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Rated: E · Short Story · Other · #2232320
What's on your grocery list? Is anything really free?
Finalist signature for the 2020 Quill Awards.

Lydia Holdstead stared at the notification in her hand. How could it even be possible? She shook her head, causing strawberry blonde curls to bounce around her flushed face. A phone call would clear this up. She hadn't fallen off the turnip wagon yesterday, and she sure wasn't going to fall for any scam or be hoodwinked into letting some sleazy salesman come into her home to "demonstrate" anything. In her minimalist style study, she punched the number listed on the document.

"Thank you for calling Blue Lagoon resort, this is Maybel, how may I assist you today?" A brisk, somewhat perky woman asked after the second ring.

"I received a notification by mail from this resort that claims I've won a four day, three-night weekend as some sort of raffle drawing prize," Lydia said by way of greeting.

"Your name please Ma'am."

"Lydia Holdstead."

"And you're from Wisteria Falls, Texas?"

"Yes, but I don't remember ever signing up for a raffle for your company or anyone for that matter." There was a slight pause before the woman responded in her brisk way.

"Did you shop at PiggyWiggly within the last two weeks and spend at least a hundred and fifty dollars?"

Lydia sat up a little straighter in her ergonomic mesh chair. "Yes, actually, I have." Was the Piggly keeping track of sales or something?

"For the last three weeks, they've been running a nationwide raffle campaign and all purchases over one hundred dollars that are paid with a debit or credit card are automatically entered into the weekly drawing."

"Without my consent or even being aware that such an event was going on?" Lydia demanded, feeling rather alarmed at this unexpected news.

"The store is supposed to have flyers and banners publicizing the event," The woman explained. "Did you notice any of the promotional ads placed in the store?"

"No, I did not." Lydia denied hotly. "So, they just gave my personal information to a third party without my knowing?"

"I can call the store manager at the location where you made your purchase and confirm if they indeed do or do not have the promotional items on display." Maybel offered in her now somewhat less perky voice. "But, I'm not sure what good that will do, as your information was already given to us."

"So, what is this Blue Lagoon Resort all about?" Lydia asked. "Where is it? How much am I expected to shell out?" She was pretty sure she heard a sharp intake of breath over the line.

"No catch. Your prize package includes airfare for you and a guest to fly to Padre Island, there on the Gulf of Mexico, and an all-expense stay for four days and three nights at the resort. Inside the resort itself is a water park, bar and grill, spa, gym, and an IMAX Theater. Your package includes meals, snacks, room service, attractions outside of the resort. Every day features an all-you-can-eat Las Vegas-style buffet that is also included in your package deal. A shuttle van from the resort will pick you up and return you to the airport."

"Is there anything I have to pay upfront? What further information do you need from me?" Lydia asked, still waiting for the catch.

"We have all the information we need," Maybel assured her. " When would you like to leave for your trip?"

* * * * *

A week later, Lydia and her husband were reclining on chaise lounges on the beach gazing into the azure blue waters watching seagulls and gently crashing waves.

"This was such a great idea babe," John said as he accepted another tropical drink in a coconut shell from the waiter who passed by. " I still can't imagine how you managed all this." Lydia gave a soft laugh and sipped her peach-colored fruit drink.

"This has definitely been a weekend we will not forget soon. I hate to leave in the morning," She said with a sigh. It had been an amazing weekend. Walking on the boardwalk and eating from the many food stalls, the time spent in the spa soaking in the delicately scented bath salts, lavishly delicious foods, walking on the beach, collecting shells, and soaking up the sun. In all the years they had been married, they'd never had a vacation like this one. The one and only drawback being she couldn't shake the feeling of being watched, which was absurd. No one was paying her or her husband any mind. Whenever she'd look around, she never saw anyone giving them any kind of attention.

"Hey Sweetie, how about helping me rub more of this honey butter suntan lotion on? I can't believe it actually smells like REAL butter and honey." Slowly, they took turns slathering each other with the smooth as butter lotion.

* * * * * *

"How much longer do they need to bake in that hot sun?" Complained Weeble. He was hungry and getting antsy.

"You know what happens when we don't let them bake in the sun long enough, Weeble," Maybel warned. "It won't kill us to wait till tonight." Weeble huffed into his bristly thatch of noodly-like feelers above his mouth. Why did he have to choose such a bossy mate?

The two watchers sat poised on the fourth-floor balcony of the Blue Lagoon Resort keeping a close watch on the visitors. Of the half dozen who arrived the past Friday, these were the most delectable and tempting. Their grocery list had included tons of salty, sugary foods, processed foods, fast-frozen type foods, sodas, chips, and very little veggies. Oh yes, they filled their bodies to capacity on low nutrient foods, which was exactly what the watchers looked for. Those health food types tasted like cardboard! All toned and tough. Nooo, these folks, with their soft muscles and plenty of fat deposits and high glucose levels, now that's where all the taste is!

As expected, they had spent most of their time eating the vast array of tempting foods and drinks, getting massaged and soaked in salty brine spa baths, and baking in the sun until their skin was turning a deep golden brown. Yes, by tonight, when they consumed their bedtime snacks and drinks, they would be fairly ready to pop. Both Watchers licked their purplish-blue lips in anticipation.

What's on YOUR grocery list??
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