Saturday, December 20, 2003

Yesterday, my friends, Bible Cop and Shotgun Toter, and I lost the German exchange student at Costco.

I don't even know what we were doing at Costco after school, but I think it had to do with showing a foreign kid North American bulk shopping. But once we reached the free samples of Rocher chocolates, there was no stopping him. "Can you get me another one?" he asked in his monotonic drawl. The first two times went without incident. But it was when we were beside the John Tesh CDs did he ask to go get another one himself. We waited for him to come back, but he never did. Where could he be? I immediately went to the candy aisle and headed straight for the Snickers. No German. Maybe he went back to get more Rocher? The old lady with the red-checkered scarf was packing up to leave. Oh dear, oh dear, where could he be? So I thought maybe he could be where the meat was. He did poke the lamb chops when we passed by the butchers a few minutes ago. Negative! NEGATIVE! He was not there! Damnit, I thought. Rocher is the devil! So Bible Cop and Shotgun Toter and I split up and promised to meet back at the portable mattresses. I looked high and low. Office supplies? Mini donuts? Roasted chicken? Cat food? Goddamn, where was he? I met up with Shotgun Toter again near the seafood stand and walked with her along the gummy bears. She suggested we bring home/kidnap an old man, buy him a new hat and call him "Dave". I was this close to agreeing with her. Then I had a sudden feeling that he could be in the washroom. We stopped short of entering the Men's Toilets. As Shotgun Toter looked for a chance to ask some guy if he saw a 6'3" German kid wearing a black tuque, I looked through the garbage boxes customers rummage through to carry their goods in. I thought, if he was playing hide-n'-go-seek, I will bitch slap his ass to Florida. Bible Cop joined us by now, and she thought maybe Costco could page him, but they didn't have a PA system. Then again, I imagined the awkward conversation we would've had to go through with one of the employees:

"Um, excuse me?"

"Yes? May I help you?"

"Yeah, we seemed to have lost a friend of ours."

"Okay, do you mind giving me a description?"

"Okay. He's 6'3", but he slouches. He's German and speaks no English [*a lie*]. He's also wearing a black tuque."

"Um ... we don't have a PA system. You'd just have to walk up and down the aisles."

Oh wait, a version of this conversation did happen.

I gave up and sat by the hamburger joint and waited for news of his return. Then, out of the crowd of disenchanted shoppers, I saw him. His head down, both arms linked either side to Bible Cop and Shotgun Toter. It was a magical moment. His nose was red, presumably from being out in the cold (he said he kept leaving and returning to the building, but had to find the car first). I stood up, raised my arms like a Jewish mother and called out, "WHERE THE HELL WERE YOU?!" and slapped him with my bag. However, I did calm down long enough to ask him, "You've never had Rocher chocolates before?"

His reply? "No, we have lots back home."

Moral of this story? Free chocolate is the devil.

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