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The case of the missing Coke cup
A Woman's View
Judi Tabler

We were in the big city last week. We planned to go to a museum that we had heard about, but decided to check out the big, sprawling mall first, and catch some lunch.
Son Rufus needed a pair of shoes, and he decided to look and see if he could find some shoes that fit his budget.
I had not worn good walking shoes. I decided I didn’t want to walk around in the mall anyway. Besides I had a good book that I could not put down.
“You guys just have fun! I am going to find a place to sit and read!”
I found myself a resting place in the mall area outside of Dillards. I spied two, big, leather chairs; one on each side of a table. I plopped down in the chair on the left, and smiled toward a young man sitting in the chair on the other side of the table. He had headphones on his ears and didn’t look my way.
I hadn’t noticed, but there was a big icy Coke in a Styrofoam cup sitting on the table between us. At this point the Coke was closer to me than to the guy on the other side. I was not paying any attention to much else except my BOOK.
I dove into my story. Oh happy day. Perfect.
Sitting across from me was a tall, thin guy on the sofa facing me. He was eating ice cream and each spoonful seemed to take him at least 5 minutes to consume. He slid it slowly into his mouth and slowly out like it was a paddle. I watched him for a bit, but then went back to my book.
About 30 minutes later, I looked up, and across from me on one of the facing chairs sat Fred. He had been there for a few minutes, I guess, and was waiting to get my attention. The guy on the sofa was still working on his ice cream and looking at Fred in a very strange way. This fellow was mentally challenged. I could see that.
Fred remarked to me, “It’s time to go. I am going to call Rufus to tell him it’s time to leave.” We connected with Rufus and left.
It wasn’t until much later in the day that I found out the “rest of the story.”
It seems that Fred had been tired of the mall as well, and came back much earlier to where I was sitting. He sneaked up behind me and says he stood there for a long time. He would lean over and blow on my hair, and expected me to jump. He thought I would feel the presence of someone right behind me.
I just kept on reading. Oblivious.
I am sure the “strange” ice cream licker on the other side was watching this as well.
Soon, Fred (who was still standing behind me) decided to “swipe” my Coke. He “thought” it was my Coke.
He slipped the Coke off the table while I was reading. Surely I would miss it, right?
He just knew I would reach for my drink and wonder where it went. But it WASN’T my drink after all. And I never reached for anything.
I bet the guy with the headphones on the other side of the table was wondering why this guy would sneak up and grab “his?” coke?
Soon Fred realized I was not going to look up from my book. So he positioned himself on the other side of the grouping, next to the “ice cream spoon licker” guy. The guy, by this time, had the spoon in his mouth and was staring at Fred. But I didn’t notice any of this.
Fred had the drink, so he decided to sip some of it. After all, I was not missing it, and so he decided he would enjoy a sip or two.
I looked up, Fred was there. It was time to leave. Fred asked me if the coke was mine, and I said, “I have no idea whose it is.”
It was much later when he confessed to me the rest of the story.
So, did the guy next to me think, “Well, I will just let that weirdo (Fred) have it?”
I noticed that he didn’t stick around for long.
Whose cup did Fred drink from?
And what did the strange guy with the ice cream think?
Who knows? He certainly was entertained anyway.
Poor Fred. The best laid plans oft go astray. He blew it.
Serves him right!

“A Woman’s View” is Judi Tabler’s reflection of her experiences and events. She is a wife, mother, writer, teacher, grandmother, and even a great grandmother. Contact Annie at pprarieannie@gmailcom