Results 1 to 9 of 9
  1. #1
    bandwagoner fans suck ducks's Avatar
    My Team
    San Antonio Spurs
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Post Count
    69,469
    "I look forward to lifting the holds just as soon as they impose the sanctions on Nord Stream 2 that are required by federal law," Cruz told the news network.

    He added that Secretary of State "Tony Blinken likes pointing out that the waiver of sanctions can be rescinded. He's right. And that's how they can get the holds lifted."

    Sounds like Biden is breaking laws
    Cruz is trying to force him to obey laws

  2. #2
    若いパイパン大好き baseline bum's Avatar
    My Team
    San Antonio Spurs
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Post Count
    84,505
    "Did you want your milk in the bag?" the girl bagging the groceries asked me. The sound was a bit muffled through the God-awful Ohio State Buckeyes bandana she was using as a face covering, but I understood her just fine.

    "Nah, that's ok," I said loudly, trying to fight through the surgical mask I wore. I grabbed the milk and stuck it in the hole I'd left for it in the back of the cart. I reached up to the counter to grab the last two 12-packs of soda, but she put my double pack of paper towels on top of them at the last second, and our hands brushed together briefly.

    "Sorry," she said sheepishly, blushing as she pulled her hands away. Her deep blue eyes made contact with mine for a few moments before she looked back to the groceries.

    "No problem," I said, grinning slightly, though she couldn't see it. The sodas went in the cart first, followed by the paper towels and a few other bags she'd finished.

    "Same thing with your laundry soap?" she asked. "No bag?"

    "Yes, ma'am," I answered, taking the Tide directly from her and stashing it on the bottom of the cart. The cashier, a kind lady who had to be pushing 70, finished ringing me up.

    "That'll be $62.32," she said. I punched a few buttons on the keypad, grabbing some cash out for the kids who cut my grass in the process. Lawn care was something I usually enjoyed, but work had been cutting into my free time lately, and besides, the neighbor kids needed a way to make some summer cash.

    "You have a nice day, sir," the bag girl said. I couldn't see it, but her eyes told me she was smiling under that disgusting mask. I returned her well wishes, as well as her invisible smile, and pushed my cart toward the door. I was still holding not only my wallet, but also my debit card and the three $20 bills the cashier had handed me, so I moved out of the traffic flow to get everything put away.

    As I was stuffing the cash into the billfold, I noticed two guys leave the self-checkout lanes and head toward my intended exit. They appeared to be in their mid-20s, though it was a little hard to tell, since neither seemed to know where the shaving products were located at this particular Kroger. Both wore yellow utility vests on top of slightly dingy white T-shirts, but to my dismay, neither wore a mask. I was ready to look back into my wallet, but I noticed they were both staring at me.

    I thought to say something, but then I realized they weren't actually looking at me. I followed their stares over my shoulder, and landed back on the cute bag girl from the lane I'd just left. There weren't a ton of people in the store on a Tuesday mid-afternoon, so she didn't have more groceries to pack up just yet. She was talking to the elderly cashier, but her eyes cut toward the two men before quickly looking away.

    Both guys were grinning, looking back and forth between each other and the girl. They spent at least another 30 seconds leering at her, to the point where it started to make me uncomfortable. I couldn't hear all of what was said, but I picked up "tag that ass," " ties," and "call me daddy."

    I didn't want to start anything in the store, but... what the actual ?

    They lingered a few more seconds before finally leaving the store, and I turned around to look back at the girl in question. She was rolling her eyes and chatting with the cashier, pointing in the general direction the two guys had just left. Now that I took the time to actually look at her, I could see what interested them. Her long, jet black hair hung in a loose ponytail more than halfway down her back, reaching toward an ass that was pretty impressive, at least from this distance. Her dark blue apron rested on top of a baggy T-shirt, but she couldn't completely hide what had to be fairly large breasts.

    She was also really young, though without seeing her entire face I couldn't tell for sure. I was pretty sure she wasn't a minor, but it was a close thing. I guessed 18, maybe 19 at most.

    The things I could do to that body, my mind idly speculated... Yeah, and what will you talk about before and after? The latest Tik Tok trends?

    I just chuckled at the humorous inner monologue. I'd been looking for a few seconds, and realized I might be encroaching on the other guys' level of creepiness. Before I could turn back, though, the cashier pointed in my direction, and the girl turned and looked at me. Her face turned slightly pink, but she still managed to give me a small wave before she looked away, and I felt a grin creep onto my face under my mask.

    Don't get me wrong -- I'm a good-looking guy, and I'm well aware of that. I'm 6-foot-4 and weigh anywhere between 250 and 260 pounds, depending on how clean I'm eating at any given moment. I run 5 miles every other day and I spend 50-60 hours a week working at construction sites, so I'm in as good of shape as I was in my Army days. I've been told I'm "ruggedly handsome," and though I have no idea what the that means, I've never had any complaints on my looks.

    I'm also a month short of 40 years old, so while I got plenty of attention from more experienced women, the younger ones usually just thought of me as old. That was fine by me, because I generally wanted more from a woman than just sex appeal and the older I got, the more difficult I found it to connect with that age group. Still, young, hot women can generally have any man they want, and this one in particular hadn't exactly been subtle about checking me out. All inner voices aside, I was gonna shut up and take the win.

    I returned her wave and offered up a sheepish "what-can-you-do" shrug as I turned and pushed my cart out of the store. Honestly, I wanted to go back and apologize for the boorish behavior of my fellow Y-chromosome owners, but I didn't see any way that wouldn't make me as creepy as them.

    I spotted the two bright yellow vests walking across the parking lot, and I watched them carefully as I slowly walked to my F-250. They got into a white work truck a few rows away from me, and only then did I drop my guard and load up my groceries. I climbed up into the cab and started her up to get the AC rolling. I hung my mask on the rear-view mirror and grabbed the hand sanitizer from the center console. All that done, I pulled out my phone. I'd been texting back and forth with an ex-girlfriend for a few days now. We hadn't seen each other since we called it quits six months ago, just before Christmas. Neither of us were much for casual hookups or the friends-with-benefits thing, but the pandemic had limited our abilities to meet other people and move on, and we were both starting to get lonely. We had no plans to get all the way back together -- there was a reason we'd broken up, after all -- but I was pretty sure at least certain parts of us were going to get back together sometime soon.

    I texted her some dirty joke that I was rather proud of and put my phone in the cup holder. I strapped my seat belt on and was just about to throw the truck in reverse when I caught something in the corner of my eye.

    Two somethings, actually, and they were both yellow.

    I'd stopped watching when they got in their truck, but apparently they hadn't actually left the parking lot, and now they were both walking back toward the store. My Spidey sense started tingling something fierce, and I shut the truck off and opened the door. Surely they weren't dumb enough to actually do anything in the middle of the day? Alas, I trusted my instincts a lot more than I did two guys who had already proven to be bags. Besides, if four decades on this planet had taught me anything, it was to never, ever, underestimate a person's innate ability to be stupid.

    Mask in hand, I quickly headed back inside. Yeah, there were at least a few customers in the store, and I'm sure they had security somewhere in here. In this day and age, though, customers were just as likely to film on their phones instead of actually intervening, and supermarket rent-a-cops were far from reliable. Even if security realized there was a problem and managed to get there before the guys tried to get touchy-feely, she'd still have to deal with a couple of minutes of their bull , and she didn't deserve that.

    When I got back into the store, my su ions were confirmed. They stood on either side of her now, hitting her from both sides with what I was sure was high-level, intellectual conversation. Her lane had a customer in it, so she was trying to parry them off while also trying to do her job. She looked uncomfortable, but there were a large amount of groceries still on the belt, so I'm not sure the cashier even noticed.

    I wasn't going to just charge headlong into a confrontation. I stopped a few feet away, listening in as close as I could over the noise of the store.

    "C'mon, Kat," I heard the bigger one say. His beard was as scraggly as it was long, with random hairs flying every which way as it reached toward his chest. He definitely seemed to be the instigator of the two. "It'll be fun."

