Things were moving along fine and my line was full. When my sister walked up to the register and asked me to move down to the baggers position I thought I had done something wrong.
“Why?” I asked almost insulted.
“Just move down for a minute,” she told me pushing me to the side.
She finished ringing up my current customer and welcomed the next, it was then I noticed them. How I didn’t notice them before is beyond me, I suppose I was concentrating harder than I thought. Two men stood in my line waiting for their turn to be rung up. They were older than both of us, with dirty blue jeans, one had a t-shirt and the other a button up shirt that was halfway unbuttoned.
They struggled to stay upright, swaying this way and that; one fell into the candy bars a few times. They tried to talk to each other but they only slurred. At this point in my life, I had never seen someone that drunk. Both men had a firm grasp on their cases of beer which kept tipping them forward which made it a real struggle for them not to fall into the customer in front of them. I felt my eyes widen as I took them in.
Finally it was their turn to pay. They stumbled up to the register, dropping their cases of beer onto the counter; almost missing it. One of the men pulled his wallet out—oblivious to my sister’s face. Calmly she put her hand on a case of beer and spoke.
“I’m sorry guys I can’t sell you this beer.”
“Why?” One of the men asked surprised.
“Because you’re already drunk,” she told them.
“I’m not drunk,” the man proclaimed pressing his hand against his chest, “It’s my medication.”
I heard my sister sigh ‘uh-huh’ under her breath before she spoke again.
“Well I can smell your medication all the way over here. I can’t sell this to you.”
The man huffed as if he were offended; jerking his head back with attitude (almost falling backwards) he managed a disgusted slurred sound.
“Well I’ll go somewhere else and buy it then.” He spit, his friend nodding in agreement behind him.
His friend managed a, ‘Yeah’ before stumbling sideways.
“That’s fine.” My sister told them.
I stood there astonished, counting the times each one almost fell over. I couldn’t believe just how offended they were at this point.
Then he leaned over the counter a bit, squinting his eyes as if he couldn’t really see my sister. He looked at her as if he were confused at first, then he turned to me; still squinting. He pulled himself back upright as he looked back at my sister.
“I don’t know which one I want more,” he told her, “You or the little blond.”
I can only describe the sound that came out of me as the initial sound you make right before you throw up. I didn’t mean to make that sound but it was out of me before I could stop it. The woman next in line scrunched her face up silently as if she smelled something raunchy. There was a good ten seconds of him awkwardly starting at both of us (I was silently screaming on the inside) before my sister inhaled deeply.
“Leave.” She had never been that monotone before.
They turned and stumbled towards the door, unbelievably staying upright the whole time. My mouth was still open when I turned back to her.
“Okay take your spot back.” She told me walking away.
I was so stunned I couldn’t say anything. To this day, she still laughs about it.