Mexican Frying an Egg

Mexican-fried eggs are eggs getting blown up.

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2. Two

Eggs, thought Nick. What I need is eggs.

                 He pushed the trolley along the smooth supermarket floor, the obligatory squeaky wheel squeaking obligingly as the wire basket moved along. Nick frowned at the squeaky wheel. It was getting on his nerves.

                It wasn’t often that Nick did the shopping. Normally, that particular chore was left to Cheryl to take care of, but Cheryl wouldn’t be doing much shopping anymore. Well, she wouldn’t be shopping for him, at least.

                Eggs. I need eggs, thought Nick.

                “Nick?” said a voice.

                He started in surprise, twisting his head to see a young woman, a questioning eyebrow arched over intense, ice-blue eyes. The minute he saw her, he recognised her. After all, when you’ve seen a person naked, you tend to remember their face.

                “Natalie!” Nick exclaimed. “What are you doing here?”

                The woman made a face. “I’m doing the same thing as you are, you great galoot: foraging for food.” She sighed. “Long time, no see. What’s been happening in your world?”

                Her questing eyes found his. He could feel her scanning him, searching for... what was she searching for? Was she looking for something? What did she expect to see – a spark, a glimmer of light in the depths of his black pupils? He found it hard not to feel some sort of residual affection for her.

                “Nothing much,” he replied, breaking contact. “Well, nothing of consequence.”

                “Really?” Natalie asked. Further arching of eyebrows ensued. “Well, okay. It’s not like I shop here weekly, or as if I haven’t seen you in at least three months.”

                “Oh, good,” Nick answered absently. “It’s not like I shop here weekly either.”

                “You come here every seven days too?”

                “No.” Nick shot her a funny look. “Didn’t you hear what I just said?”

                Natalie sighed. “I forgot,” she said, sighing further. “You’re immune to sarcasm. It’s one of the reasons we broke up, I guess. Do you need anything particular?”

                Nick once again perused the list he held in hand. “Eggs,” he said.

                “What a coincidence,” smiled Natalie, “I too am in need of eggs. Come on, we can carry on talking en-route.”

                “Or we could just chat on our way there.”

                Natalie adopted a perplexed expression. “That’s what I meant.” She pushed on the handles of the trolley. The non-optional protesting caster protested.

                “Oh. You’ve got the trolley with the non-optional protesting caster. I seem to have drawn the obligatory squeaky wheel model.”

                “Damn. I’ve been trying to find one of them for ages.”

                The aisles of the supermarket were heaving with people. Some people – all fifty-year-old unshaven men in greasy shirts and jeans – heaved poly bags full of beer bottles, while employees heaved on thin wires in an attempt to raise a giant cardboard cut-out of a tomato into an unfortunate place in the aisle marked ‘vegetables’. Several unfortunates were dry-heaving into small rubbish receptacles by a small kiosk that was offering samples of a new kind of sweet. Yes, the supermarket heaved with people, with each person heaving in his, her or its own way. It was perfect, unrefined chaos. And, as such, walking two abreast (or three abreast, all genders considered) was not really a good idea.

                Nick and Natalie did it anyway.

                “So, how’s life?” asked Natalie, brightly. Nick squinted.

                “Well, it’s life, I suppose,” he replied, steering the tricky trolley around a pyramid of soup cans. “It does its thing, I guess. Good things happen every once in a while. More often than not they’re countered by the bad stuff.”

                “You’re speaking like an undertaker. Quit undertaking; you’re a musician, not a funeral director. It’s not all bad.” Natalie pulled up short as a woman chased after her shopping, which had made its bid for escape, taking a toddler hostage in the process. The small child seemed unperturbed. His mother, however, was not.

                Nick raised both eyebrows, trumping Natalie’s efforts in the ongoing facial athletics. “You’re right. Not everything’s bad.” His eyes followed the progress of the errant trolley, the raging mother in hot pursuit. “Some things are worse.”

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