The Impertinent Question
Short Story Day 153 of 365
Even with a full scholarship to the University of Pennsylvania in the fall, Thad still had to earn spending money, half his room and board, and of course, date money. His parents were putting up the other half of his room and board.
The summer before he left Dallas, he took a job working in a supermarket, pushing carts, stocking shelves, and anything a full time employee asked.
Even at 18, Thad was an inventor by desire and passion, but wanted formal business education to complement his passions.
The job kept his mind free to consider new ideas and inventions only weeks before heading off to the Ivy League school. Many at his job thought he was texting a lot, but in reality he was jotting down ideas on his Notes app. While he pushed carts, he could think through scenarios and problems without having to interact with people.
Near the cart reservoir, he saw an older Chevy with the passenger side banged up. Its roof and hood paint had worn off and dried up from the Texas heat and sun. The car was parked at least ten slots away from all the other cars as if the owner didn’t want the car to get its first ding. Far too late for that.
As Thad was queueing up carts to push up the gentle hill in a long chain of carts, the man who owned the car was opening his door.
Thad said, “Sir, just a second.”
He stopped manhandling the carts and walked closer to the man who had a scraggly gray beard. His appearance mirrored the car’s demeanor.
“Sorry to bother you, sir, and I don’t mean to seem impertinent, but may I ask why you park your vehicle so far away from the others? I mean…”
“Son, don’t say another word. I would never call you or anyone else I know impertinent, and I thank you not to use that word in public. Good day, sir.”