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On Saturday, I paid an early morning social call on a young lady. We *were* to have held a porch sale (see: yard sale), but an ear- lier-morning string of extra-strength thunderstorms had left the outdoor storefront soggy. (My contribution would've included a spinning CD rack, an ancient typewriting word processor, one box o' junk, and thirty-or-so tee-shirts.) Nonetheless, I made an appear- ance and intended to bring a present. Something small, that I'd buy at Target, which was my *first* destination of the day. See, it was just after 8:00 a.m., which is the time Target opens, so I decided to make a "toy run." Background: die-cast cars, like Hot Wheels and Matchbox, are often released in limited quantities. Or, as harder-to-find special editions. So, securing one of these rar- er cars-- like the Matchbox Collectibles' Chevy Impala fire chief's car I was seeking-- require repeat visits. Or, or in addition to, first-opening visits. You know, seeing if the shelves were stocked overnight. (Alas, such treasures are also sought by so-called "scalpers"-- people who buy *all* of a rare toy and then resell at a far-higher price.) Around 8:30, I arrive at Garner Station. The parking lot is nearly empty, 'cept for Hundred Dollar Depot. And Chick Fil-A, which ap- parently serves breakfast, and outside of which is parked one of the Garner Fire Department's newest pumping engines. (Don't know the unit number, but I believe it's stationed at Station #3.) This Target, relatively recently opened, *reeks* of chemicals and plas- tics and I wince every time I enter, while making a bee-line for the toy section, which I *also* do every time I enter. Alas, no dice on the fire toy front. (The only kind I buy, 'cept for some- thing rare that'll fetch a couple extra bucks on ebay. But I'm not a scalper...) I do find a gift for my friend, however. Plus a pair of blank tapes (audio) and a case of Slim-Fast. You know, those chocolate-flavored "meals in a can." (Also good for inducing stomach cramps, if you're mildly lactose-intolerant!) Checking out is a snap, of course, and then, on the way out, something happens. In the parking lot. Involving a car. And a car antenna. And the string of a balloon. Specifically, the string of the large, Mylar balloon that I've bought as a gift. Let's just say, the giant fish was last seen floating somewhere over southeast Raleigh. Copyright 2000 Michael J. Legeros
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Copyright 2021 by Michael J. Legeros