“Can I see your ID?” the Walmart cashier asked as she rung up the bottle of cheap red wine.
Tally never drank wine. She didn’t like it. But she knew her guests would probably want it. She only had a single bottle of white left over from her last party.
The cashier’s question caught Tally by surprise. It was rare anyone ever asked anymore. At 32 years old, she found it insulting they didn’t ask when signs posted clearly stated, “ID required for anyone appearing under 40.” Were the cashiers just lazy? Or did she really appear older than 40?
This particular cashier assured Tally the latter was not the case. Whether this was the truth didn’t matter. It made Tally feel good. She handed over her driver’s license, paid the bill and headed home.
Besides the wine, Tally bought a tablecloth and some disinfecting wipes with which to clean the dust from her car. She’d also stopped at another store prior to Walmart and had three bags with her when she arrived home.
Only one of those bags had something breakable in it.
A few moments later, Tally stood in her kitchen disentangling the three shopping bags and her purse, attempting to set them on the kitchen table before unpacking. One bag slipped from her grasp, crashing to the hard tile floor.
Red wine seeped like blood from where the broken glass tore the bag, wending its way down grout canals, slowly stretching its staining fingers toward the cream-colored hallway carpet.
Tally laid down paper towels to slow the wine’s movements until she could fill a bucket and grab the mop. In moments, she had the mess cleaned up, but her guests were coming soon and she still had cooking to do, cleaning to complete and a costume to don. Now she had to go back to the store for another bottle of wine.
This time, Tally managed to hold onto the bag and the wine survived to party time. It sat on the tableclothed card table all night, waiting to be opened and enjoyed.
And no one drank the wine.