General Fiction posted November 10, 2017

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Everybody has errands to run


by teols2016

"Find the door," Cecily instructed. "Find the door."

Gunther, the Golden Retriever, kept walking along the sidewalk, Cecily holding on to the handle of the harness. As they got closer, the automatic doors slid open, Cecily hearing the whoosh.

"Straight inside. Inside."

Recognizing the MegaShop store from many prior visits, Gunther led her through both sets of automatic doors, Cecily keeping in step with him. She could hear a gravelly-sounding voice greeting the customers as they entered.

"Good afternoon. Good afternoon. How are you? Good afternoon."

He paused as Cecily and Gunther got closer.

"Good afternoon, Miss. Is that a blind dog?"

Cecily barely reacted as she grabbed a basket from the stack she knew was there.

"No, the dog isn't blind. I am. Forward. Straight ahead."

Following her instructions, Gunther kept going. Cecily knew this MegaShop location well and didn't need help finding what she came to buy. That was a good thing as there was a high turnover among the sales personnel, most of them being in college, and there seemed to be a constant confusion about how to address or help the blind woman.

Continuing to direct the dog while he took her around other customers and stray shopping carts, Cecily found the padlock, the batteries, and the spatula she needed. She was examining the spatula through the plastic wrapping with her fingers when a salesgirl who could only be described as "spunky" spoke up just a foot away, startling her.

"Do you need help finding something?"

"No," Cecily said, putting the spatula in her basket, "I'm fine. Thank you."

"Okay, let me know if you need help."

"Sure, thank you."

Cecily thought the girl sounded about twelve.

"Cute dog," the girl said. "Is it all right if I pet her ... or him?"

"Please don't," Cecily said, waving her hand with Gunther's leash hanging from her wrist. "He's working."

"Okay," The girl said and headed away, leaving Cecily sure she was bouncing off down the aisle.

"Come on," she said to Gunther.

Entering a nearby aisle for outer clothing care and accessories, she used an app on her phone to identify the products. After seven rounds of snapping photos and having the app's program describe the product for her, she found the shoe polish she was looking for. She was attending a wedding next weekend and it was made abundantly clear to her that her black dress shoes needed a touchup.

There was one item left and Cecily knew she'd need help now as she didn't often venture into that area of the store. Of course, as seemed to be the case in life, no salesperson was around when she actually needed them.

Continuing to direct Gunther, Cecily walked up and down a few more aisles. Then, she heard a voice she recognized.

"Shampoo's two aisles back that way. We've got plenty of brands in stock, so you should have no trouble finding the one you want."

Cecily waited until the young man was finished helping this customer before speaking.

"Hey, Will."

"Cecily," Will said. "Always nice to see someone finding success among our shelves. Find everything you need?"

"Unfortunately, not. I need to find a gift for my nephew's birthday. He likes putting together these model cars and I know you guys usually have a few."

"I think we do. Let's take a look."

Cecily knew Will was a student at the local university. He'd been working at this MegaShop for the past three years as he studied for a degree in business and she knew he could and would help her in the right way.

"Follow," she instructed. "Follow."

Like all guide dogs she knew, Gunther enjoyed this command. It was easy for them to focus on following one person instead of looking for things like chairs and doors and curbs.

Will led the way to the far side of the store, where children's toys and games were located.

"Let's see. I thought I've seen them before."

Cecily stood there, waiting and hoping for success as he perused the shelves. Gunther quickly grew bored and settled down for a nap.

"Ah, yes," Will said. "I knew we had them. There's maybe a dozen available. Here's a Ford GT."

"How many pieces?" Cecily asked, knowing she had to check. She heard rattling as Will must have turned the box to check the sides.

"Twenty-eight. Says here they snap together."

Cecily shook her head.

"I can't take that. Adam likes a challenge. You got anything that looks more complicated to put together?"

"Let's see here," Will said, pulling down more boxes and checking. "Here's a Shelby Cobra. That's a nice car."

Cecily supposed so, having heard the name before.

"How many pieces?"

"Two hundred and two," Will replied. "Says here there are also decals to be put on and stuff."

"Sounds good to me."

"Ambitious kid," Will remarked, holding out the box. "I've got it out for you here."

"Better him than me," Cecily said, finding and taking the box. "Thanks."

She deposited the gift on top of her other items.

"Up. Come on. Rise and shine."

Letting out a groan, Gunther rose and stretched before taking his position on her left side again.

"You need help finding the cashiers?" Will asked.

"Could you just take me back to familiar territory?"

Will obliged, leading her and Gunther back to where she'd found him earlier. They wished each other well and Cecily directed Gunther towards the line of cashiers not far away. The line for these wasn't long and her turn soon came. Not surprisingly, she didn't recognize this cashier's voice. Another new employee.

"Is that an aids dog?" the woman asked.

Cecily barely reacted as she piled her purchases on the counter.

"No, the dog doesn't have AIDS. I'm blind and he helps me get around."

A Funny Story contest entry

A friend of mine encountered store employees who asked those questions about her guide dog. Thought I'd build a story around them. Amusing as the questions are, and I'm still laughing, I can definitely relate as I also rely on the assistance of a guide dog. Feedback is welcome. Enjoy.
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

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