I did a great job saving on groceries this past week. Yesterday, I released another NTD zombie book by Harold “Hal” Kempka, titled Blue Plate Special. The Philadelphia Writers’ Conference is coming, and I needed a few things, so I headed to the Acme this morning.
I arrived with a list of five items – notebook, ice cream, latex gloves, scar cream, and stockings. Ahead of me, a sweet voice called, “Barbara!”
The speaker was a Mylar flower tree. Yes, he was big as a tree. He nuzzled my hair when I approached him.
“Big balloon, isn’t he?” called a cashier. “He seems to like you.”
“Yes, he does,” I replied, and then I saw his price tag – $14.00. I shook my head and backed away.
“Why not?” The balloon stretched toward me. “Do you need everything on your list? Why ice cream? You’ll get plenty of desserts at the writers’ conference.”
“Good point,” I told him. “Let me think about this.”
I turned away, wondering what I was doing in this store. My hand fished out folded paper from my pocket. The list. Oh, yes, that’s right. I needed a notebook, among other things. Good thing I’d brought my list.
At the school supplies section, I found the notebooks. I picked out the cheapest one they had.
“Attagirl!” another balloon called to me. It was Cinderella, a Mylar Disney character. “Buy cheap, and then you can take me home with you.”
She really was a beauty and well inflated, but I had so many, more than 70. Could I justify buying another large balloon? “Well,” I said, “let me think some more.”
I tried tiptoeing, keeping my head ducked so that other balloons wouldn’t notice me. It worked, at least through the detergent aisle for the gloves and the health supplies for the scar cream.
“You can run, but you can’t hide,” a flower balloon crooned from the front. Miss Sunshine, as I name her, wooed me with her siren song. I tried to telling myself to watch the money for the conference, but the telling did no good when I beheld her brilliant sheen.
“Come now,” she coaxed me. “You already have stockings. You don’t need more, right?”
I had to agree.
“Besides,” she whispered, “you just released another book. A very good read. Shouldn’t you reward yourself?”
“Come, let’s go,” she said, perching on my shoulder. “Balloons know best.”
Why did I cave in? Perhaps my fellow peeps encouraged me to buy. Perhaps I was celebrating Blue Plate Special because it’s got a lot of flash horror fiction. While those things are true, I must confess, I’ve become a magnet for balloons.