Completely Innocent Paper Tubes
And funny to boot (at least to me), so I thought I'd share.
I am on the hunt for small cardboard tubes. About the size of a paper towel tube, the kind you used to beat your little sister or brother with right after you tired of using as a trumpet/bullhorn.
I have been to 4 different stores – Kinko's, Michael's, Xpedx (a paper store), and Hobby Lobby. They all had the bigger size ones, but I needed about 50 and at $1.09 apiece, that gets pricey.
Tuesday night at a Hobby Lobby in
The store was almost vacant and the staff probably wanted to go home early. In my mind's eye, I imagined them all milling around the back door, anxiously looking from their wrist to the clock on the wall and back to their wrist.
Really, they could have been doing anything. Anything except helping me, the lone customer in the store. Looking for small tubes.
The store manager, a woman who was probably in her late-30s but looked mid-40s, darted by me. Her more-salt-than-pepper hair had tight piglet curls pinched high on her head. Perhaps that's what made her look older.
Or perhaps it was the carton of cigarettes she smoked daily.
"Excuse me, ma'am?" A faint echo of my voice mixed with her rapid footsteps as I called out to her back.
She pivoted on her heals, making her beaded glasses tether slap her neck several times like a jockey's whip. "Yes?" Really it was more of a sigh of resentment than actual words.
"I'm looking for cardboard tubes that are…"
"Art supplies, aisle 7." She spun back around, her beaded whip slapped her neck and she was off.
"No, not that big…"
This time she came to a complete stop. At least her feet did. Her shoulders continued forward until the hunched themselves over in disgust.
Collecting her ire, she turned to me again. I could almost hear the jockey say, "Whoa, big girl, easy now…"
"How do you know they are too big?"
Let me stop here and point out two things – 1) even if they did have the tubes I was looking for, I wouldn't be buying them from her and 2) while I'm not an imposing man, I generally look like I'm up to no good (I think it's the tattoos and longhair). "Because I've been in aisle 7, and those are too big. Just like the ones at Kinko's, Michael's, and Xpedx. I need one about the size of a paper towel roll."
"Why would you need one that small?"
"Well, I think the smaller ones would be easier to sneak a painting out of the new wing of the
Her jaw dropped slightly and I turned to go, thanking her for her time. She probably called the police and gave them my description.