Context is Everything

Wheelbarrow. Photo by sannse.

Wheelbarrow. Photo by sannse. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

[I confess I love the writing challenges being posted on the RocNaNo blog. They have quite the variety and stimulate me to all sorts of different types of writing, but just as importantly, my commitment to respond to every challenge through the end of June has kept me writing even when I haven’t otherwise been motivated. Thanks guys!

This piece is inspired by their Writing Challenge: Rat Poison and Red Solo Cups. I hope you enjoy it!]

Going out with Lisa could be dangerous.

There was this one time we went to an amusement park together. She decided to have fun while we were standing in line waiting to get on the roller coaster. The line slowly wound back and forth, and every time this one older couple came within earshot of us she’d get all lovey-dovey and start talking about how she was going to make love to me on the ride, or elsewhere in the park. You know, like we were having a private conversation that no-one was supposed to overhear, as if she thought no-one could, except, of course, that that one couple could!

Their eyes would get wide at some of the things she said, and then the line would snake forward and they’d move out of earshot and we’d start giggling over their reaction until the next time they came in range, and then she’d pick up as if all we’d been talking about was sex the entire time.


Another day Lisa talked me into helping her out with some landscaping chores. I drove a van, so naturally I could help her pick up a few things.

We were waiting in line once again, this time with our purchases: a plastic tubbed wheelbarrow, two 40 pound bags of high-nitrogen fertilizer, and one of those big gas cans with wheels. I had stacked everything in the wheelbarrow.

Now Lisa does not like to wait. For anything. That’s the reason for all the fertilizer — she was going to be reseeding part of her lawn, and she wanted that grass to sprout quickly! She was buying more fertilizer than she had grass seed, which didn’t make any sense to me, but hey! She had plenty of room in her garage, so why not?

She must have gotten bored. “Plastic. Good suggestion.”


“Plastic won’t spark.”

“What are you talking about?”

“The wheelbarrow. When you stir in the wheelbarrow you won’t cause any sparks.”

I shook my head. “I’m not following you.”

“I just said that choosing the plastic wheelbarrow over the metal one was a good idea.”

“Thank you. I guess.” The guy in front of us was pointedly paying no attention to the crazy lady, while the woman behind was looking sympathetic. I figured she had a strange friend or two, too.

“But do you think fifteen gallons is going to be enough?”

“You mean the fueling station? That’s as big as you can get without having a pick-up to mount one in.”

“No, silly, the fuel oil! Do you think that’ll be enough for the amount of fertilizer we got?”

I saw the eyes on the lady behind us go wide, and then I got it. And then I said the wrong thing. “Will you be quiet!” I hissed. “Are you trying to get us arrested?”

Lisa’s eyes got all doey, and in a hurt voice she said, “I was just wondering …”

I put my mouth close to her ear and murmured harshly, “I heard what you said, and all you’re doing is causing trouble! We are not mixing explosives, so stop playing games! Lets just buy this stuff, and then get back to working on your yard.”

The guy ahead of us left, then it was our turn to help the cashier find all the bar codes on our stuff. Nearly two hundred bucks for only four item! Sheesh!

As I was wheeling our purchases out the door I noticed the cashier having a discussion with the woman who was behind us. Just as the automatic door closed I heard “Manager to register four,” over the PA. Then we were out of the building, and Lisa was positively skipping to the car.

A sheriff’s car pulled into the lot as we headed off to our next stop — to get some fuel for Lisa’s camp stove.


About Kurt Schweitzer

A former vampire logistics facilitator, past purveyor of Italian-style transportation, and Y2K disaster preventer, I'm currently creating websites, novels and other fictions while reinventing myself. Again.
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