Be careful in a small town, they said. Don't piss off your neighbors, they said.
Rewind three weeks earlier to the town-wide yard sale, where K and I were unabashedly selling our belongings on the front lawn: purses, dishes, and X-Box games included. We decided to make a day of it and drank beer while we were doing it.
Neighbors came and went, huffing at three dollars for unused aerobic stairs. After a few hours, we marked almost everything "FREE" and were resigned to leaving it at the curb. So we were more than thrilled when the minister, his wife, and their five children stopped by, exuberant over the video games. They wanted one each, and K generously offered for them to only pay for one and take the others.
After all, it pays to be kind to your neighbors.
Fifteen minutes later, we were swigging down the last of our beers and dragging the rest of the unsold items to the curb, when we saw the minister's wife coming across the lawn, game in hand.
Immediately, I had a bad feeling.
"We got a bonus disc!" She remarked amusedly. I couldn't read her expression.
"Oh no." I exclaimed in disbelief. "Bad? Or good? What is it?"
She proudly handed over a Hustler DVD that I had never seen before. My face blanched. Now, I am no prude--to each their own in the boudoir. But this disc was new to me. I was rendered speechless. I looked over at K, who looked as shocked as I felt. In the five years that we've been together, I've NEVER once seen him embarrassed. He is generally cool as a cucumber, calm in every situation, dryly sarcastic. But there was nothing funny about this situation.
"My son popped in the disc to play the game, and luckily we caught it in time!" She said, in good humor. "Kids these days, you never know what they know about! Did you know there's even a thing called PONY PORN?"
Still speechless, I pushed my glass of beer behind the box of unsold books, in an effort to appear somewhat responsible. I shook my head silently.
"Well I just had to come over and tell you guys--good thing it was US, and not somebody else!" She walked away, laughing, and we did our best to join in her amusement. When she was gone, we just looked at each other. I asked K where it had come from, and he said he had no idea. Which I believe, because if we had known we'd had it, we would have watched it. I mean... it was from the 80s! Fun for the whole family. But alas, K had snapped the disk in half in a show of defiance and pride.
Which lead me to my current position in the produce aisle, in the ONE grocery store in town, hiding behind the navel oranges, gazing longingly for the tofu that would have to wait for another shopping trip. I'm sure he saw me, but I couldn't even bring myself to give a courtesy wave.
I guess what they say is true... be careful what you do in a small town. There's no escape, everyone knows everyone and everyTHING. We've been working SO hard for the last four years to gain some street cred in a town where people have lived their entire lives. I guess we gained more than we anticipated.
I may have to invest in a nose-and-glasses disguise.