Thursday, January 9, 2014

Economic Stimulus (A short story)

"Jerry, you get back here!" Liza sighed, stopped the loaded cart with some difficulty. The front wheel tended to turn at the exact wrong moment, and sure enough when she pulled back on the shopping cart handle it swerved into a display of kitchen utensils.

"Jerry! Do I have to put the leash back on you?"

He was too old for the leash. It was currently being used to tether his four year old brother to the shopping cart handle.

PB (Short for Peanut Butter, since that’s all he would eat at the moment) stood there sucking on his finger and staring down at the mess.

Jerry wandered back over.

"Jerry, help me with this." Making sure that the baby was secured (she had three escape artists on her hands, and she was NOT going to be saddled with another one. Maybe) she bent and started restacking the display, rather haphazardly, just piling the stuff back into the spaces with no concern for where things were supposed to go.

Nearly finished, she looked up, alarmed at the silence.


To her surprise, he was just at the end of the aisle. She got the cart started again and moved in that direction. He turned as she approached, pointing. "What’s that, Mom?"

Liza sighed. "I’m going to need another cart." She looked around, rather vaguely, and stuck the binky back in the baby’s mouth.

"But what is it?"

"The president says it’s going to help the economy."

Jerry looked at the big blank box labeled “Economic Stimulus.” Small print on one corner of the box stated Some Assembly Required.

"But what is it?"

"I don’t know, Jerry. The president said we all need to buy one to help the economy. Go get another cart, will you?"

With another sigh, she stared at the display next to it, clearly labeled "Health Care."

"Buy, buy, buy," she muttered. "Sight unseen, doesn’t matter, we’ll find out what’s in it later. Doesn’t matter that I’m on a tight budget and can’t afford to buy a pig in a poke."

She smiled as Jerry pushed another cart down the aisle. She smiled at him as she piled one of each into the cart. "Doesn’t matter that no one else is buying it. Come on. Let’s get home and put this thing together. Let’s find out what we bought."

* * *

Jerry darted into his bedroom, and she let PB off his leash. With a squeal, he ran after his brother.

Liza sighed and carted in the groceries, and then the two big, anonymous boxes. Suspecting she’d need it she got out the tool box. "Jerry!" she shouted across the house. "Where’s the Allen wrench?"

No answer. Not that it mattered at the moment. She might not need it. The president had promised it would be simple. The radio droned in the background, just noise.

She opened the first box, peered in, and almost panicked. She fished through anonymous pieces thrown randomly in the box, and finally looked around at an acre of plastic and metal on her living room floor. She winced as she realized that one piece was leaking oil. "No instructions?"

The radio static finally penetrated, the chirpy voice of the announcer finishing up today’s spiel. "And today, the President has announced another Economic Stimulus package. It will be on shelves in one week, and everyone needs to buy one."

Liza wanted to shoot the radio, but she settled for turning it off.

The president could spit in his own eye, and stimulate the economy himself as well. She didn’t have the money for it, or the patience. Well, at least the president was doing something. When dealing with politicians or children, silence meant they were up to mischief.

"Jerry?" Silence.

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