    "You know I hate that damn name, Mike," she said, and for a fleeting second, I wondered if I had it all wrong. I thought it was just two dudes rudely hitting on a stranger. I didn't expect them to know each other's names. That thought went away pretty quickly, though, when he tried to get a handful of her ass. He made contact, but she squirmed away before he could do anything else and shot him a glare I could tell was deadly even with her bandana on.

    "Don't you ing touch me," she spat out, loud enough that he could hear it but not so loud that it would make a scene in front of other customers. Of course, she rolled right into the other guy, who while not the main catalyst of this whole thing, certainly wasn't shrinking away from it. His skin was darker; I guessed Hispanic, but it was hard to tell because his beard was even bushier than the first guy. He had a couple of gy calf tats snaking up each leg and disappearing under some capris I was fairly certain hadn't been washed in a couple days. He touched her arm just above the elbow and started sliding it toward her shoulder.

    "What the ?" she whisper-shouted, spinning out of the new guy's grasp, but right back into Mike's. "Seriously guys, off. I need to do my job."

    "Aww," Mike said, feigning feeling hurt. "Are you asking us to leave, Kitty Kat?"

    The customer was still loading her stuff onto the conveyor belt, and while Kat's progress had slowed some with the unwanted attention, it hadn't backed the process up enough to catch the cashier's eye yet. No one else seemed to be looking at the three of them.

    Mike moved behind her and put one hand on her hips as he pressed into her. His other hand went around to her front, and that's when I stepped in.

    "'Scuse me, ma'am," I drawled, walking up into the space he'd just vacated to her right and tapping her lightly on the shoulder. I got a good look at her name tag: Katrina. "You bagged my groceries for me a few minutes ago, but I seem to be missing one of the bags."

    Her eyes told me how happy she was to see me -- not me in particular, probably, but just anyone who might help. Before she could say anything, Mike answered for her.

    "You see any extra bags sitting here, asshole?" he spat, barely looking at me before fixing his predatorial gaze back on her. "Customer service is over there." He jerked his head to the left, and I guess he expected that I'd just drop it.

    "Thanks, friend," I said, turning the natural southern in my voice up to 11. I'd given them an easy out, but they'd decided not to take it. That left the more direct approach. "Look, y'all. I understand how critical it is to find baby oil in these troubled times. How else are you and your stud muffin boy-toy over there gonna rub each other down and get ready for what I'm sure is a very busy social agenda this evening?"

    Katrina snickered under her mask, but the guys' reaction was far from humorous. Mike moved from behind her and tried to get up in my face, but I had him by at least 5 inches, and it's hard to look tough when you're looking up. His buddy joined him, though, and I could tell the backup gave Mike a false sense of confidence.

    "Sadly, I think this young lady here is too busy at the moment to help you locate it. I promise, I'll let you guys get in front of me at customer service. Who am I to stand in the way of modern romance?"

    No, I'm not one of those people. I have absolutely no problem with sexuality, bisexuality, ... any sexuality. But I had a hunch that these two probably did, and I was gonna push whatever buttons I had to in order to draw their attention to me and away from this defenseless, innocent girl.

    "Look here, mother er--" Mike said. His face turned red as his nostrils flared out, but I put a hand up before he could get anything else out.

    "Let me stop you right there," I replied. "This ain't really somethin' you wanna do."

    "Oh yeah?" his friend asked. His voice was definitely Latin-accented. "There's two of us, asshole, and only one of you."

    "Yeah, I noticed that," I said. If I was still chewing tobacco like I had in my early-to-mid 20s, this would have been the time to spit out some juice for effect. "You got anymore friends you can bring in here, maybe even up the odds a little bit?"

    The line was cliché and corny, but I did my best to keep a serious look on my face. I had no doubt I could take them -- it had been 13 years since I'd been in an actual fistfight, but the odds had been against me then, too, with three on my side and seven on theirs. That fight -- and the whole night that followed -- had turned out pretty ing well. Still, one or both of these fools might surprise me and have some actual skills, and I didn't wanna get y.

    "Listen, I didn't come back in here looking for a fight," I said. "Just leave this girl alone, turn around, and walk away."

    Neither Mike nor his friend moved, and I wondered if maybe they were considering my offer. We'd finally gotten the attention of the cashier and the other customer, a 20-something woman who had her phone out, no doubt filming the whole thing.

    "Nah," Mike said. "I don't think we will."

    I needn't have worried about his fighting skills. Yeah, he threw his punch a little more quickly than I expected, but that just meant it got a little closer to my jaw before I caught him by the wrist. I rotated his arm clockwise, forcing him to bend over or risk me tearing up his shoulder.

    "C'mon, man," I said, trying my best to sound bored. "Just let it go."

    He responded by kicking his right leg back, catching me solid on the shin. It hurt a little, but thankfully he hadn't aimed a little higher. Kicking me square in the kneecap would have been a lot worse. I might have even dropped his arm.

    But he didn't, and I didn't. So instead, I sighed dramatically, much like a mother would at a child who made the same mess for the 4th or 5th time.

    Then I punched in him the lower back, directly in his right kidney. I didn't put my full force behind it -- didn't want him peeing blood or anything -- but I hit him hard enough that he collapsed to the ground in pain.

    His buddy started toward me, but suddenly he doubled over, too, clutching his nether regions as his face scrunched up comically. I saw the toe of a black boot between his legs, then watched Katrina lower it to the ground as my would-be attacker faded from the picture.

    Ok, apparently not defenseless. With that murderous look on her face, maybe not that innocent, either. I thought she was easy on the eyes before, but it was just a pleasant non-factor in my day. Now, I had to admit... I was a little drawn to her.

    Same facts as before, though: small chance of a felony, and even if not, definitely too damn young for me.

    I heard a noise at my feet and quickly stepped back as Mike started vomiting on the floor.

    Guess I'd punched a little too hard.

    We'd attracted a crowd, and most of them groaned and either covered their own mouths or just turned away altogether. It wasn't pleasant by any means, but I'd seen worse.

    Two rent-a-cops pushed through the small gathering. I wanted to say something, but Katrina beat me to it.

    "Oh, now you candyasses show up," she said, spitting nails at them as they approached, much to my amusement. "He already took care of it." She tossed her head in my direction, her long, luscious dark ponytail swinging wildly as she did.

    "I think y'all are gonna need the actual cops on this one, guys," I offered.

    "On their way," one of them replied.

    The next hour was a tad chaotic. The Columbus Division of Police arrived as advertised and, after taking my statement, they got one from the two asshats on the floor, Katrina, and a couple of witnesses. Once they had pictures of the "crime scene," so to speak, the shift manager asked if he could clean up the mess Mike had made.

    "I can do that," I offered, reaching for the mop.

    "No, I got it," the man said.

    "Seriously," I said. "I made him puke. I don't mind cleaning it up."

    He laughed and started cleaning. "They told me what you did for Trina. If not for this stupid pandemic, I'd shake your hand. I'll be damned if I'm gonna let you clean up."

    "Suit yourself," I said with a chuckle.

    From what I could cobble together listening to their statements, Mike used to date Katrina's older sister, but things had ended badly. When he saw her standing in the grocery store, he saw a chance to get back at his ex and have some fun at the same time. During his statement, he'd actually said the words, "I always heard her little sister spread it around like butter on toast. Thought I'd get me some, and stick it to my frigid ex at the same time." I was really hoping he got to spend a night in jail with some other guys who saw no need for baby oil.

    After the dust finally settled, I wasn't in any trouble. The customer whose groceries Katrina had been trying to pack up was more than happy to share her video with the police, as was another customer who'd filmed the main event. Between that and Katrina's statement, there was more than enough evidence to confirm that not only had I not thrown the first punch, but I'd given him a chance to walk away after he did, not acting in anything other than self-defense until he'd tried a second time.

    They asked me if I wanted to press charges against Mike, but I hadn't decided yet. For one, I wanted both of these ers to get in trouble, and thanks to Katrina's wicked soccer kick, I'd never gotten a chance to defend myself from the Hispanic guy. I was pretty sure she was willing to file her own charges, but no one but me had seen the two of them feeling her up before the fight started. They had our statements, but they were going to need surveillance camera footage to have a case.
    Last edited by baseline bum; 07-21-2021 at 03:38 PM.

