A few days ago, Danny and I took a late-night trip to the grocery store. We had been sitting on the couch in our pajamas watching pointless television when we reached that point — that point when one can no longer ignore the nagging desire for chocolate chip cookies. So we pulled on dirty jeans and old tee-shirts at 11 pm and headed to Randall’s for their fabulous $3.99-for-24-delicious-cookies. We were walking down the dairy aisle for some milk when we saw a plastic bag a few feet away, near the Cheez Whiz, inflated and knotted on top.
Inside the plastic bag were about ten live crickets.
The blue print on the outside of the bag read “PetCo,” and obviously some reptile owner had dropped them while picking up nacho supplies. How, I ask you, do you not notice when you drop a bag full of crickets? Isn’t a bag full of crickets one of those items that you are constantly aware of while it’s on your person? And why — why — would you bring these crickets into the grocery store?
It was sad, really. These crickets were momentarily filled with the thrill of freedom. They flung their spindly black bodies against the wall of the plastic bag, fixated on the aisles and aisles of dry goods that could be their home for the remainder of their cricket lives. Days of cook-in-the-bag rice and saltine crackers. Nights of corn flakes and ramen noodles.
We left the bag lying in the dairy section — because really, what do you do with a plastic bag of crickets in the grocery store? — and headed toward the door. In the vestibule of the store, next to quarter machines vending plastic fluorescent alien rings, buying a 15-cent generic cola, was a young man. This young man looked like someone who owned an animal that required ten hopeful crickets trying to leap their way through a cellophane PetCo bag in the dairy aisle. I mentioned this to Danny, pointing out all of his cricket-worthy characteristics. The seedy camo shorts. The shifty, unsettled eyes. The Chuck Taylor sneakers with DIE CRICKETS DIE doodled on the toe. Well, the last one isn’t true. But obviously this was a cricket-dropping person.
Danny made no comment. Wisely, he did not want to rouse the ire of someone who wouldn’t notice if he dropped his crickets.
As we were climbing into the car with our cookies and milk, the young man emerged. Carrying the crickets. It remains uncertain if these crickets were in fact his and my comments jogged his memory (“Hey, what happened to my bag of crickets?”) or if he was just some sort of cricket-phile who heard of a golden opportunity (“A dropped bag of crickets near the Cheez Whiz? Score!”).
In any case, we are going to frequent the grocery store at night more often.