Aunt Hazel was in Atlanta a week before Halloween. She decided to go shopping at the local dollar store, and all of the employees were wearing costumes. At least, to Aunt Hazel they were. In our modern society they could just have been some teenagers wearing their regular assortment of beads, chains, and license plates for earrings, but she was sure they were costumes.
Thus it was that when she went from there to the drug store to pick up her one week supply of pills, the seven of which required a mortgage on the farm to pay for, she had Halloween on her mind. In addition, the price that she was having to pay for the medicine was a frustration burning deep within her.
As she stepped into the drug store, no one was in sight. She marched right to the counter and pounded on the little bell. “Hey! Can I get some help here?”
From behind her she heard a hoarse whisper. “Lady, we’re being robbed. Get on the floor.”
She turned to see a man, dressed in a white lab coat, acting like a doormat. Aunt Hazel figured this was all part of an elaborate Halloween joke. She was not in any mood to be teased. “Of course we are being robbed,” she replied, “this is a pharmacy. Everyone is being robbed. That is what pharmaceutical companies do.”
“No, lady,” he countered. “We are really getting robbed.”
Aunt Hazel looked at him with his white lab coat and pursed her lips. “If you are going to pretend you are getting robbed, don’t you think you should be dressed like a customer and not a pharmacist?”
Before he had a chance to reply, a teenager wielding a gun appeared. “Lady, get on the floor!” he demanded.
Aunt Hazel thought this Halloween joke was being carried just a little too far. “Don’t you be impertinent, young man. I’m here to get my medicine, and I don’t want any of your funny business. If you work here, I want you to get it for me.”
The young man was flustered and waved the gun at her. “But, lady we are…”
This really annoyed Aunt Hazel, who didn’t like guns in the least. “Didn’t your mother ever tell you that you shouldn’t point guns at people, even toy guns?”
“Well, yes, but..”
“Then don’t you think you should do what you are told?”
Yes, Ma’am,” he replied.
“Then quit waving that toy around and be a good boy and get my medicine for me.”
He slipped behind the counter and set the gun down and started rummaging through the previously prepared prescriptions. “What did you say your last name was?” he asked.
He was still rummaging through the prescriptions when a much older man appeared from the back room. He looked at the teenager with great disdain. “What do you think you are doing?”
“Um,” the teenager stuttered, pointing at Aunt Hazel. “I was getting this lady’s prescription.”
The older man just snorted. “Let’s get out of here.” With that the two men left.
“What about my prescription?” Aunt Hazel called after them.
The people were just getting off of the floor when the young man reappeared. They quickly laid back down. “Forgot this,” he said, retrieving the gun from the counter.
Aunt Hazel just shook her head. “People around here take this Halloween stuff way too far.”
(Daris Howard, award-winning, syndicated columnist, playwright, and author, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org; or visit his website at http://www.darishoward.com)