This week’s challenge is to write a story, limerick or poem on the subject of:
As I was away, the previous challenge was extended. The theme was Shopping. Here are some of the super pieces you sent in:
Keith Channing always makes me laugh:
Ecologically, I’m still a learner,
I can’t seem to work the wood burner.
I’m supposed to be chopping
But I’d rather go shopping
(and pretend that I’m still a wage-earner)
Kevin sent in two:
I know a young lady named Dolly
Who stole my shopping trolley.
She is rather witty
And extremely pretty,
And she stole my shopping trolley!
There was a young lady called Hocking
Who lost a fine silk stocking,
In the supermarket aisle
Which made me smile
Though her mother found it shocking!
Jason Moody‘s is a hoot:
I spent the day at the mall
To be honest I wanted it all
With every shop
My accountants heart stopped
Oh look what a beautiful shawl.
Anne Copeland sent in a very atmosheric piece:
I walk through the ladies’ department of the store slowly, and without intention.
It seems strangely quiet.
I thumb through a few garments, but I have no idea why.
Then as I walk toward another area, I hear your voice and turn around.
But you are not there.
You are no longer in this world, you who gave me the gift of life.
I knew you, but I never did.
And you are not there.
Steve Walsky has written a funny one. Please visit his site to read it:
Val Fish also sent in one to make you smile:
When it comes to Christmas I tend
To go crazy and overspend
But it costs me dear
Cos all the next year
I’m paying back my flexible friend.
Here’s a great piece of prose from Martin Strike:
Pisham’s Blenny and Bloater Parfait
The alarm went off for aisle eight (tinned meat and fish). I took my feet off the security desk and prepared myself for action. Within seconds, I was standing in front of a pyramid of tins of luncheon meat at the end of the aisle ready to see what the problem was – maybe a fracas over the price of corned beef, or someone seen filling their pockets with jars of hot dogs. There was nothing obvious, no blood or panic, so I walked up to the young lady staff member dressed in a fishmonger’s perforated trilby hat and with a face as miserable as a balloon at a hedgehog party. She was standing behind a taster cart loaded with small glass pots. I read her name on the Waitburys staff badge pinned on her burgundy and fuchsia uniform; Anthea Trainee.
“Maybe you can help me, Miss Trainee.”
The look on her face did not change. “Perhaps, but only if you taste this Pisham’s Blenny and Bloater Parfait. Only £1.99 per pot or £6.49 for 3. It’s the ideal tea-time treat.” She recited her spiel with the enthusiasm of a diabetic at a marzipan rally.
“No thank you.” I’d wondered what the awful smell was since I passed aisle four (savoury bakes and pies). Now I knew.
“But I’ve broken up these crackers specially.” She splattered some parfait on a piece and offered it to me.
I looked at the foul grey dollop. “Cracker? I can’t. I’m gluten intolerant,” I lied.
“I’ll just stick some on your finger then.”
“And I’m a vegetarian,” I lied again.
“Then buy a pot and you can give it to your mum.”
“Sorry: fish allergy. She’s an anaphylactic.”
“That’s no problem, it’s suitable for all star-signs.”
“Look, I don’t want any fish paste.”
“Parfait,” she corrected me. “Anyway, I’ll cry if you don’t buy any,” and she stuck out her lower lip.
“Or maybe I’ll scream.” She let out a scream.
I looked around. Shoppers started to stare at us. “Alright, alright. I’ll take a pot.”
She stopped screaming. “Three pots.”
I put my foot down. “Two pots.”
She screamed again, louder if anything.
“OK, three pots; if you stop shrieking.” I was annoyed by her behaviour, but seen as she’d been there a while she might have valuable information for me. Maybe she’d seen a shopper acting suspiciously. I told her I was a plain clothes security man.
“Plain? In that shirt?”
“Are you going to help me solve a crime, or criticize my appearance?”
“I was just saying.”
“Look, the alarm’s been raised. Seems we’ve got a switcher in the store.”
“Yep. I’ve checked it out for myself. In Aisle two (Fresh fruit and veg), there’s been conference pears thrown in with the comices, and in ‘Herbs and Salad’, the plastic sleeves wrapping the pots of fresh herbs have been swapped around.”
“I know we get our share of sickos in here, but that’s a crime?”
“Think about it,” I said. “The scale of public outcry would be massive if customers make their Poires Belle Helene with the wrong variety of pear, or their Carré d’agneau rôti á la croûte de thym frais tastes soapy through the cynical substitution of rosemary for thyme.”
Her eyes widened, “Did you say Carré d’agneau rôti á la croûte de thym?”
“That’s right, Carré d’agneau rôti á la croûte de thym,” I confirmed.
“I’m pretty sure…” She looked down at the big pile of recipe cards that she was meant to have been handing out to indifferent shoppers along with their blob of fish paste. “Yes. I thought so. Look here. Carré d’agneau rôti á la croûte de thym – it’s the recipe on this month’s ‘Pay the Difference’ range promotion cards.”
“Hmm, I wonder…” I turned the recipe card over. My hunch was right – there was also a recipe for Poires Belle Helene, including a warning in small print which read that ‘under no circumstances are Conference pears to be used in this recipe instead of Comice. Waitburys accept no responsibility for any incident, illness or fatality that may occur as a result of so doing’.
I turned to Miss Trainee. “I think this 49 scenario needs escalating to a 53.”
