet of fifty screws the price below said a dollar thirty-nine and since I didn’t need fifty screws but the price was right I was going to buy the whole packet. But not for nine dollars. . .

My phone is charging, my drink is drunk, the music’s playing, my car is waiting. The banana bread was okay—not great, but okay—and I have forty minutes to spare before I head home. I didn’t buy the screws before I got here because when she rang them up she asked for nine dollars and change but when I found the packet of fifty screws the price below said a dollar thirty-nine and since I didn’t need fifty screws but the price was right I was going to buy the whole packet. But not for nine dollars. . .

I only needed one screw but the clerk said no, they didn’t have any loose screws; they only sell them by the packet and what would I do with fifty screws to hang one smiling copper sun on the outside fireplace wall? There isn’t room for forty-nine more copper suns. Okay, so I’d have to throw away forty-nine cement screws or leave them on the garage shelf with all the other hardware items I only needed one of.

Maybe I could give some away. Do you need a couple of cement screws? They come in real handy if you need to hang a few decorative items on your outdoor patio walls. Bryan’s always doing something handy around his and Lettie’s house; maybe he could use a few. And Craig—is there any use for cement screws on a golf course? Prob’ly not. But he has a lot of friends; he could probably give a dozen or so away to them.

If I’d gone to the other Dixieline store, the one closer to where I live, they would’ve found the cement screws for me, dipped a hand into the bin of loose screws and handed me two or three screws. “Here, take these. No charge. Have a good day!” “If’s” don’t count.

Same kind of thing happens to me when I go out to eat. I only want one pancake. Not that I’m cheap, I just really like the taste of whipped butter spread across the top of a single blueberry pancake and drizzled with syrup out of those new bottleneck bottles that barely let you get a skinny stream of syrup so you have to drizzle for five minutes before you cover the blueberry pancake surface.

But if they bring a stack of two or three pancakes—which they often do because there’s no menu item for one pancake and the cooks can’t figure out how to produce only one pancake—then the whipped butter doesn’t soak down into the second pancake and the syrup is only enough for the top pancake so you get a mouthful of mostly pancake and not much whipped butter floating in sweet maple syrup.

Too many screws; too many pancakes; what’s a gal to do? Me—I’m going down to the other Dixieline and see if I can find a loose screw or two and the next time I go to Denny’s and they bring me a stack of too many pancakes, I’m asking for an extra plate and I’ll pile up the unwanted pancakes on the plate and settle down to enjoy my “just one, please, blueberry pancake” with whipped butter soaked in beneath drizzles of sweet maple syrup.

Time’s up—see you next week!

UPDATE: Bryan had a loose screw—literally, not figuratively, of course—and today my copper sun is smiling out from its perch on the exterior fireplace wall.                         

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