Kelly is looking at the dairy case, trying to find
the milk he gets when two things happen at once: Someone says loudly,
as if nearby, "you're blocking the aisle!" and the unpleasant metal
edge of a shopping cart catches Kelly sharp on the ankle. He turns,
blocking the entire aisle now, and stares down the complainant -
an average sweaty man with a shopping cart (It doesn't matter what
he looks like). Kelly just stares at him and doesn't move.
The man's eyes narrow and his head reaches forward slightly as
he gives Gruber the nearsighted once over. His eyes widen.
"Oh, shit, man, gee, it was my fault," the man says, sweating
and apologizing. "Sorry, I wasn't looking. Shit, man, Kelly Gruber.
Wait'll I tell my wife - she's a fan, huge fan, justa sec, ok?"
and the man abandons his cart and the aisle, looking for his wife,
Kelly grabs a carton at random, and milk in one hand, bread in
the other, he jogs down the aisle, keeping a peripheral watch for
the sweating man even as he clears the check-out.
Two blocks from home and Kelly is waiting for the light to change,
humming a song he doesn't know; something he picked up from the
radio. He watches two small boys practicing their high kicks and
accompanying shouts ("Yaaah!" or, "Hii-ya!" mostly) on the sidewalk
The boys have two kicks: 1) An awkward kick incorporating a short
preliminary hop, to gain momentum, that leads into a massive upward
swing with the right leg so hard it might catch someone in the chin
and just drop them like that. In a hurry. 2) A short run, several
striding steps and then a leap - more forward than upward, thrusting
with the left foot first, then swinging the left back and bringing
the right forward simultaneously. Blindingly fast. The idea being,
you show your the left and then - BAM! - you give what for with
the right. A scissor-kick really, soccer-style, but a lot dumber.
A high kick ends abruptly mid-shout as the would-be kicker falls
in a hurry. The light changes and Kelly eases the car through
the intersection, keeping it slow until he sees the boys upright
and unhurt, then gives it gas down the side-street toward home.
Pulling into the driveway, Kelly can see the newspaper is waiting
on the doorstep and: The milk is still cool, the bread is still