  3. #3
    🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆 ElNono's Avatar
    My Team
    San Antonio Spurs
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Post Count
    143,793
    "Did you want your milk in the bag?" the girl bagging the groceries asked me. The sound was a bit muffled through the God-awful Ohio State Buckeyes bandana she was using as a face covering, but I understood her just fine.

    "Nah, that's ok," I said loudly, trying to fight through the surgical mask I wore. I grabbed the milk and stuck it in the hole I'd left for it in the back of the cart. I reached up to the counter to grab the last two 12-packs of soda, but she put my double pack of paper towels on top of them at the last second, and our hands brushed together briefly.

    "Sorry," she said sheepishly, blushing as she pulled her hands away. Her deep blue eyes made contact with mine for a few moments before she looked back to the groceries.

    "No problem," I said, grinning slightly, though she couldn't see it. The sodas went in the cart first, followed by the paper towels and a few other bags she'd finished.

    "Same thing with your laundry soap?" she asked. "No bag?"

    "Yes, ma'am," I answered, taking the Tide directly from her and stashing it on the bottom of the cart. The cashier, a kind lady who had to be pushing 70, finished ringing me up.

    "That'll be $62.32," she said. I punched a few buttons on the keypad, grabbing some cash out for the kids who cut my grass in the process. Lawn care was something I usually enjoyed, but work had been cutting into my free time lately, and besides, the neighbor kids needed a way to make some summer cash.

    "You have a nice day, sir," the bag girl said. I couldn't see it, but her eyes told me she was smiling under that disgusting mask. I returned her well wishes, as well as her invisible smile, and pushed my cart toward the door. I was still holding not only my wallet, but also my debit card and the three $20 bills the cashier had handed me, so I moved out of the traffic flow to get everything put away.

    As I was stuffing the cash into the billfold, I noticed two guys leave the self-checkout lanes and head toward my intended exit. They appeared to be in their mid-20s, though it was a little hard to tell, since neither seemed to know where the shaving products were located at this particular Kroger. Both wore yellow utility vests on top of slightly dingy white T-shirts, but to my dismay, neither wore a mask. I was ready to look back into my wallet, but I noticed they were both staring at me.

    I thought to say something, but then I realized they weren't actually looking at me. I followed their stares over my shoulder, and landed back on the cute bag girl from the lane I'd just left. There weren't a ton of people in the store on a Tuesday mid-afternoon, so she didn't have more groceries to pack up just yet. She was talking to the elderly cashier, but her eyes cut toward the two men before quickly looking away.

    Both guys were grinning, looking back and forth between each other and the girl. They spent at least another 30 seconds leering at her, to the point where it started to make me uncomfortable. I couldn't hear all of what was said, but I picked up "tag that ass," " ties," and "call me daddy."

    I didn't want to start anything in the store, but... what the actual ?

    They lingered a few more seconds before finally leaving the store, and I turned around to look back at the girl in question. She was rolling her eyes and chatting with the cashier, pointing in the general direction the two guys had just left. Now that I took the time to actually look at her, I could see what interested them. Her long, jet black hair hung in a loose ponytail more than halfway down her back, reaching toward an ass that was pretty impressive, at least from this distance. Her dark blue apron rested on top of a baggy T-shirt, but she couldn't completely hide what had to be fairly large breasts.

    She was also really young, though without seeing her entire face I couldn't tell for sure. I was pretty sure she wasn't a minor, but it was a close thing. I guessed 18, maybe 19 at most.

    The things I could do to that body, my mind idly speculated... Yeah, and what will you talk about before and after? The latest Tik Tok trends?

    I just chuckled at the humorous inner monologue. I'd been looking for a few seconds, and realized I might be encroaching on the other guys' level of creepiness. Before I could turn back, though, the cashier pointed in my direction, and the girl turned and looked at me. Her face turned slightly pink, but she still managed to give me a small wave before she looked away, and I felt a grin creep onto my face under my mask.

    Don't get me wrong -- I'm a good-looking guy, and I'm well aware of that. I'm 6-foot-4 and weigh anywhere between 250 and 260 pounds, depending on how clean I'm eating at any given moment. I run 5 miles every other day and I spend 50-60 hours a week working at construction sites, so I'm in as good of shape as I was in my Army days. I've been told I'm "ruggedly handsome," and though I have no idea what the that means, I've never had any complaints on my looks.

    I'm also a month short of 40 years old, so while I got plenty of attention from more experienced women, the younger ones usually just thought of me as old. That was fine by me, because I generally wanted more from a woman than just sex appeal and the older I got, the more difficult I found it to connect with that age group. Still, young, hot women can generally have any man they want, and this one in particular hadn't exactly been subtle about checking me out. All inner voices aside, I was gonna shut up and take the win.

    I returned her wave and offered up a sheepish "what-can-you-do" shrug as I turned and pushed my cart out of the store. Honestly, I wanted to go back and apologize for the boorish behavior of my fellow Y-chromosome owners, but I didn't see any way that wouldn't make me as creepy as them.

    I spotted the two bright yellow vests walking across the parking lot, and I watched them carefully as I slowly walked to my F-250. They got into a white work truck a few rows away from me, and only then did I drop my guard and load up my groceries. I climbed up into the cab and started her up to get the AC rolling. I hung my mask on the rear-view mirror and grabbed the hand sanitizer from the center console. All that done, I pulled out my phone. I'd been texting back and forth with an ex-girlfriend for a few days now. We hadn't seen each other since we called it quits six months ago, just before Christmas. Neither of us were much for casual hookups or the friends-with-benefits thing, but the pandemic had limited our abilities to meet other people and move on, and we were both starting to get lonely. We had no plans to get all the way back together -- there was a reason we'd broken up, after all -- but I was pretty sure at least certain parts of us were going to get back together sometime soon.

    I texted her some dirty joke that I was rather proud of and put my phone in the cup holder. I strapped my seat belt on and was just about to throw the truck in reverse when I caught something in the corner of my eye.

    Two somethings, actually, and they were both yellow.

    I'd stopped watching when they got in their truck, but apparently they hadn't actually left the parking lot, and now they were both walking back toward the store. My Spidey sense started tingling something fierce, and I shut the truck off and opened the door. Surely they weren't dumb enough to actually do anything in the middle of the day? Alas, I trusted my instincts a lot more than I did two guys who had already proven to be bags. Besides, if four decades on this planet had taught me anything, it was to never, ever, underestimate a person's innate ability to be stupid.

    Mask in hand, I quickly headed back inside. Yeah, there were at least a few customers in the store, and I'm sure they had security somewhere in here. In this day and age, though, customers were just as likely to film on their phones instead of actually intervening, and supermarket rent-a-cops were far from reliable. Even if security realized there was a problem and managed to get there before the guys tried to get touchy-feely, she'd still have to deal with a couple of minutes of their bull , and she didn't deserve that.

    When I got back into the store, my su ions were confirmed. They stood on either side of her now, hitting her from both sides with what I was sure was high-level, intellectual conversation. Her lane had a customer in it, so she was trying to parry them off while also trying to do her job. She looked uncomfortable, but there were a large amount of groceries still on the belt, so I'm not sure the cashier even noticed.

    I wasn't going to just charge headlong into a confrontation. I stopped a few feet away, listening in as close as I could over the noise of the store.

    "C'mon, Kat," I heard the bigger one say. His beard was as scraggly as it was long, with random hairs flying every which way as it reached toward his chest. He definitely seemed to be the instigator of the two. "It'll be fun."

    "You know I hate that damn name, Mike," she said, and for a fleeting second, I wondered if I had it all wrong. I thought it was just two dudes rudely hitting on a stranger. I didn't expect them to know each other's names. That thought went away pretty quickly, though, when he tried to get a handful of her ass. He made contact, but she squirmed away before he could do anything else and shot him a glare I could tell was deadly even with her bandana on.

