I walked into an antique store the other month, and the guy behind the counter, a silvery old boy about seventy, put finger to lips and then announced, “Don’t spook the cattle.”
I squinted and looked around the room, hoping to discover the old coot was talking to some other customer, hopefully in the-know. Unfortunately, his crazy comment was directed at me. So I responded with a simple, typical response that any one of us would have came up with. “Huh?”
He smiled and sorta whispered “You heard me, son.”
“Okay, Dad. I’m over here like what, and you’re over there spoutin’ off nonsense, Mr. Old Droopy Skin Face.” I felt disgust and I’m not against throwing punches, regardless of his obvious osteoporosis. I feel like I started doing stretches right there in front of him, getting ready for the fight of his life. In reality, I was breathing deeply through my nose which is rare ‘cuz I’m a well known mouth breather.
I decided to take a couple steps further towards the ancient gentleman behind the glass counter. I put my hands on said counter and cleared my throat, before looking him in his blue-blood shot eyes. “Look, guy. I’m going to give you one last chance to redeem your geriatric self. We got off on the wrong foot. I’m in here, perusing wooden artifacts and what do I get outta you? ‘Don’t spook the cow’s.”
“The cattle.” The old hen didn’t even bat an eye.
Suddenly, the door chimes went off and in slithered a few young rowdies. These were the kind of teens that think every word they say is golden and physical violence is a way of life.
They approached where I stood and I didn’t budge. One hopped up and sat on the counter, while another stepped behind the counter and stopped inches in front of the old owner. The third stood centimeters away from me and for a second or two, we locked eyes and I didn’t know if he wanted to shank me or smooch me. Luckily, he pulled out a blade.
I stepped back and came up with these words. “Are you guys robbing the Old Schooler here?!” I was genuinely shocked, loaded with adrenaline and 10 percent afraid.
In that second, I felt like ‘have him.. he’s a jerk, I’m outta here’. When he answered, I saw it clearer. “The old man beeped us to come and beat you up. He’s our employer. You’re the target.”
“K what cattle did I spook exactly!” I was sweating profusely and literally beside myself.
The head goon aka 14 year old idiot opened his mouth. “Haha he says that to everyone. You should have just minded your business.”
Then my alarm went off and I hit snooze.