Unfit Father no image

Published on November 25th, 2013 | by Richard Black

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Can You Please Leave Sir?

Apologies to my readers. I’ve been caught up in the Holiday season. In fact it turns out that I’ve been to no fewer than five shopping malls in less than 48 hours. Isn’t that something!

I hate malls. Actually I don’t hate malls per se, my vitriolic sentiment these days is actually much more specific. I hate the reality conglomerates that build these fucking things and the retail industry that pays extortionate rents to sell goods at exorbitant prices. More than anything, the kiddie carts for rent a five bucks an hour or the Panda Express that always provides me with a hefty dose of ptomaine is the clientele, the patrons of the mall.

Granted most of them are like me, parents wrangling screaming toddlers past Annie’s Pretzel and Crack Cookie Emporium and perhaps that’s why I loathe them, at least as long as my daughter is behaving herself.

Fortunately for everyone’s kids within slapping distance my attention is usually diverted by…well just about everyone else at the mall. My left arm generally starts tingling as I try to weave around the hordes of morbidly obese shoppers out for a casual walk between chocolate shops and I really get going trying to dodge the elderly in their Rascals. It’s the masses of head pierced teens tripping on Robitussin that really get me going but they usually don’t show up until dark at which point I’m in bed and sucking on a bottle of Colt .45 trying to find my happy place.

This morning, if I were a brighter man, I would have put on a Dora the Explorer marathon for Darcy and slugged back a bottle of Nyquil. I’m not. I didn’t.

Instead I went out to buy a pair of jeans and a few articles of clothing for my daughter. Call me crazy. I was feeling optimistic.

Less than an hour later I was carrying Darcy and walking as fast as I could towards an exit to avoid security.

Apparently it’s not all right to curse in children’s clothing stores these days.

It all started rather innocently enough. To be honest I wasn’t even looking for clothes for my daughter. I saw some sales thought it might be nice to find a pair of pants for her that didn’t cost more than a small home.

The first store was a bust in that everything for toddlers was set for “whore” with sequins.

The second store wasn’t much better. and I’d just about made up my mind to leave when a portly employee came along and attempted to ferry Darcy away so that I could enjoy my shopping experience.

I told the aforementioned employee (let’s call her Mrs. Stabby Portly) that I preferred to keep my daughter in eyesight, thanked her for her help, and continued looking for a dress Darcy might tolerate.

Mrs. Portly swooped in again and began showing my daughter leggings and dresses and really anything else that might capture her attention. I politely asked Mrs. Portly to leave. I think I even thanked her for her help.

Less than two minutes later, after cajoling my daughter to buy two dresses, Mrs. Portly asks my daughter if she wants to watch cartoons at the back of the shop. Now call me crazy, and many people do, I have an issue with anyone who tries to draw my child away regardless of intent.

Darcy cheerfully ignored Mrs. Portly, and me as well. She darted under the cashier’s counter, dumped over a display of glittered bows at which point I uttered an expletive.

“Hey now,” Mrs. Portly uttered under her breath and then stepped in between Darcy and myself as I ordered Darcy to come back to me.

I’d like to say that kept my head and asked Mrs. Portly to move away from my daughter in a polite fashion. I’d like to say that I didn’t completely lose my shit.

Instead I told Mrs. Portly to back the fuck off between me and my child in those exact words.

Things went a little south after that.

Mrs. Portly did step aside and Darcy ran to me with a dress she’d wanted to wear for her birthday some nine months hence. More pertinently to the situation the woman behind the register picked up a phone and began punching in numbers like the store was being firebombed.

I’ve been in enough bars and children’s stores to know when reinforcements are being called in to deal with the crazies. I scooped up Darcy, dumped the clothes I was going to buy at the register, and hustled my ass out to an exit as fast as I could; a brisk pace that didn’t attract an undue amount of attention but one that got me to where I needed to go.

It was with no small amount of relief that I buckled Darcy into her seat, howling for her new dress, and drove off the lot and back home as fast as the morning traffic would bear.

As we came home and watched the latest craptacular on the Disney channel I breathed a sigh of relief. Given her ancestry and genetic makeup my daughter will undoubtedly have encounters with the law at some future date.

Part of my job is to ensure that I’m not a participant in that event.

and kids these days I’m sure Darcy will have her own experiences with the law. I’m just glad that her first wasn’t one that involved her father.


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