    "Don't you ing touch me," she spat out, loud enough that he could hear it but not so loud that it would make a scene in front of other customers. Of course, she rolled right into the other guy, who while not the main catalyst of this whole thing, certainly wasn't shrinking away from it. His skin was darker; I guessed Hispanic, but it was hard to tell because his beard was even bushier than the first guy. He had a couple of gy calf tats snaking up each leg and disappearing under some capris I was fairly certain hadn't been washed in a couple days. He touched her arm just above the elbow and started sliding it toward her shoulder.

    "What the ?" she whisper-shouted, spinning out of the new guy's grasp, but right back into Mike's. "Seriously guys, off. I need to do my job."

    "Aww," Mike said, feigning feeling hurt. "Are you asking us to leave, Kitty Kat?"

    The customer was still loading her stuff onto the conveyor belt, and while Kat's progress had slowed some with the unwanted attention, it hadn't backed the process up enough to catch the cashier's eye yet. No one else seemed to be looking at the three of them.

    Mike moved behind her and put one hand on her hips as he pressed into her. His other hand went around to her front, and that's when I stepped in.

    "'Scuse me, ma'am," I drawled, walking up into the space he'd just vacated to her right and tapping her lightly on the shoulder. I got a good look at her name tag: Katrina. "You bagged my groceries for me a few minutes ago, but I seem to be missing one of the bags."

    Her eyes told me how happy she was to see me -- not me in particular, probably, but just anyone who might help. Before she could say anything, Mike answered for her.

    "You see any extra bags sitting here, asshole?" he spat, barely looking at me before fixing his predatorial gaze back on her. "Customer service is over there." He jerked his head to the left, and I guess he expected that I'd just drop it.

    "Thanks, friend," I said, turning the natural southern in my voice up to 11. I'd given them an easy out, but they'd decided not to take it. That left the more direct approach. "Look, y'all. I understand how critical it is to find baby oil in these troubled times. How else are you and your stud muffin boy-toy over there gonna rub each other down and get ready for what I'm sure is a very busy social agenda this evening?"

    Katrina snickered under her mask, but the guys' reaction was far from humorous. Mike moved from behind her and tried to get up in my face, but I had him by at least 5 inches, and it's hard to look tough when you're looking up. His buddy joined him, though, and I could tell the backup gave Mike a false sense of confidence.

    "Sadly, I think this young lady here is too busy at the moment to help you locate it. I promise, I'll let you guys get in front of me at customer service. Who am I to stand in the way of modern romance?"

    No, I'm not one of those people. I have absolutely no problem with sexuality, bisexuality, ... any sexuality. But I had a hunch that these two probably did, and I was gonna push whatever buttons I had to in order to draw their attention to me and away from this defenseless, innocent girl.

    "Look here, mother er--" Mike said. His face turned red as his nostrils flared out, but I put a hand up before he could get anything else out.

    "Let me stop you right there," I replied. "This ain't really somethin' you wanna do."

    "Oh yeah?" his friend asked. His voice was definitely Latin-accented. "There's two of us, asshole, and only one of you."

    "Yeah, I noticed that," I said. If I was still chewing tobacco like I had in my early-to-mid 20s, this would have been the time to spit out some juice for effect. "You got anymore friends you can bring in here, maybe even up the odds a little bit?"

    The line was cliché and corny, but I did my best to keep a serious look on my face. I had no doubt I could take them -- it had been 13 years since I'd been in an actual fistfight, but the odds had been against me then, too, with three on my side and seven on theirs. That fight -- and the whole night that followed -- had turned out pretty ing well. Still, one or both of these fools might surprise me and have some actual skills, and I didn't wanna get y.

    "Listen, I didn't come back in here looking for a fight," I said. "Just leave this girl alone, turn around, and walk away."

    Neither Mike nor his friend moved, and I wondered if maybe they were considering my offer. We'd finally gotten the attention of the cashier and the other customer, a 20-something woman who had her phone out, no doubt filming the whole thing.

    "Nah," Mike said. "I don't think we will."

    I needn't have worried about his fighting skills. Yeah, he threw his punch a little more quickly than I expected, but that just meant it got a little closer to my jaw before I caught him by the wrist. I rotated his arm clockwise, forcing him to bend over or risk me tearing up his shoulder.

    "C'mon, man," I said, trying my best to sound bored. "Just let it go."

    He responded by kicking his right leg back, catching me solid on the shin. It hurt a little, but thankfully he hadn't aimed a little higher. Kicking me square in the kneecap would have been a lot worse. I might have even dropped his arm.

    But he didn't, and I didn't. So instead, I sighed dramatically, much like a mother would at a child who made the same mess for the 4th or 5th time.

    Then I punched in him the lower back, directly in his right kidney. I didn't put my full force behind it -- didn't want him peeing blood or anything -- but I hit him hard enough that he collapsed to the ground in pain.

    His buddy started toward me, but suddenly he doubled over, too, clutching his nether regions as his face scrunched up comically. I saw the toe of a black boot between his legs, then watched Katrina lower it to the ground as my would-be attacker faded from the picture.

    Ok, apparently not defenseless. With that murderous look on her face, maybe not that innocent, either. I thought she was easy on the eyes before, but it was just a pleasant non-factor in my day. Now, I had to admit... I was a little drawn to her.

    Same facts as before, though: small chance of a felony, and even if not, definitely too damn young for me.

    I heard a noise at my feet and quickly stepped back as Mike started vomiting on the floor.

    Guess I'd punched a little too hard.

    We'd attracted a crowd, and most of them groaned and either covered their own mouths or just turned away altogether. It wasn't pleasant by any means, but I'd seen worse.

    Two rent-a-cops pushed through the small gathering. I wanted to say something, but Katrina beat me to it.

    "Oh, now you candyasses show up," she said, spitting nails at them as they approached, much to my amusement. "He already took care of it." She tossed her head in my direction, her long, luscious dark ponytail swinging wildly as she did.

    "I think y'all are gonna need the actual cops on this one, guys," I offered.

    "On their way," one of them replied.

    The next hour was a tad chaotic. The Columbus Division of Police arrived as advertised and, after taking my statement, they got one from the two asshats on the floor, Katrina, and a couple of witnesses. Once they had pictures of the "crime scene," so to speak, the shift manager asked if he could clean up the mess Mike had made.

    "I can do that," I offered, reaching for the mop.

    "No, I got it," the man said.

    "Seriously," I said. "I made him puke. I don't mind cleaning it up."

    He laughed and started cleaning. "They told me what you did for Trina. If not for this stupid pandemic, I'd shake your hand. I'll be damned if I'm gonna let you clean up."

    "Suit yourself," I said with a chuckle.

    From what I could cobble together listening to their statements, Mike used to date Katrina's older sister, but things had ended badly. When he saw her standing in the grocery store, he saw a chance to get back at his ex and have some fun at the same time. During his statement, he'd actually said the words, "I always heard her little sister spread it around like butter on toast. Thought I'd get me some, and stick it to my frigid ex at the same time." I was really hoping he got to spend a night in jail with some other guys who saw no need for baby oil.

    After the dust finally settled, I wasn't in any trouble. The customer whose groceries Katrina had been trying to pack up was more than happy to share her video with the police, as was another customer who'd filmed the main event. Between that and Katrina's statement, there was more than enough evidence to confirm that not only had I not thrown the first punch, but I'd given him a chance to walk away after he did, not acting in anything other than self-defense until he'd tried a second time.

    They asked me if I wanted to press charges against Mike, but I hadn't decided yet. For one, I wanted both of these ers to get in trouble, and thanks to Katrina's wicked soccer kick, I'd never gotten a chance to defend myself from the Hispanic guy. I was pretty sure she was willing to file her own charges, but no one but me had seen the two of them feeling her up before the fight started. They had our statements, but they were going to need surveillance camera footage to have a case.
    this

  4. #4
    The Timeless One Leetonidas's Avatar
    My Team
    San Antonio Spurs
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Post Count
    25,548
    "Did you want your milk in the bag?" the girl bagging the groceries asked me. The sound was a bit muffled through the God-awful Ohio State Buckeyes bandana she was using as a face covering, but I understood her just fine.

