It was an early Saturday afternoon when Joe Average drove past the Greenwood Park Mall. His ten year old son, a red-haired, freckle-faced boy named Johnny, rode shotgun. The back seat of their mini-van held sacks of various items purchased from several different stores.
Before leaving on their weekly errand run, his wife, Jane, gave him a “honey-do” list which included, among other things, shopping for non-perishable grocery items. Jane may not have been the world’s most beautiful woman – or even the neighborhood’s most beautiful for that matter – but she was organized, kind and tenderhearted. She loved Joe, Johnny and their daughter, Jenni, more than life itself. This is why Joe didn’t mind running errands for her.
With Mother’s Day just around the corner, Joe wanted to get something special for his wife. With his grocery shopping complete, he decided to make one last stop. When Joe asked Johnny for gift ideas, he got a surprise answer. His son suggested that they buy mom a land mine.
With a smile on his face, Joe nodded in affirmation and pulled into the parking lot of Blood Bath & Beyond, a store that sold some of the best merchandise of its kind. Joe’s smile was contagious and his son grinned from ear to ear, creating a cute set of freckle-faced dimples. Johnny stepped out of the maroon-colored mini-van and then hopped around the vehicle like a rabbit.
“Can you guess what I’m jumping over, Daddy?”
Joe grabbed his son’s hand and led him to the glass, double doors of Blood Bath & Beyond. The automated doors opened up and as they walked through, little Johnny repeated his question.
Joe noticed one of the store employees walking by in a blood red uniform with the BB&B store logo embroidered on her shirt. He turned to his son and answered, “Yes but you have to remember that mommy doesn’t know what it is yet and we want to keep it secret until she opens it.”
“Don’t worry, Dad, I won’t tell. But you know what I’m jumping over, right?”
“I told you yes. You’re jumping over mommy’s present.”
Johnny nodded. “I sure hope mom’s boss ain’t smart enough to jump over it.”
“Her boss won’t know anything if you don’t tell,” Joe commented.
Little Johnny rolled his hazel eyes and brushed a red strand of hair out of his face. He crossed his arms indignantly. “I can keep a secret you know.”
Joe waved down the red uniformed store employee that had passed by just moments ago. It was a blonde haired girl who looked like she might be fresh out of high school. Her name tag read, “Janice.” “May I help you?” she asked.
Joe explained what they were looking for. When he informed her that it was a Mother’s Day gift, Janice’s eyes brightened and she said, “That’s an excellent idea!”
Joe pointed to little Johnny. “Actually, it was my son’s idea.”
“You’re very creative,” Janice said, causing Johnny to blush. She bent over and rubbed his rust-colored hair, disheveling it even further. Joe made a mental note to schedule his son for a haircut in the near future.
Janice led them through the store, past the aisle of bedspreads, bath towels and scented soaps. Another aisle held flamethrowers, bazookas and chainsaws. He smiled as he thought of his wife’s reaction to the land mine. He knew she’d love it, assuming he could find the right style.
“Here we are,” Janice said. “As you can see, we have a large assortment.” She took one off the shelf and presented it to him. “This is our standard model.”
Joe looked at the picture on the cardboard box exterior. He turned it over and read the specifications. It wasn’t exactly what he wanted, but he passed the box to his son anyway. This gift was Johnny’s idea after all and he should feel involved.
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