Mrs. Fields

Mrs. Fields is very worried. She has seen a good deal in the flyers, but isn't sure if it ends today or tomorrow. It is for cans of soup at the grocery store in the mall. They are half off.

Before she goes she makes sure to call the movie store at the mall. Her son says to download a program called Netflix, but she owns over a thousand movies in her basement and wants to keep them. She calls the store to make sure her movies are in.

"Yes, Mrs. Fields. Like I mentioned yesterday, they've come in. We'll hold them for a week."

"Oh good. I'm going to the mall today, so I'll pick them up."

"That sounds great. Is there anything else I can help you with?"

"There is a deal on at the grocery store, for soup. It's half off, but only for today. You should know. It's very good in an emergency."

"Is that so? Thank you for letting me know, Mrs. Fields."

Mrs. Fields walks very carefully up to the mall. All the ice has melted a week ago, but with her eyesight, she knows she can't trust that she won't fall and break her hip. She trusts her cart. Her son bought it for her.

At the mall there are people who walk past her so quickly that she feels like she could fall in the vortex. Or they stop right in front of her, texting. She is worried that they will say rude things to her, and she will be too foggy with her medication to say anything back.

She makes sure to go to the grocery store first, and buys all the soup she can. The cashier tells her it is limited to three a person. Mrs. Fields wants to tell him that that is a trick businessmen use to get people to buy more, but she is scared the cashier will take it all away. Luckily, he says he'll let her do it, this time.

After buying the soup, she breathes a sigh of relief. She is pleased that there is so much tomato soup. When she was very young she had a child, a beautiful, handsome child, and he loved tomato soup. Walking to the movie store, she remembers how she ruined her sleep forever, worrying about her son. It was worth it, she thinks to herself now. He grew up to be so strong.

The movie store is playing Peanuts music, by Vince Guaraldi. It makes her happy. She was afraid that they would play loud music, the kind that makes her heart thump. This is much better. She finds a girl working, and asks for the man who answers the phone.

The girl looks around, confused. "We all answer the phone," she says.

"Yes, but this was a man," says Mrs. Fields. "I have something to tell him. Tell him Mrs. Fields needs to talk to him."

The girl takes Mrs. Fields to the back of the store. There is a a young man, maybe even a boy, cashing out a customer. The customer uses a credit card. Mrs. Fields remembers her first credit card. Her husband helped her get it.

"Kay? This is Mrs. Fields. She said she wanted to talk to you?"

The boy beams. "Hello Mrs. Fields!" His voice sounds like it did on the phone. It sounds too deep for somebody that young. "Let me grab your movies!"

"Sir," she says, stopping him. "I have to tell you. Have you heard about the deal?"

The boy looks at her very seriously. "I did, actually. You told me, which is very kind of you. On my break, I went and got some lentil soup. Do you like lentil soup?" He looks at her while he talks, but his hands are rummaging below him.

"Yes. I do. It can be very nice. Oh!" She watches him pull out her movies. They are wrapped in an elastic, with a paper on them with her name, and yesterday's date. "Thank you!"

"No problem, Mrs. Fields. I can cash you out, or is there something else with which I can help you?"

"Yes. You should put those cans away. In case there's an emergency."

"Lik a disaster?"

"Yes!" She is very glad he understands. "In case there is trouble. You should tell everybody. The deal ends today." She frowns. "Or tomorrow. It might end tomorrow."

"I'll let people know, Mrs. Fields. And you let us know when there's another movie you want to order."

Mrs. Fields walks home. It is getting dark, and there have been break-ins in the area recently. She considers hurrying, but that would risk her hip. She wishes she could go back to the movie store and ask the young man to escort her home. She wishes she was very rich, with a chauffeur and a bodyguard, but it is too late for that now.

When she gets home, she is too tired to watch a movie. She watches the news until she falls asleep. She starts the evening very well, eating soup from years ago that's about to expire. She weighs so little, it warms her up very quickly. Then the evening gets worse. Like every night, the news is very bad. There has been a suicide bombing in Egypt. There are many poor people. There is flooding in British Columbia, which is the province her son lives in.

She calls her son. Her son refuses to watch the news. He has told her that if it's important, it will make it into the monthly magazines he reads. She tells him she has just heard about the flooding and she is worried for him. Her son tells her that he and his wife live very far from that area, and are not affected. He tells her to sleep.

The local news comes on. There are millions of dollars missing that the city can't explain. There was a murder in the park the other night, a park she walks by every week. There are many homeless people.

Mrs. Fields is very worried. It could all go wrong. But she is glad her son is safe. She opens her change purse. She thinks she did the math wrong, she has twenty dollars left over from what she had reserved for soup. She decides to go back tomorrow and buy some for the homeless people. They need soup too.