    "Nah, that's ok," I said loudly, trying to fight through the surgical mask I wore. I grabbed the milk and stuck it in the hole I'd left for it in the back of the cart. I reached up to the counter to grab the last two 12-packs of soda, but she put my double pack of paper towels on top of them at the last second, and our hands brushed together briefly.

    "Sorry," she said sheepishly, blushing as she pulled her hands away. Her deep blue eyes made contact with mine for a few moments before she looked back to the groceries.

    "No problem," I said, grinning slightly, though she couldn't see it. The sodas went in the cart first, followed by the paper towels and a few other bags she'd finished.

    "Same thing with your laundry soap?" she asked. "No bag?"

    "Yes, ma'am," I answered, taking the Tide directly from her and stashing it on the bottom of the cart. The cashier, a kind lady who had to be pushing 70, finished ringing me up.

    "That'll be $62.32," she said. I punched a few buttons on the keypad, grabbing some cash out for the kids who cut my grass in the process. Lawn care was something I usually enjoyed, but work had been cutting into my free time lately, and besides, the neighbor kids needed a way to make some summer cash.

    "You have a nice day, sir," the bag girl said. I couldn't see it, but her eyes told me she was smiling under that disgusting mask. I returned her well wishes, as well as her invisible smile, and pushed my cart toward the door. I was still holding not only my wallet, but also my debit card and the three $20 bills the cashier had handed me, so I moved out of the traffic flow to get everything put away.

    As I was stuffing the cash into the billfold, I noticed two guys leave the self-checkout lanes and head toward my intended exit. They appeared to be in their mid-20s, though it was a little hard to tell, since neither seemed to know where the shaving products were located at this particular Kroger. Both wore yellow utility vests on top of slightly dingy white T-shirts, but to my dismay, neither wore a mask. I was ready to look back into my wallet, but I noticed they were both staring at me.

    I thought to say something, but then I realized they weren't actually looking at me. I followed their stares over my shoulder, and landed back on the cute bag girl from the lane I'd just left. There weren't a ton of people in the store on a Tuesday mid-afternoon, so she didn't have more groceries to pack up just yet. She was talking to the elderly cashier, but her eyes cut toward the two men before quickly looking away.

    Both guys were grinning, looking back and forth between each other and the girl. They spent at least another 30 seconds leering at her, to the point where it started to make me uncomfortable. I couldn't hear all of what was said, but I picked up "tag that ass," " ties," and "call me daddy."

    I didn't want to start anything in the store, but... what the actual ?

    They lingered a few more seconds before finally leaving the store, and I turned around to look back at the girl in question. She was rolling her eyes and chatting with the cashier, pointing in the general direction the two guys had just left. Now that I took the time to actually look at her, I could see what interested them. Her long, jet black hair hung in a loose ponytail more than halfway down her back, reaching toward an ass that was pretty impressive, at least from this distance. Her dark blue apron rested on top of a baggy T-shirt, but she couldn't completely hide what had to be fairly large breasts.

    She was also really young, though without seeing her entire face I couldn't tell for sure. I was pretty sure she wasn't a minor, but it was a close thing. I guessed 18, maybe 19 at most.

    The things I could do to that body, my mind idly speculated... Yeah, and what will you talk about before and after? The latest Tik Tok trends?

    I just chuckled at the humorous inner monologue. I'd been looking for a few seconds, and realized I might be encroaching on the other guys' level of creepiness. Before I could turn back, though, the cashier pointed in my direction, and the girl turned and looked at me. Her face turned slightly pink, but she still managed to give me a small wave before she looked away, and I felt a grin creep onto my face under my mask.

    Don't get me wrong -- I'm a good-looking guy, and I'm well aware of that. I'm 6-foot-4 and weigh anywhere between 250 and 260 pounds, depending on how clean I'm eating at any given moment. I run 5 miles every other day and I spend 50-60 hours a week working at construction sites, so I'm in as good of shape as I was in my Army days. I've been told I'm "ruggedly handsome," and though I have no idea what the that means, I've never had any complaints on my looks.

    I'm also a month short of 40 years old, so while I got plenty of attention from more experienced women, the younger ones usually just thought of me as old. That was fine by me, because I generally wanted more from a woman than just sex appeal and the older I got, the more difficult I found it to connect with that age group. Still, young, hot women can generally have any man they want, and this one in particular hadn't exactly been subtle about checking me out. All inner voices aside, I was gonna shut up and take the win.

    I returned her wave and offered up a sheepish "what-can-you-do" shrug as I turned and pushed my cart out of the store. Honestly, I wanted to go back and apologize for the boorish behavior of my fellow Y-chromosome owners, but I didn't see any way that wouldn't make me as creepy as them.

    I spotted the two bright yellow vests walking across the parking lot, and I watched them carefully as I slowly walked to my F-250. They got into a white work truck a few rows away from me, and only then did I drop my guard and load up my groceries. I climbed up into the cab and started her up to get the AC rolling. I hung my mask on the rear-view mirror and grabbed the hand sanitizer from the center console. All that done, I pulled out my phone. I'd been texting back and forth with an ex-girlfriend for a few days now. We hadn't seen each other since we called it quits six months ago, just before Christmas. Neither of us were much for casual hookups or the friends-with-benefits thing, but the pandemic had limited our abilities to meet other people and move on, and we were both starting to get lonely. We had no plans to get all the way back together -- there was a reason we'd broken up, after all -- but I was pretty sure at least certain parts of us were going to get back together sometime soon.

    I texted her some dirty joke that I was rather proud of and put my phone in the cup holder. I strapped my seat belt on and was just about to throw the truck in reverse when I caught something in the corner of my eye.

    Two somethings, actually, and they were both yellow.

    I'd stopped watching when they got in their truck, but apparently they hadn't actually left the parking lot, and now they were both walking back toward the store. My Spidey sense started tingling something fierce, and I shut the truck off and opened the door. Surely they weren't dumb enough to actually do anything in the middle of the day? Alas, I trusted my instincts a lot more than I did two guys who had already proven to be bags. Besides, if four decades on this planet had taught me anything, it was to never, ever, underestimate a person's innate ability to be stupid.

    Mask in hand, I quickly headed back inside. Yeah, there were at least a few customers in the store, and I'm sure they had security somewhere in here. In this day and age, though, customers were just as likely to film on their phones instead of actually intervening, and supermarket rent-a-cops were far from reliable. Even if security realized there was a problem and managed to get there before the guys tried to get touchy-feely, she'd still have to deal with a couple of minutes of their bull , and she didn't deserve that.

    When I got back into the store, my su ions were confirmed. They stood on either side of her now, hitting her from both sides with what I was sure was high-level, intellectual conversation. Her lane had a customer in it, so she was trying to parry them off while also trying to do her job. She looked uncomfortable, but there were a large amount of groceries still on the belt, so I'm not sure the cashier even noticed.

    I wasn't going to just charge headlong into a confrontation. I stopped a few feet away, listening in as close as I could over the noise of the store.

    "C'mon, Kat," I heard the bigger one say. His beard was as scraggly as it was long, with random hairs flying every which way as it reached toward his chest. He definitely seemed to be the instigator of the two. "It'll be fun."

    "You know I hate that damn name, Mike," she said, and for a fleeting second, I wondered if I had it all wrong. I thought it was just two dudes rudely hitting on a stranger. I didn't expect them to know each other's names. That thought went away pretty quickly, though, when he tried to get a handful of her ass. He made contact, but she squirmed away before he could do anything else and shot him a glare I could tell was deadly even with her bandana on.

    "Don't you ing touch me," she spat out, loud enough that he could hear it but not so loud that it would make a scene in front of other customers. Of course, she rolled right into the other guy, who while not the main catalyst of this whole thing, certainly wasn't shrinking away from it. His skin was darker; I guessed Hispanic, but it was hard to tell because his beard was even bushier than the first guy. He had a couple of gy calf tats snaking up each leg and disappearing under some capris I was fairly certain hadn't been washed in a couple days. He touched her arm just above the elbow and started sliding it toward her shoulder.

