Special Toiletries Bag For Going Away

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: January 03, 2016

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Submitted: January 03, 2016

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Joseph didn’t walk into that shop out of any joy one might derive from shopping. In fact, Joseph walked into that shop in rather a resentful mood. He didn’t like going on holiday. He much preferred to spend any small amount of time off he got from his office in his own company. He found the company of his immediate family rather irritable and difficult to stomach, especially for any length of time larger than say, an hour, two at the most. An entire week in France (when they lived in Switzerland, what was even the point? They lived so close to their holiday destination it seemed so entirely useless to want to venture there. What was the appeal supposed to be? The climate, wildlife, scenery, and for the most part the culture would all be the same or very close to the same, so what was the bloody point? Why would you want to go on holiday anywhere if it wasn’t drastically different from where you lived? Joseph decided to ponder that thought right here slap-bang in the middle of his other thought. What was he thinking about?) seemed more or less unbearable with the cruel, remorseless personal time thieves he called his family. This was made all the more worse by the fact he’d been told by none other than his mother, who is normally the mastermind behind things, that the family as a whole wasn’t really planning on going anywhere this summer. They all had things to do, she said. Nobody could really find the time, she also happened to say. So you can understand how annoyed Joseph was (and it was really rather quite very annoyed) when he got a birthday card from his parents, and then an e-mail from his father, and then a phone call from his parents, and then another e-mail from everyone, telling him that the plans for this year’s big family holiday with our favourite cousins were unfolding.

 

Not expecting to need a new one so soon after his last one caught fire (he’d left it on the waffle iron, which brought rise to so many bizarre and unanswerable questions. First of all he didn’t know he had a waffle iron, and he lived alone so nobody else was using it. Secondly how on earth had his toiletries bag, his special one for going away, ended up on it. More puzzling was the fact that the stupid thing wasn’t even turned on. There was obviously an extremely and blindingly clear answer to the whole scenario, one so obvious and apparent that he would feel embarrassed upon realising it for not having realised it sooner, but what that answer was, currently eluded him. All he knew was, by some bizarre process that had happened in his house, his toiletries bag, his special one for going away, had ended up on a brand new waffle iron that didn’t look like it had ever been turned on since it’s purchase, which he had no idea when that was, and somehow this has resulted in his toiletries bag, his special one for going away, catching on fire and being so damaged it was never to be a functional special going away toiletries bag ever again.), he ended up walking over to the display of toiletries bags, and what a display it was.

The workers of this wonderful little shop, had arranged a startling number of toiletries bags, (Joseph decided to hazard a guess at sixty, and then put himself thought a painful internal monologue in which he declared that he knew that was a shit guess, and that he would feel ashamed about it later, when he realised a far more realistic larger or smaller number as he tried to sleep that night.) into the most wonderful and remarkably pointless of pyramids. Joseph pondered on the amount of planning, problem solving skill, and time it must have taken to construct such a large and impressive pyramid. And you know what? Joseph found that impressive was the right word to use. Joseph was impressed. He was impressed by all the thinking, man hours, and logistics that must have been put in place in order for this spectacle to be brought into reality from the depths of the imagination of some artistic shelf stacker in the store. He wondered what else that mind might be capable of, if allowed more freedom, if allowed a job where shapes and making shapes out of smaller things that were a different shape took precedence. He allowed himself to be impressed by all this for a matter of seconds before he realised that if he attempted at any point to take any one of the toiletries bags out of the pyramid in order to purchase it, the whole thing would quite surely fall into (roughly but probably not because looking at it now sixty just looks too big. No sixty is definitely too small) sixty pieces on the floor. 

 

It was while Joseph was going over any and all possible solutions to this dilemma that Mandy the store helper walked up. (Mandy didn’t seem like she particularly wanted to be a store keeper, but somebody obviously has to do it. Or do they? Is it one of those jobs you can so nonchalantly say “somebody has to do it” to, and then you feel wise and learned and feel like you understand how the world works. On balance Joseph decided that no, no it wasn’t. You didn’t need a store helper in this store, Joseph was perfectly capable of handling this situation by himself. After pondering that epiphany in his ever developing philosophy, he realised that actually, he had no ideas on how to resolve this situation, and that actually he did need Mandy, and if he needed Mandy, then perhaps humanity as a whole needed Mandy. This brought Joseph a small measure of much needed joy as he could now refer to Mandy’s job as a “somebody has to do it” job and still feel like he was wise and that he understood how the world worked. Was someone waving in his face?).