“This is no longer a simple case of a casual switcher, a 49-er, with tomfoolery and japery as his goal, but someone with an altogether more immoral motive. This is a category 53; a strategy funded by our competitors to make our customers disgruntled enough to abandon Waitburys, and shop at Asco instead. This, Miss Trainee, is commercial sabotage.”
“You’re pulling my leg, or else you’re losing the plot. You should buy some more fish paste. It’s brain food.”
“I’m being deadly serious. Scream all you like, but I’m buying nothing, not while there’s a lawless corporate infiltrator in this store, who even as I speak could be planning something heinous.” I scrutinized the recipe card further. “It says here that post meal, ‘the used dishes should be washed with Pixie Liquid’. Lord knows what he is swapping that for even as we speak: Gravy browning; anything. Quick, we’ve got to get to aisle twelve.”
I looked at her incredulously. “I think you’ll find that’s aisle ten. We’re going to Household Products.”
“I daren’t leave my fish paste cart.”
“Well, bring it with you.” We ran through the store, stepping nimbly between shoppers, with the wheels of Miss Trainee’s fish paste cart clacking wildly at a speed far greater than it was designed for. At the end of aisle twelve, (Household Products), we stopped and peered round. Always the most unpopular aisle in the store (apart from twenty-three; Ambient Fruit), there was just one shopper; a man walking slowly away from us, hunched over his shopping trolley for support, probably in his 80s, wearing slippers and a cowboy hat which he probably first wore in the 1950s. More distressing than this, he was whistling The Ugly Bug Ball, piercing loudly.
“There he is,” I whispered.
“Him? No, that’s whistling Walter,” whispered back Miss Trainee. He comes in every day.
“What? You mean he’s sabotaging us every day?”
“Don’t be daft. He’s harmless and always stops by my taster cart. He even tasted some Pisham’s Blenny and Bloater parfait today. Said it made his jaw shudder.”
“There you go,” I said. “He does that to check the latest trends, so he can railroad every promotion we put on.”
“Really? I just thought he was just a lonely old man. Bless him, he always buys what I’m pushing. I thought it was because he’d taken a bit of a shine to me.
“OK then, if he’s not a trouble maker, explain why if he’s retired and has all day to come to the supermarket, he’s here at lunchtimes, blocking the middle of the aisles when office workers are desperate to buy their crayfish sandwiches and coconut water as quickly as possible.”
“But all old people do that,” she said. “Apart from the ones who start queuing outside an hour before we open, of course.”
“Hmm.” I wasn’t convinced – I’d met his sort before, and was glad I had a cosh in my jacket pocket. “If he’s so sweet, then why’s he whistling so loudly? Judging by the way he keeps switching to 76 Trombones mid-tune and back, I suspect it’s some kind of coded message to an accomplice, or else he’s trying to block out our security eavesdropping microphones.”
Whistling Walter turned to pick up a packet of scouring pads and turned to see us.
“Oh hello again, Anthea. Your fish paste isn’t ‘arf playing up with me ‘eartburn. Maybe I’ll put them back.”
“Sorry about that, Walter. I reckon if you bought another pot your stomach would start to build up immunity.”
I broke in to the conversation. “Excuse me, sir. I’m part of the security team here at Waitburys. Can I check your trolley please?” I looked in and fiddled with his groceries. “Let’s see; one can of salmon, dried prunes, a tin of pork luncheon meat, six pots of Pisham’s Blenny and Bloater Parfait…”
“She made me,” said Walter.
I continued.”Rich tea biscuits, Fisherman’s Friends, Extra-Strong Mints and five bags of Werthers Originals. I think we both know what’s going on here.”
“Going on? I don’t know what you mean? Now, if you don’t mind, I’ve got bran flakes to buy,” he said, but I could see the look of concern on his face.
“Everyone knows what you have in the trolley are the components for a so-called dirty bomb. You’d have destroyed the place should the bran have combusted, blasting shards of tin can and solid caramel-flavoured butter candies across the store. The next time you whistle, it will be with the other jail birds.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about, young man,” he said, dropping the scourers and turning away, slowly, so as not to dislodge a hip.
“Not so fast,” I said, wondering if this was the appropriate demand given Walter’s unsteady shuffle. “You’re nicked.”
“Oh, dear. Oh, deary dear,” he said and overbalanced as he held his hands out to be cuffed.
“Resisting arrest, eh? You’re witness to this, Miss Trainee.”
She looked up at me. “But how do you know he’s a terrorist? Every geriatric’s shopping trolley in the country contains exactly the same items.”
“Ah, it’s my training. It’s not so much what is in his trolley, but what isn’t that proves his guilt.”
She thought for a few moments, considering the contents of wicked Walter’s trolley. “Of course; no Daily Express. Every pensioner buys a copy. If he’d really planned to eat those items he would have done so muttering over articles about the collapse of modern day Britain under Brexit, how two apples per day can kill you, and the latest heatwave/hurricane/snow storm advancing towards us.”
“But I buy my Daily Express at the newsagents. I stop and have a chat with nice Mrs Chowdhury,” said Walter.
“Save it for the magistrate,” I told him, and winked at Miss Trainee.
“You’re good,” she said.
“You ain’t so bad yourself Miss Trainee, or can I call you Anthea – seeing as we’re now crime-fighting buddies?”
She giggled as I handcuffed Walter to her tasting cart. “You can call me what you like – if you buy another pot of Pisham’s Blenny and Bloater Parfait.”
I didn’t. But as I wheeled Whisting Walter through the checkouts to the cells behind the in-store bakery, I bought her a bouquet of roses using my staff card, gaining a 5% discount and double Nectar points.
Photo credit: quotesgram.com