    "What the ?" she whisper-shouted, spinning out of the new guy's grasp, but right back into Mike's. "Seriously guys, off. I need to do my job."

    "Aww," Mike said, feigning feeling hurt. "Are you asking us to leave, Kitty Kat?"

    The customer was still loading her stuff onto the conveyor belt, and while Kat's progress had slowed some with the unwanted attention, it hadn't backed the process up enough to catch the cashier's eye yet. No one else seemed to be looking at the three of them.

    Mike moved behind her and put one hand on her hips as he pressed into her. His other hand went around to her front, and that's when I stepped in.

    "'Scuse me, ma'am," I drawled, walking up into the space he'd just vacated to her right and tapping her lightly on the shoulder. I got a good look at her name tag: Katrina. "You bagged my groceries for me a few minutes ago, but I seem to be missing one of the bags."

    Her eyes told me how happy she was to see me -- not me in particular, probably, but just anyone who might help. Before she could say anything, Mike answered for her.

    "You see any extra bags sitting here, asshole?" he spat, barely looking at me before fixing his predatorial gaze back on her. "Customer service is over there." He jerked his head to the left, and I guess he expected that I'd just drop it.

    "Thanks, friend," I said, turning the natural southern in my voice up to 11. I'd given them an easy out, but they'd decided not to take it. That left the more direct approach. "Look, y'all. I understand how critical it is to find baby oil in these troubled times. How else are you and your stud muffin boy-toy over there gonna rub each other down and get ready for what I'm sure is a very busy social agenda this evening?"

    Katrina snickered under her mask, but the guys' reaction was far from humorous. Mike moved from behind her and tried to get up in my face, but I had him by at least 5 inches, and it's hard to look tough when you're looking up. His buddy joined him, though, and I could tell the backup gave Mike a false sense of confidence.

    "Sadly, I think this young lady here is too busy at the moment to help you locate it. I promise, I'll let you guys get in front of me at customer service. Who am I to stand in the way of modern romance?"

    No, I'm not one of those people. I have absolutely no problem with sexuality, bisexuality, ... any sexuality. But I had a hunch that these two probably did, and I was gonna push whatever buttons I had to in order to draw their attention to me and away from this defenseless, innocent girl.

    "Look here, mother er--" Mike said. His face turned red as his nostrils flared out, but I put a hand up before he could get anything else out.

    "Let me stop you right there," I replied. "This ain't really somethin' you wanna do."

    "Oh yeah?" his friend asked. His voice was definitely Latin-accented. "There's two of us, asshole, and only one of you."

    "Yeah, I noticed that," I said. If I was still chewing tobacco like I had in my early-to-mid 20s, this would have been the time to spit out some juice for effect. "You got anymore friends you can bring in here, maybe even up the odds a little bit?"

    The line was cliché and corny, but I did my best to keep a serious look on my face. I had no doubt I could take them -- it had been 13 years since I'd been in an actual fistfight, but the odds had been against me then, too, with three on my side and seven on theirs. That fight -- and the whole night that followed -- had turned out pretty ing well. Still, one or both of these fools might surprise me and have some actual skills, and I didn't wanna get y.

    "Listen, I didn't come back in here looking for a fight," I said. "Just leave this girl alone, turn around, and walk away."

    Neither Mike nor his friend moved, and I wondered if maybe they were considering my offer. We'd finally gotten the attention of the cashier and the other customer, a 20-something woman who had her phone out, no doubt filming the whole thing.

    "Nah," Mike said. "I don't think we will."

    I needn't have worried about his fighting skills. Yeah, he threw his punch a little more quickly than I expected, but that just meant it got a little closer to my jaw before I caught him by the wrist. I rotated his arm clockwise, forcing him to bend over or risk me tearing up his shoulder.

    "C'mon, man," I said, trying my best to sound bored. "Just let it go."

    He responded by kicking his right leg back, catching me solid on the shin. It hurt a little, but thankfully he hadn't aimed a little higher. Kicking me square in the kneecap would have been a lot worse. I might have even dropped his arm.

    But he didn't, and I didn't. So instead, I sighed dramatically, much like a mother would at a child who made the same mess for the 4th or 5th time.

    Then I punched in him the lower back, directly in his right kidney. I didn't put my full force behind it -- didn't want him peeing blood or anything -- but I hit him hard enough that he collapsed to the ground in pain.

    His buddy started toward me, but suddenly he doubled over, too, clutching his nether regions as his face scrunched up comically. I saw the toe of a black boot between his legs, then watched Katrina lower it to the ground as my would-be attacker faded from the picture.

    Ok, apparently not defenseless. With that murderous look on her face, maybe not that innocent, either. I thought she was easy on the eyes before, but it was just a pleasant non-factor in my day. Now, I had to admit... I was a little drawn to her.

    Same facts as before, though: small chance of a felony, and even if not, definitely too damn young for me.

    I heard a noise at my feet and quickly stepped back as Mike started vomiting on the floor.

    Guess I'd punched a little too hard.

    We'd attracted a crowd, and most of them groaned and either covered their own mouths or just turned away altogether. It wasn't pleasant by any means, but I'd seen worse.

    Two rent-a-cops pushed through the small gathering. I wanted to say something, but Katrina beat me to it.

    "Oh, now you candyasses show up," she said, spitting nails at them as they approached, much to my amusement. "He already took care of it." She tossed her head in my direction, her long, luscious dark ponytail swinging wildly as she did.

    "I think y'all are gonna need the actual cops on this one, guys," I offered.

    "On their way," one of them replied.

    The next hour was a tad chaotic. The Columbus Division of Police arrived as advertised and, after taking my statement, they got one from the two asshats on the floor, Katrina, and a couple of witnesses. Once they had pictures of the "crime scene," so to speak, the shift manager asked if he could clean up the mess Mike had made.

    "I can do that," I offered, reaching for the mop.

    "No, I got it," the man said.

    "Seriously," I said. "I made him puke. I don't mind cleaning it up."

    He laughed and started cleaning. "They told me what you did for Trina. If not for this stupid pandemic, I'd shake your hand. I'll be damned if I'm gonna let you clean up."

    "Suit yourself," I said with a chuckle.

    From what I could cobble together listening to their statements, Mike used to date Katrina's older sister, but things had ended badly. When he saw her standing in the grocery store, he saw a chance to get back at his ex and have some fun at the same time. During his statement, he'd actually said the words, "I always heard her little sister spread it around like butter on toast. Thought I'd get me some, and stick it to my frigid ex at the same time." I was really hoping he got to spend a night in jail with some other guys who saw no need for baby oil.

    After the dust finally settled, I wasn't in any trouble. The customer whose groceries Katrina had been trying to pack up was more than happy to share her video with the police, as was another customer who'd filmed the main event. Between that and Katrina's statement, there was more than enough evidence to confirm that not only had I not thrown the first punch, but I'd given him a chance to walk away after he did, not acting in anything other than self-defense until he'd tried a second time.

    They asked me if I wanted to press charges against Mike, but I hadn't decided yet. For one, I wanted both of these ers to get in trouble, and thanks to Katrina's wicked soccer kick, I'd never gotten a chance to defend myself from the Hispanic guy. I was pretty sure she was willing to file her own charges, but no one but me had seen the two of them feeling her up before the fight started. They had our statements, but they were going to need surveillance camera footage to have a case.

  5. #5
    The Money Team DMX7's Avatar
    My Team
    San Antonio Spurs
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Post Count
    19,576
    "I look forward to lifting the holds just as soon as they impose the sanctions on Nord Stream 2 that are required by federal law," Cruz told the news network.

    He added that Secretary of State "Tony Blinken likes pointing out that the waiver of sanctions can be rescinded. He's right. And that's how they can get the holds lifted."

    Sounds like Biden is breaking laws
    Cruz is trying to force him to obey laws
    He can lawfully issue waivers. The sanction weren't going to stop the pipeline anyway. Germany has made it clear its willing to take any amount of political heat to get this done.

  6. #6
    Veteran
    My Team
    San Antonio Spurs
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Post Count
    92,214
    how does one sanction a gas pipeline?