 

Joseph jumped a little bit as the hand on the end of Mandy’s seemingly excessively long arm waved in front of his face, bringing his attention back to reality and his gaze back to the product and store helper he was supposed to be interested in and not the corner of the ceiling he happened to be looking at.

 

‘Sorry Sir, you looked at me like you needed my help, and then you just stared at that corner for a while. Is something wrong?’ Mandy said in what was quite a surprisingly inviting voice, given how her face seemed to betray her true aching to be anywhere else right then.

 

‘Yes, I was wondering if you could get me one of these toiletries bags.’ Joseph worked out awkwardly. ‘I didn’t want to upset the display.’

 

Mandy tried her very best to conceal the little giggle that escaped her lips, but she did eventually fail. It only lasted for a fraction of an even smaller fraction of rather a tiny part of a second, but it was enough for Joseph to notice. She composed herself and opened her mouth to say something, her eyes revealing the debate happening in her head. She was clearly thinking through the pros and cons of saying sorry for laughing. After all, who would have noticed that she’d laughed, it barely lasted any time (Joseph did, but that was beside the point). Eventually she decided that that argument was rather logical (and Joseph did agree, it was really just bad luck for everyone that he had actually happened to notice her innocent little giggle. She didn’t need to

worry, it’s not like Joseph was going to think about it. Seriously, Joseph wasn’t thinking about it. Who would, it would just be silly to keep thinking about it. A small little thing like that. Why would Joseph keep thinking about it. Well he wouldn’t would he. Of course not, he wouldn’t. As we implied earlier, that would just be silly, if he kept thinking about it.) and elected not to say sorry. Joseph wasn’t thinking about it. He just wanted to know what little mistake he made. Mandy revealed this to him by pointing to the clearly visible shelf with signs pointing to it filled to the brim with toiletries bags such as those in the pyramid. There, just waiting to be purchased, without any help from the store helper Mandy. It was okay though, Joseph still wasn’t thinking about the way Mandy had giggled at him for missing something so obvious. Nope. Didn’t cross his mind.

 

‘Oh, right. Thanks then.’ Joseph said, contributing a small fake laugh of his own. This little giggle indicated that Joseph was ready and willing to poke fun at himself and that he wasn’t going to think at all about when she laughed at him that one time. 

 

‘Which one would you like sir?’ Mandy asked, with a new smile that wasn’t present before and seemed quite genuine. Joseph temporarily wondered if it was because the mood had been lightened or because she still remembered how stupid he’d just been just then. It was only temporary though because he wasn’t thinking about it. He surveyed his options, and immediately understood the necessity of Mandy’s question. There were a large variety of very similar but yet so very different toiletries bags for Joseph to choose from. Joseph wondered how anyone in the world could ever have come up with so many different illustrations one could put on the side of a bag that was of an identical size and shape every time. Every single bag had the same triangular prism shape and zipper running in a U-shape on one side. How do you put zipper’s on things, Joseph wondered. How do they work? What on earth about that little knobbly thing caused the teeth to stick together so firmly and assuredly when they passed through it? After all, Joseph was sure that if one were to simply line the teeth up oneself and force them into each other, they would not hold such a wonderfully secure and uniform line as they do on a coat or a special toiletries bag for going away. The key was clearly in the little knobby thing. Joseph realised that Mandy was now looking at him with a bit of a worried look oh her face.

‘Oh right, yeah. Let’s have a look.’ Joseph said a bit hurriedly, and alarmingly loudly. Mandy did a wonderful job of not looking too startled. Joseph looked back at the shelf and decided to really take it all in. Each bag was either black, pink, green, blue, yellow, beige, white, or purple and had a unique illustration on the face with the zipper. One had on it’s side a toothbrush that had been illustrated as if it had been drawn by a child. Another had a dinosaur (Joseph believed it was meant to be an illustration of a stegosaurus. Or was it a triceratops? No it wasn’t a triceratops they have long necks. Do they? No those are brachiosaurs, or brontosaurs, or diplodocus. Joseph knew that this was going to get to him for a long time if he didn’t recall within the next few seconds which kind of dinosaur had a very long neck.) that was flossing its teeth. Another showed a cartoon mother applying a band-aid to her daughter’s knee (which showed absolutely no sign of being injured. Joseph understood that this simple black and white childish stick-man-esque drawing was meant to be innocent and friendly and not depict blood or serious injury, but why waste a perfectly good and usable band-aid on a lack of injury. That band-aid could be used to prevent infection in a cut that truly needed it and here it was shown applied willy-nilly to what Joseph could only assume was only a graze. This offended him for reasons that in a bizarrely rare moment of lucidity he knew were far too stupid to pursue or pin-point exactly. Nevertheless, he decided to make a conscious effort not to think about the stupid pointless wasteful band-aid bag for the remainder of the day.) Another showed a toothbrush presenting some kind of pun to a floss with the use of carefully crafted speech bubbles (or are those thought bubbles? Yes, those are definitely thought bubbles. Now this bag offended Joseph too. How was the floss supposed to respond to the pun, as the bag so clearly depicts it doing, if the toothbrush isn’t actually saying the pun out loud for the floss to hear. Joseph realised that his issue with this is that this bag clearly insinuates that his dental health tools are clearly capable of telekinesis, which is just absurd and does not deserve to have any more of his precious thought devoted to it. What if they were telekinetic though? Do his toothbrush and floss make fun of his poor dental hygiene methods telekinetically? Is telekinetically a word? This began to become a real issue for Joseph), and another had on its side an illustration of a cat. Just a cat. Nothing else. Nothing hygiene or health related of the sort. What in the hell was that cat doing there. This one bag was clearly a goddamn disgrace that ruined the nuance the other bags had worked so hard to create and didn’t deserve to be with the other bags. It wasn’t even a well drawn cat

