"Blugh," he says, poking a finger through a hole that has developed in his once trustworthy boxer shorts. It was like they were giving up on him, the disloyal bastards. He glowers at them because they are forcing him to go shopping.
Shopping always takes place in...public. This makes the Writer nervous, as he tends to get lost in...public.
The Writer wanders out to his Ford Contour and puts himself inside. Realizing he'd left his keys in the house (on the floor near a little drift of socks) he repeats the process after retrieving them.
"Where does one go to get underwear?" the Writer asks his driver's side airbag. He knew where the women-folk went. The women-folk had special stores in the mall for this kind of thing. Pink ones. With big posters in the windows that the men-folk were always looking at. The Writer couldn't recall having ever seen a place like that for men's underwear. A chrome place with pictures of cars on the windows.
"Guess I'll just go to Wal-Mart. I need some other..." He thinks for a moment. "...Things." There was a whole list of other things the Writer needed to purchase, but ironically, he had forgotten to write it down.
He pulls into the Wal-Mart lot, parks, and systematically expunges his car's location from short-term memory during his walk to the door. Actually, the Writer's unique mind does this for him, automatically.
"Sooo! Here we are at Wal-Mart! Sure is a big place, huh? Bet you'll get lost," it says.
"Aw, come on now. I know where Automotive is now and everything. If I get lost, I'll just re-synch there."
"Creative. Bet you'll get kidnapped."
"Hasn't happened yet."
"That means you're due."
This dialogue takes place as the Writer's body, on autopilot, rolls toward Automotive.
"Look. Just because---hey! What? Automotive? Now? What?" The Writer looks around, nonplussed.
"Ha ha!" chuckles his brain. "Feeling agoraphobic yet?"
"So far so good."
"That guy's staring at you."
"I'm not going to let you screw this up. I need..." a frown flickers across his face.
"It would have been funnier if you'd written '...a frown frolics across his face...' but I guess you know best," his brain says sarcastically.
"Boxer shorts!" he says, getting it. "I have to find, uh, the underwear section."
The Writer finds himself in a state of bewildered disarray as he stares around at the shelves of motor oil and antifreeze, like a moose confronted with a Windows error message.
In a rare show of solidarity, the Writer's brain suggests that he go and ask that woman in the blue shirt where he might find the boxer shorts. Whipping his body into spastic motion, he hurls himself across the aisle and asks.
"I don't work here," she says.
"Ha ha!" his brain snorts.
"Ah, well, that was awkward and terrible. I apologize for the confusion, and will now turn upon my heel and continue the quest solo! Onward!" he says and sprints off in a totally random direction.
"Bet you wish you brought your girlfriend along, don't you?" his brain wheedles.
"I could call her."
"And you think that'd impress her, do you? Call her up and ask her to Google you some underwear coordinates?"
"Besides, you don't get cell service in Wal-mart anyway."
Every now and then, events stack up just right and luck sees fit to grant the improbable. A tossed coin lands on edge. A wrong turn uncovers a shortcut. A distracted Writer finds what he's looking for at Wal-Mart.
"Would ya look at that," the Writer says in a sort of breathless, amazed way. "I found it!"
"Your girlfriend must've told you how before."
Looking at the shelf upon shelf of different types of underwear, the Writer is swept by intense Choice Paralysis.
"There's a kind...a kind of boxers I have at home where the fly doesn't...well, it stays closed. Without a button or glue or anything. But I can't remember the brand name..."
The Writer is helped considerably by a sticker on one brand advertising a fly that "Will Not Gap!" Gapping, he figures, the opposite of staying closed without a button or glue or anything, and is almost set to begin the search for the cash register when he notices that not only do they come in different sizes, but different patterns as well. They are sold in packages of three. Three random patterns.
"See if you can find a pack with some pink ones in it," suggests his brain.
"I'm going to get rid of you," the Writer mumbles back.
"Oh, lighten up. Just grab some and let's go get coffee."
"Should I get this pack? It's got some really horrible orange ones in it, but I like the red pair."
"You planning on showing off your boxers to the girlfriend? That'll impress her as much as calling for directions."
"Don't they just have a big barrel somewhere full of boxer shorts?" he asks philisophically. "You could just grab the ones you want with tongs, stuff 'em in a bag and buy 'em by weight, like at the bulk food section."
In the end, the Writer decides to get the 3-pack with the red ones in it, and another one containing a smart blue number he rather fancies. He puts them in the trunk, next to a big empty space he'd created, as if by magic, by forgetting to buy things to fill it. On the drive home, he thinks he'll put the red ones on when he gets there. That'll probably make him look quite dashing. He fumbles for his cell phone. The Girlfriend would probably like to see him being dashing, and the Writer is considerate of her feelings.
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