    USA and Germany agree on the pipeline

  7. #7
    The Money Team DMX7's Avatar
    My Team
    San Antonio Spurs
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Post Count
    19,576
    Ted is desperate to become president and he think if he ever does then the same things won't be done in return to him.

  8. #8
    Believe. daboom1's Avatar
    My Team
    San Antonio Spurs
    Join Date
    Mar 2019
    Post Count
    1,969
    Hopefully Cruz runs again after Trumps 2nd term

  9. #9
    4-25-20 Will Hunting's Avatar
    My Team
    Boston Celtics
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Post Count
    20,257
    "Did you want your milk in the bag?" the girl bagging the groceries asked me. The sound was a bit muffled through the God-awful Ohio State Buckeyes bandana she was using as a face covering, but I understood her just fine.

    "Nah, that's ok," I said loudly, trying to fight through the surgical mask I wore. I grabbed the milk and stuck it in the hole I'd left for it in the back of the cart. I reached up to the counter to grab the last two 12-packs of soda, but she put my double pack of paper towels on top of them at the last second, and our hands brushed together briefly.

    "Sorry," she said sheepishly, blushing as she pulled her hands away. Her deep blue eyes made contact with mine for a few moments before she looked back to the groceries.

    "No problem," I said, grinning slightly, though she couldn't see it. The sodas went in the cart first, followed by the paper towels and a few other bags she'd finished.

    "Same thing with your laundry soap?" she asked. "No bag?"

    "Yes, ma'am," I answered, taking the Tide directly from her and stashing it on the bottom of the cart. The cashier, a kind lady who had to be pushing 70, finished ringing me up.

    "That'll be $62.32," she said. I punched a few buttons on the keypad, grabbing some cash out for the kids who cut my grass in the process. Lawn care was something I usually enjoyed, but work had been cutting into my free time lately, and besides, the neighbor kids needed a way to make some summer cash.

    "You have a nice day, sir," the bag girl said. I couldn't see it, but her eyes told me she was smiling under that disgusting mask. I returned her well wishes, as well as her invisible smile, and pushed my cart toward the door. I was still holding not only my wallet, but also my debit card and the three $20 bills the cashier had handed me, so I moved out of the traffic flow to get everything put away.

    As I was stuffing the cash into the billfold, I noticed two guys leave the self-checkout lanes and head toward my intended exit. They appeared to be in their mid-20s, though it was a little hard to tell, since neither seemed to know where the shaving products were located at this particular Kroger. Both wore yellow utility vests on top of slightly dingy white T-shirts, but to my dismay, neither wore a mask. I was ready to look back into my wallet, but I noticed they were both staring at me.

    I thought to say something, but then I realized they weren't actually looking at me. I followed their stares over my shoulder, and landed back on the cute bag girl from the lane I'd just left. There weren't a ton of people in the store on a Tuesday mid-afternoon, so she didn't have more groceries to pack up just yet. She was talking to the elderly cashier, but her eyes cut toward the two men before quickly looking away.

    Both guys were grinning, looking back and forth between each other and the girl. They spent at least another 30 seconds leering at her, to the point where it started to make me uncomfortable. I couldn't hear all of what was said, but I picked up "tag that ass," " ties," and "call me daddy."

    I didn't want to start anything in the store, but... what the actual ?

    They lingered a few more seconds before finally leaving the store, and I turned around to look back at the girl in question. She was rolling her eyes and chatting with the cashier, pointing in the general direction the two guys had just left. Now that I took the time to actually look at her, I could see what interested them. Her long, jet black hair hung in a loose ponytail more than halfway down her back, reaching toward an ass that was pretty impressive, at least from this distance. Her dark blue apron rested on top of a baggy T-shirt, but she couldn't completely hide what had to be fairly large breasts.

    She was also really young, though without seeing her entire face I couldn't tell for sure. I was pretty sure she wasn't a minor, but it was a close thing. I guessed 18, maybe 19 at most.

    The things I could do to that body, my mind idly speculated... Yeah, and what will you talk about before and after? The latest Tik Tok trends?

    I just chuckled at the humorous inner monologue. I'd been looking for a few seconds, and realized I might be encroaching on the other guys' level of creepiness. Before I could turn back, though, the cashier pointed in my direction, and the girl turned and looked at me. Her face turned slightly pink, but she still managed to give me a small wave before she looked away, and I felt a grin creep onto my face under my mask.

    Don't get me wrong -- I'm a good-looking guy, and I'm well aware of that. I'm 6-foot-4 and weigh anywhere between 250 and 260 pounds, depending on how clean I'm eating at any given moment. I run 5 miles every other day and I spend 50-60 hours a week working at construction sites, so I'm in as good of shape as I was in my Army days. I've been told I'm "ruggedly handsome," and though I have no idea what the that means, I've never had any complaints on my looks.

    I'm also a month short of 40 years old, so while I got plenty of attention from more experienced women, the younger ones usually just thought of me as old. That was fine by me, because I generally wanted more from a woman than just sex appeal and the older I got, the more difficult I found it to connect with that age group. Still, young, hot women can generally have any man they want, and this one in particular hadn't exactly been subtle about checking me out. All inner voices aside, I was gonna shut up and take the win.

    I returned her wave and offered up a sheepish "what-can-you-do" shrug as I turned and pushed my cart out of the store. Honestly, I wanted to go back and apologize for the boorish behavior of my fellow Y-chromosome owners, but I didn't see any way that wouldn't make me as creepy as them.

    I spotted the two bright yellow vests walking across the parking lot, and I watched them carefully as I slowly walked to my F-250. They got into a white work truck a few rows away from me, and only then did I drop my guard and load up my groceries. I climbed up into the cab and started her up to get the AC rolling. I hung my mask on the rear-view mirror and grabbed the hand sanitizer from the center console. All that done, I pulled out my phone. I'd been texting back and forth with an ex-girlfriend for a few days now. We hadn't seen each other since we called it quits six months ago, just before Christmas. Neither of us were much for casual hookups or the friends-with-benefits thing, but the pandemic had limited our abilities to meet other people and move on, and we were both starting to get lonely. We had no plans to get all the way back together -- there was a reason we'd broken up, after all -- but I was pretty sure at least certain parts of us were going to get back together sometime soon.

    I texted her some dirty joke that I was rather proud of and put my phone in the cup holder. I strapped my seat belt on and was just about to throw the truck in reverse when I caught something in the corner of my eye.

    Two somethings, actually, and they were both yellow.

    I'd stopped watching when they got in their truck, but apparently they hadn't actually left the parking lot, and now they were both walking back toward the store. My Spidey sense started tingling something fierce, and I shut the truck off and opened the door. Surely they weren't dumb enough to actually do anything in the middle of the day? Alas, I trusted my instincts a lot more than I did two guys who had already proven to be bags. Besides, if four decades on this planet had taught me anything, it was to never, ever, underestimate a person's innate ability to be stupid.

    Mask in hand, I quickly headed back inside. Yeah, there were at least a few customers in the store, and I'm sure they had security somewhere in here. In this day and age, though, customers were just as likely to film on their phones instead of actually intervening, and supermarket rent-a-cops were far from reliable. Even if security realized there was a problem and managed to get there before the guys tried to get touchy-feely, she'd still have to deal with a couple of minutes of their bull , and she didn't deserve that.

    When I got back into the store, my su ions were confirmed. They stood on either side of her now, hitting her from both sides with what I was sure was high-level, intellectual conversation. Her lane had a customer in it, so she was trying to parry them off while also trying to do her job. She looked uncomfortable, but there were a large amount of groceries still on the belt, so I'm not sure the cashier even noticed.

    I wasn't going to just charge headlong into a confrontation. I stopped a few feet away, listening in as close as I could over the noise of the store.

    "C'mon, Kat," I heard the bigger one say. His beard was as scraggly as it was long, with random hairs flying every which way as it reached toward his chest. He definitely seemed to be the instigator of the two. "It'll be fun."