 

‘Sir, is everything all right?’ Mandy asked innocently.

 

‘Oh, I’m sorry. Yeah everything’s fine. Why?’ Joseph managed to stammer.

 

‘It’s just that you had a very angry face on. I wondered if there was something I’d done wrong or if something was upsetting you?’

 

Given the information that he was apparently just staring angrily at an inanimate shelf of cutesy toiletries bags, this question was rather appropriate. Joseph realised that Mandy must be starting to think of Joseph as a rather odd human. ‘No, no, everything’s okay.’ Joseph said and then tried to smile. He then started to feel uncomfortable in the muscles of his face and realised he hadn’t stopped smiling. He resorted to focusing all of his attention on trying to get the smile to cease. It did not. He could tell from Mandy’s concerned expression. He was still smiling, rather uncomfortably he imagined, right at Mandy. Letting her soak in the teeth his toothbrush and floss probably mocked him for.

 

‘I think I’ll have this one.” Joseph announced after what was far too long. This wasn’t what caused the following small internal panic he had shortly afterwards that was known only to him. The cause of that was that he had not come any closer to deciding on a bag. Why on earth did he just say that he had. Mandy now expected results. Mandy expected him to move towards the one bag in particular that he had just prior announced that he wanted to purchase. The one that he thought was just right for him. He resolved to just close his eyes and grab one slowly at random, taking deep calming breaths all the while, not stopping to think until afterwards, how completely insane that must have looked to Mandy, who had been ever so nice and probably didn’t need more reasons to thing he was mad.

 

‘I like that one too sir!’ Mandy said with what sounded like a huge smile on her face. Joseph realised that he was imagining such a smile and took that as a sign to reopen his eyes. It was only a little smile. ‘Will you be wanting anything else?’

 

Joseph really really really didn’t. ‘Sure.’

 

‘Wonderful,’ Mandy said, letting her smile grow a little wider. ‘What else can I help you with?’

 

Joseph realised he had nothing to say to that. ‘Actually, I um, don’t want anything else.’

 

‘Oh.’ Mandy said, surprised, letting her smile fade. Did she look hurt as well? Joseph thought she definitely looked a little hurt as well. This upset him. He didn’t want to hurt Mandy. Mandy was ever so nice, and she’d been so patient with him, and when she laughed at him that one time it was only a tiny teensy little bit. ‘Well would you like to follow me to the cash register then?’ She beamed. Her smile suddenly wider than ever. Joseph had no idea what to make of that. 

 

Joseph forgot his pin number on his first credit card twice before switching to his debit card, which he only messed up once. Mandy managed not to say anything. Mandy was great. Joseph liked Mandy. Her cool demeanour allowed Joseph to manage not to think of all the stupid things he’d done and thought today. Maybe if he just bought this bag, looked up, and was a bit more confident about things, he could still enjoy the day, and eventually his stupid holiday with his stupid cousins. Joseph embraced this new outlook. He smiled back at her for an appropriate amount of time, and then wondered out of the entrance and into the fresh May breeze. He took a deep breath and smiled to himself, thinking about all the rest of the day he had left. All thanks to his new bag and that little bit of guidance from Mandy. He took his new special toiletries bag for going away out of the plastic shopping bag and had a look at it.

 

It was the fucking cat one.


© Copyright 2020 Carlyle Laurent. All rights reserved.

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