If You Ever Hear Your Child Talk About ‘The Bloody Monsters’ Be Very, Very Afraid

Andy Jarrett

The checkout line of the local grocery store in the home town you left behind might be the single most torturous place. I tried to keep my eyes forward and avoid eye contact as I paid for my frozen dinner and dessert and hoped to get the hell out of dodge before I had to talk to someone I knew, but hadn’t talked to in 15 years.

“Sam Ross?” I heard a woman’s voice chime from behind me.

I couldn’t help but utter the word “fuck,” drawing a grin from the high school-aged checkout girl who rang up my Lean Cuisine and Dots.

I put the smallest smile humanly possible on my face and looked over my shoulder to see a woman with a poof of frizzy gray hair standing at my hip with an armful of groceries sloppily spread across the chest of the dirty Garfield Christmas sweatshirt she wore in September. I don’t think I had actually seen the woman since I was eight or nine years old, but I instantly recognized her as Barbara Daniels, the woman who ran the daycare I went to when I was very young.

I stuck my credit card in the machine and started the process of paying for my groceries before I spoke.

“Barbara Daniels?”

Barbara’s cracked lips spread into a wide smile across her wrinkled face.

“Yeah, I can’t believe you’ve grown into…a man,” Barbara said.

The cashier handed me my receipt and gave me a stern look which suggested I move on, but I lingered.

“When I used to watch you, you were like this tall,” Barbara said and then held her hand flat at about the level of my waist.

“Yeah, yeah,” I agreed.

Jack has written professionally as a journalist, fiction writer, and ghost writer. For more information, visit his website.

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