Rated: ASR · Short Story · Comedy · #1463529
There are always those few who are immune.
|Smiles, according to an article I read, Viral Smiles, are supposed to be contagious. A smile sends out little contagions that attack a grouch and infect them with happiness and understanding, at least in theory, but I have to disagree after putting that theory to a test.|
It all started on a beautiful Friday morning. The sun was glowing orange against a clear sky. The birds outside were singing and the tree limbs were waving as if inviting me to come out and enjoy the day. The view outside my window was lovely, until I saw Mr. Grammar, the neighborhood grouch. He always wore the same grey wool sweater over a white wife-beater shirt. And ironically, his nose hairs were the same dusty grey as his sweater. His scalp was dotted with age spots that dodged a white hair here and there, and I argued with him daily about his scruffy little poodle leaving presents in my yard. If I didn’t complain, he’d never pick up the dog’s poo.
I decided to try infecting him with a lethal dose of viral smile. On my way out to the car, I checked to make sure my front door was locked securely before turning toward the steps. Out of the corner of my eye I saw Mr. Grammar watching me. I walked down the steps to the driveway, and there I saw it. A tiny turd lay by my car. I waved at Mr. Grammar. “Hello, nice morning, isn’t it?” I proceeded to bend down, tissue in hand, and remove the brown squiggle without complaint.
The old grouch lumbered up to me. “What are you going to do with that?”
I stretched my lips back into a cheerful smile. “I’m going to throw it right over there in the trash cans.”
“You don’t fool me, Miss. You’re up to something.” He snatched the little poop from my hand. “Give me that.” As he walked away he mumbled, “I know a mischievous smile when I see one, that girl’s up to something.”
I stood stunned for a moment before getting into the car. On the drive to work the more I thought about his behavior, the angrier I became. What did he think I was going to do with dog feces? Does he own the poodle that secretes golden turds? I was fuming by the time I got to work, but I decided to take a few deep breaths and enjoy the rest of the day.
I got to McGregor’s Market, clocked in, and was given my drawer. Things were looking up. The boss assigned me to work the express lane. Quick little spurts of purchases instead of overloaded carts with screaming little brats hanging on the sides like a barrel of monkeys. I was elated. My first customer was going to get a big, bright grin.
A little old lady shuffled up with a basket and began placing items on the belt. “Good morning.” I expressed my happiness with a toothy beam.
“What’s so funny?” The loose, wrinkly skin on her arm swung as she placed it on her bony hip. “Just wait till you get old, honey, it won’t be so funny then.
My smile melted as I saw a package of adult diapers rolling up to me. “No, No! I wasn’t laughing at you I…”
“Forget it, hon, just check me out. I ain’t got time for no nonsense.”
As I checked her items, she rambled on about arthritis, incontinence, gout, and dentures. I just nodded my way through the transaction. “Have a nice day?” I hoped she didn’t take that the wrong way.
I got through the rest of my shift by somberly checking out each customer careful not to be overly cheerful.
I thought maybe the drive home would mellow me out, but I kept think back to the day's events and wondering what I did wrong. I was only trying to be nice. Preoccupied in thought, I ran a stop sign. Blue and red lights flickered behind me as I pulled over to the shoulder.
The officer walked up to my window. “Do you know why I stopped you?”
I ran my fingers through my hair. “Yes, but I can explain.” I smiled, even snickered a little, thinking he might find my story amusing. “I’ve had a bad day. This morn-”
“We all have bad days, little lady, and don’t think that innocent, little smile is going to get you out of a ticket.”
“But I know I ran the stop sign, I was just trying to explain.”
“License and registration, please.”
I handed him the necessary items, and he disappeared for a moment before returning with a notepad. He scribbled out a ticket and ripped it off. “Here ya go, watch where you’re going from now on.”
I wanted to cry. All I wanted to do was spread some cheer, infect others with happiness, and share my good mood. That article was so wrong.
As I pulled into my driveway, I saw old Mr. Grammar leering my way. I chose to ignore him as I exited my car and marched up to the door. I fumbled in my purse for a house key, when suddenly; a stray ball slapped me in back of the head. I spun around. “What the Hel-”
A little boy stood a few feet away from me with tears welling up in his eyes. “It was a assident, please don’t tell.” He wiped his nose on his sleeve.
I smiled. “It’s okay sweetie. It was just an accident.”
I was surprised, he smiled back, wiping his tears with his grimy hands as he nodded in agreement.
I ran over and handed him the ball.
“Tanks.” He giggled and raced back to his playmates.
I walked into the house, grabbed a pen and paper, and wrote a note to the editor of the magazine. I kindly suggested that the editor should explain to the author who wrote Viral Smiles that it might be a good idea to warn people, that like all other viruses, there are human beings who are immune.
Word count 1000