Does he have a shiv?

The other day I went to Target.  I love that store.  Except when it’s busy.  Which is every second of every day.

On this particular day, I was standing in line behind a woman with a toddler sitting in her cart (I assume it was her son, because I don’t think it was “grab a toddler day” at Target).  I was obstinately standing in this spot because, although other lines were being opened, the “line coordinator” (a rather Amazonian girl who seemed to be doing nothing else besides making sure people got in line) invited everyone else to move to another line except me.  And rather than make a scene, I just decided I’d come back later and run her down with my car.

I digress.


The woman with the child was a little over the top with her motherly affections.  But maybe I thought this because I don’t have children and don’t like most children all that much.  The boy was about 2 years old (I am guessing here, but it seems about right) and was sitting in the front of the cart.  Mother kept grabbing Son by the face and kissing his cheeks, while squealing “whosmylittleboy!  squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeal!

Son, on the other hand, had a “dead eyes” look about him.  He looked like a combination of sensory overload meets Village of the Damned.  His blank stare was haunting and unsettling.  I can only assume he was overwhelmed by Target…and his cloying Mother’s stifling love.

Son was holding a book that they must have picked up in the store.  Like all children, he wanted to hold it and look at it.  When it was time for the older lady behind the counter to scan it, the Son was going to have to hand it over.  This is where Mother’s hyper-love kicked into overdrive and she scared the bejesus out of me.

Son held the book and (admittedly) had a firm grip on it.  But he held it with haunting dead eyes.  No tears at the ready.  Not even a change in facial expression.  So, when Mother took it from him, I thought he must have some hidden scary tantrum behavior that would be unleashed.  Or else why would she behave this way…?

She took the book from his firm grasp while saying (in the highest pitched voice imaginable), “the lady needs to scan it!  she just needs to SCAN IT!  she just needs it for a minute! ONLY A MINUTE! then she’ll give it back!  I promise to you, she will GIVE IT BACK! we’ll count to THREE! then you’ll have it back!


Son had dead eyes.  Mother took the book.


Mother handed the book to the cashier, while squealing, “ONE!…TWO!…THREE!…

(I really feel like this puts a lot of pressure on a cashier.  It’s like saying: “Could you please scan this book’s bar code in a sufficient amount of time that does not cause my son to freak out and stab us all?”)


Meanwhile, Son had dead eyes.


As soon as the cashier scanned the book, Mother snatched it back (though her hand never really stopped touching it) and shoved it back in Son’s face screaming “AAAAAAAAAND…SEE?  IT’S BACK!

(was the subtext here ‘now you don’t have to kill us all’?)


Son.  Had.  Dead.  Eyes.


Honestly?  This kid MUST have done something at some point to make this woman think he was going to FLIP THE FUCK OUT.  But I cannot imagine what it was.  His lethargy was palpable.

Finally, they had all their stuff in the cart and Mother told Son to say goodbye to the nice lady that checked them out.  At which point, he looked at ME and said, “bye…” with the weariness of an old soul.

I said “bye” back in a way that I hoped conveyed my sympathy at everyone thinking he was a psychopath.  Mother pulled him away, while the cashier refused to continue working until she got her goodbye.  Mother squealed “say goodbye to the nice lady“, which I think he eventually did.


But his dead eyes said it all.


Leave a comment


  1. Deirdre

     /  June 29, 2011

    She was afraid of being sent to the cornfield.'s_a_Good_Life_(The_Twilight_Zone)


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