(a short story by Timothy J. Verret)
He saw the world as too big with him in it too small. He was small him in big world with the outcome, “too.” Too much. Too much hurt. Too much joy. Too much longing. Too much connection. He was about to get too much again, but this time it was going to come too close.
“Sir, you can’t have our bags to put your groceries in. You needed to bring your own bags,” the clerk said with a hint of remorse.
“I didn’t know this, ma’am. When did this law show up?” he asked.
“It’s not a law, sir. It’s the truth.”
“But there are too many grocery items for me to carry myself.”
“Well, put them back in the cart and unload them in your car.”
“I’m on foot!”
“Now, that is a problem, isn’t it?”
He carried what grocery items he could and just left the rest. Too much of a good thing, he thought. Onlookers laughed at his continual dropping of the items and picking them back up again and dropping them again and picking them up again. He wondered why no one helped, but he was used to this. This wouldn’t be all that bad, if the heat was not such a beeswax!, he tried to convince himself.
He made it to his apartment, realizing he had less grocery items than he had before he left the store. He dropped too many and was just too tired from the journey to pick them all up. Too tired now, he slumped on the couch, letting the cold items just defrost themselves.
There was a knock.
What was it about that voice? That tone of too kind?
He opened the door.
A man of mystery and motive stood facing him, holding the same grocery items he had dropped.
“I was behind you. I picked up every item you dropped and followed you here.”
Who does something like that? he thought.
“That was too kind of you. Really. I don’t know what to say?”
“Well, you can start by letting me in so I can put these heavy items somewhere.”
“Oh, sure. Where are my manners.”
He invited the mystery, motive man in and asked him to put them anywhere. The man put them where the other items were. It looked like a heap of discarded dreams, some neutral, some cold, some too much to not go to a dream dictionary and find out what they meant.
“Nice place you got here. Very colorful. Did you design it yourself?”
“Yeah. I’m fond of colors. I like a place where a rainbow shows up, even if the pot of gold is nowhere to be found.”
“That was a very clever line. Did you just make that up?”
“I’m afraid so.”
The mystery man applauded him. The man clapped in the rainbow room, and there was really nothing all that entertaining to warrant such praise. But it made him feel good. It made him feel that he was too important, and he liked that. Out of complete nervousness and embarrassment, he bowed.
“Mind if I sit down?” the mystery man asked.
“Sure. I mean, no, I don’t mind. Sit anywhere you’d like.”
The mystery man sat on the couch which left him wondering, now where am I supposed to sit? He sat on the floor.
“You don’t have to sit on the floor, you know. There is plenty of room up here.”
He got up and sat next to the mystery and motive man. Not too close, because the mystery man was, after all, still a mystery. and motive had not yet been determined.
“How long you been living here?” the man asked.
“I would say about a year, maybe.”
“Yes, I’m afraid so.”
“You like that expression. You’ve said it twice already.”
He looked at the mystery man and there was something in his eyes that spoke comfort and familiarity, albeit unawares.
“Would you like a drink, sir?” he asked.
“No, thank you, I really can’t stay for very long. I’m glad I followed you, though, because I have to tell you something, and I’m hoping you will be able to help me.”
“Help you? But, sir, I hardly know you.”
“Yeah, but I know you. You actually have been living here one year and one month now. I’ve watched you when you moved in and I’ve been watching you ever since.”
“It’s about my wife.”
The mystery man made a barfing sound, putting his finger to his mouth, pumping his finger in and out. Then, the mystery man laughed, but he didn’t.
“She’s a real knockout, I tell you that much, but I’m looking to knock her out for good. I need you to help me murder her, so I can move in here and live with you.”
Sometimes too much is REALLY not a good thing, he thought.
“Look, it won’t be that hard. She goes for her bikini wax on Thursdays. It’s Wednesday now, so we have the whole day to plan this out. But, as I mentioned, I can’t stay because I have to go buy the necessary tools to rid her out. You know, ropes and tape and a Hefty bag and what’s that stuff I can use to make her sleep after we nab her?”
Did I just say that?
“Yeah, that. Where do I get that, though?”
“I work at the hospital. I can get us some.”
“Wow! You can? That would be so helpful. Really, you’re being quite marvelous about all this. I didn’t expect you to take to it so fast. May I ask why you are so agreeable?”
“Too much is actually a really good thing.”
“I couldn’t agree with you more, friend.”
“I thought you might like that. Well, go do what you have to do and come back here and then we will spend time together figuring this out. And think about it like this: I worked my muscles today lugging those grocery items, as did you, so we are definitely in good physical shape for this.”
“Yes, we are.”
The mystery man gave him a long and passionate kiss before he left.
“I love you for doing this with me,” the man whispered in his ear.
“Yes, I love you, too. Too much,” he whispered back.
The mystery man got up, went to the door, turned around, and did that barfing gesture at him again. Then, he winked and then, he left.
Too much is actually a really good thing.