Parfum De Color

Life On The Back Page - February 2024

Daryl Gay | February 2, 2024

You’ve had a month’s recovery period, so don’t whine. Figured if I threw this at you on January’s Back Page the result might well have been delirium tremens.

Besides, that nasty little deadline thing ran out into the road and flagged me down…

So, as part of your ongoing educational experience, let us hie back to that wildly popular—among women—period beginning with the aptly named Black Friday.

For us men shoppers, it’s typically whatever day Dec. 23-24 falls on… and even darker! But we’re about to derail that always-late train and begin preparation for Christmas, 2024. You’re taking notes, right? Today. As in NOW!

Here’s why…

There are approximately, because I can’t even see its front, 27 women ahead of me in the “Customer Service” line. (We’ll not get into Customer Service; you figure it out as we go along.)

Required procedure—write this down—upon finding yourself in similar circumstances: about-face, find nearest exit, come back later. Because deer season will be back in before you make it to that desk.

How do I know this? Well, currently perched there is a 5-foot high, 4-foot wide caterwauling female screeching and waving both arms aloft. And allow me to insert the word “displeased.”

Even when the delivery truck arrives, my pharmacy does not stock enough blood pressure medication to get me through this line.

Now just how, you may be asking yourself, does an outdoor-writer type find himself “shopping” in one of your big-name department stores days before Christmas?

Because Mama is 88 and my brother talked ME into it!

And you do, of course, know exactly how and what to purchase for an 88-year-old mom, right? If not—sharpen your pencil—write down the words “gift card.”

That’s all I wanted. Simplest thing in the world. But I’d rather wrassle a half-dozen Okefenokee bears than attempt to break into that line. Ain’t enough hair on my noodle for all them gals to rip out and be satiated. And them fingernails! I’d be lucky left with half an ear…

But wait! Over behind the perfume counter is a lonely looking lass who just MIGHT be able to come up with a solution; let’s try her.

That was the thought just before some silver-haired crone with a cane kicked in her four-barrel and slid in from the left, slamming on brakes right in front of me.

Height-wise, she was roughly up to my chest, and I PROBABLY could have taken her with a left hook; but she DID have that cane.

Oh well, patience, my man; this shouldn’t take long. Only an Ice Age or twain.

Salesgirl saw it all, and cast an apologetic glance. Or maybe she thought I was a wuss for not elbowing my way to the front…

What follows is a lesson or two —do NOT write this down—concerning perfume. Just stay on track and remember “gift card.”

Crone: “I want to sniff that black perfume.”

Do what? The last thing I care to do here is get involved in the conversation; but do they really make black perfume?

Salesgirl sprayed, crone sniffed, I wheezed.

Stick with Tink’s.

Reeling backward while determined to hold my ground and head off any more interlopers, I heard, “Let me try that red.”

You gotta be kidding me. Red perfume now?

So Stupid steps forward again; if this stuff comes out in a red spray, I’m a’gonna be a witness.

Squish! Nawwww, that stuff is as clear as glass as it hits that little card she’s waving.

Smells just like fox pee.

So how many more colors we got? Man, I’m rocking from one boot to the other, and I hate it when my weird mind begins to wander. Like, “How ‘bout brown, cause you about to go down?”

Or “green, you gettin’ jabbed in the spleen!”

“Pink? It ALL stinks!”

Fortunately, I kept my mouth shut. Mainly because I was afraid she’d make it rain with that cane.

I thought she’d never shift into shuffle, but eventually it happened. Stepping right up, I was about to make my gift-card pitch—just as Salesgirl turned her back and walked over to a trio of fatales that had wriggled in unnoticed.

Well now, what’s this black/red/green perfume going to smell like collectively when the bottles smash off that wall?

I grabbed the nearest one and, in the nick of time, happened to glance down at it. Well, do tell!

Black is the NAME of this stuff! And there’s ol’ Red!

Amazing how easily diverted wackos are! Too, my personal Cranium Cop had begun whispering, “Do you REALLY want to have to call your boys for bail money?”

Possibly she had sensed my intent, because Salesgirl whipped around, left said trio waving stinky cards, sidled over and asked if I needed assistance.

Man, we could have written a book right there. But, believe it or not, she actually COULD come up with a gift card, and did so right on the spot. Then apologized for not having a wrapper for it but I could get one right over there on the counter where eight other female customers are waiting…

Sorry about the lack of a wrapper, Mom. And yo, Bro, your turn next year.

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