December 15, 2020, Noon, Rural Oregon Grocery Store

I stand in line for stamps.

An old woman buys sausage tubes the size of shotguns and carries them to the counter like firewood.

The local meth mascot buys a root beer and tub of macaroni salad he could bathe in later.

An old woman in a bathrobe behind me holds only a six pack of Hamm’s talls.

Crack one open please! Make my day!

A single mom drags her screaming shoplifter from the store.

A young man buys a double burrito and energy drink.

An old woman in blinking antlers bolts by with a cart full of wine and pies.

The clerk closes his eyes. He may never wake up.

I buy my stamps. I’m thinking about about buying some scratch-offs, some Christmas scratch-offs.


The woman behind me cracked open a cold cracklin’ Hamm’s. She couldn’t wait. The line was too goddamn long and the world was ending anyway.

If I turn around and behold an old woman wearing a bathrobe in line at a grocery store drinking a can of Hamm’s during the middle of Pandemic and Christmas is coming…Well, you Christmas Scrooge sons-of-bitches, I am going to burst into “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” and bring down the house!

To save us all from Satan’s pow’r
When we were gone astray

I’ll be holding out my hand for a Hamm’s when I sing that line.