    "You know I hate that damn name, Mike," she said, and for a fleeting second, I wondered if I had it all wrong. I thought it was just two dudes rudely hitting on a stranger. I didn't expect them to know each other's names. That thought went away pretty quickly, though, when he tried to get a handful of her ass. He made contact, but she squirmed away before he could do anything else and shot him a glare I could tell was deadly even with her bandana on.

    "Don't you ing touch me," she spat out, loud enough that he could hear it but not so loud that it would make a scene in front of other customers. Of course, she rolled right into the other guy, who while not the main catalyst of this whole thing, certainly wasn't shrinking away from it. His skin was darker; I guessed Hispanic, but it was hard to tell because his beard was even bushier than the first guy. He had a couple of gy calf tats snaking up each leg and disappearing under some capris I was fairly certain hadn't been washed in a couple days. He touched her arm just above the elbow and started sliding it toward her shoulder.

    "What the ?" she whisper-shouted, spinning out of the new guy's grasp, but right back into Mike's. "Seriously guys, off. I need to do my job."

    "Aww," Mike said, feigning feeling hurt. "Are you asking us to leave, Kitty Kat?"

    The customer was still loading her stuff onto the conveyor belt, and while Kat's progress had slowed some with the unwanted attention, it hadn't backed the process up enough to catch the cashier's eye yet. No one else seemed to be looking at the three of them.

    Mike moved behind her and put one hand on her hips as he pressed into her. His other hand went around to her front, and that's when I stepped in.

    "'Scuse me, ma'am," I drawled, walking up into the space he'd just vacated to her right and tapping her lightly on the shoulder. I got a good look at her name tag: Katrina. "You bagged my groceries for me a few minutes ago, but I seem to be missing one of the bags."

    Her eyes told me how happy she was to see me -- not me in particular, probably, but just anyone who might help. Before she could say anything, Mike answered for her.

    "You see any extra bags sitting here, asshole?" he spat, barely looking at me before fixing his predatorial gaze back on her. "Customer service is over there." He jerked his head to the left, and I guess he expected that I'd just drop it.

    "Thanks, friend," I said, turning the natural southern in my voice up to 11. I'd given them an easy out, but they'd decided not to take it. That left the more direct approach. "Look, y'all. I understand how critical it is to find baby oil in these troubled times. How else are you and your stud muffin boy-toy over there gonna rub each other down and get ready for what I'm sure is a very busy social agenda this evening?"

    Katrina snickered under her mask, but the guys' reaction was far from humorous. Mike moved from behind her and tried to get up in my face, but I had him by at least 5 inches, and it's hard to look tough when you're looking up. His buddy joined him, though, and I could tell the backup gave Mike a false sense of confidence.

    "Sadly, I think this young lady here is too busy at the moment to help you locate it. I promise, I'll let you guys get in front of me at customer service. Who am I to stand in the way of modern romance?"

    No, I'm not one of those people. I have absolutely no problem with sexuality, bisexuality, ... any sexuality. But I had a hunch that these two probably did, and I was gonna push whatever buttons I had to in order to draw their attention to me and away from this defenseless, innocent girl.

    "Look here, mother er--" Mike said. His face turned red as his nostrils flared out, but I put a hand up before he could get anything else out.

    "Let me stop you right there," I replied. "This ain't really somethin' you wanna do."

    "Oh yeah?" his friend asked. His voice was definitely Latin-accented. "There's two of us, asshole, and only one of you."

    "Yeah, I noticed that," I said. If I was still chewing tobacco like I had in my early-to-mid 20s, this would have been the time to spit out some juice for effect. "You got anymore friends you can bring in here, maybe even up the odds a little bit?"

    The line was cliché and corny, but I did my best to keep a serious look on my face. I had no doubt I could take them -- it had been 13 years since I'd been in an actual fistfight, but the odds had been against me then, too, with three on my side and seven on theirs. That fight -- and the whole night that followed -- had turned out pretty ing well. Still, one or both of these fools might surprise me and have some actual skills, and I didn't wanna get y.

    "Listen, I didn't come back in here looking for a fight," I said. "Just leave this girl alone, turn around, and walk away."

    Neither Mike nor his friend moved, and I wondered if maybe they were considering my offer. We'd finally gotten the attention of the cashier and the other customer, a 20-something woman who had her phone out, no doubt filming the whole thing.

    "Nah," Mike said. "I don't think we will."

    I needn't have worried about his fighting skills. Yeah, he threw his punch a little more quickly than I expected, but that just meant it got a little closer to my jaw before I caught him by the wrist. I rotated his arm clockwise, forcing him to bend over or risk me tearing up his shoulder.

    "C'mon, man," I said, trying my best to sound bored. "Just let it go."

    He responded by kicking his right leg back, catching me solid on the shin. It hurt a little, but thankfully he hadn't aimed a little higher. Kicking me square in the kneecap would have been a lot worse. I might have even dropped his arm.

    But he didn't, and I didn't. So instead, I sighed dramatically, much like a mother would at a child who made the same mess for the 4th or 5th time.

    Then I punched in him the lower back, directly in his right kidney. I didn't put my full force behind it -- didn't want him peeing blood or anything -- but I hit him hard enough that he collapsed to the ground in pain.

    His buddy started toward me, but suddenly he doubled over, too, clutching his nether regions as his face scrunched up comically. I saw the toe of a black boot between his legs, then watched Katrina lower it to the ground as my would-be attacker faded from the picture.

    Ok, apparently not defenseless. With that murderous look on her face, maybe not that innocent, either. I thought she was easy on the eyes before, but it was just a pleasant non-factor in my day. Now, I had to admit... I was a little drawn to her.

    Same facts as before, though: small chance of a felony, and even if not, definitely too damn young for me.

    I heard a noise at my feet and quickly stepped back as Mike started vomiting on the floor.

    Guess I'd punched a little too hard.

    We'd attracted a crowd, and most of them groaned and either covered their own mouths or just turned away altogether. It wasn't pleasant by any means, but I'd seen worse.

    Two rent-a-cops pushed through the small gathering. I wanted to say something, but Katrina beat me to it.

    "Oh, now you candyasses show up," she said, spitting nails at them as they approached, much to my amusement. "He already took care of it." She tossed her head in my direction, her long, luscious dark ponytail swinging wildly as she did.

    "I think y'all are gonna need the actual cops on this one, guys," I offered.

    "On their way," one of them replied.

    The next hour was a tad chaotic. The Columbus Division of Police arrived as advertised and, after taking my statement, they got one from the two asshats on the floor, Katrina, and a couple of witnesses. Once they had pictures of the "crime scene," so to speak, the shift manager asked if he could clean up the mess Mike had made.

    "I can do that," I offered, reaching for the mop.

    "No, I got it," the man said.

    "Seriously," I said. "I made him puke. I don't mind cleaning it up."

    He laughed and started cleaning. "They told me what you did for Trina. If not for this stupid pandemic, I'd shake your hand. I'll be damned if I'm gonna let you clean up."

    "Suit yourself," I said with a chuckle.

    From what I could cobble together listening to their statements, Mike used to date Katrina's older sister, but things had ended badly. When he saw her standing in the grocery store, he saw a chance to get back at his ex and have some fun at the same time. During his statement, he'd actually said the words, "I always heard her little sister spread it around like butter on toast. Thought I'd get me some, and stick it to my frigid ex at the same time." I was really hoping he got to spend a night in jail with some other guys who saw no need for baby oil.

    After the dust finally settled, I wasn't in any trouble. The customer whose groceries Katrina had been trying to pack up was more than happy to share her video with the police, as was another customer who'd filmed the main event. Between that and Katrina's statement, there was more than enough evidence to confirm that not only had I not thrown the first punch, but I'd given him a chance to walk away after he did, not acting in anything other than self-defense until he'd tried a second time.

    They asked me if I wanted to press charges against Mike, but I hadn't decided yet. For one, I wanted both of these ers to get in trouble, and thanks to Katrina's wicked soccer kick, I'd never gotten a chance to defend myself from the Hispanic guy. I was pretty sure she was willing to file her own charges, but no one but me had seen the two of them feeling her up before the fight started. They had our statements, but they were going to need surveillance camera footage to have a case.
    Mommy milky

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •