Ninety-Nine Cents Only


U-Check and First to Know. Those were her options. Each only 99 cents.

She picked up the blue U-Check box, flipping her wrist to read the back. Marilu wouldn’t shut up—a continuous clucking over her shoulder.
“He was just being insecure, ya know? Just wanted to make sure I was his.”

“Mmm-hmmm,” Steffany muttered.

“At first I was hurt, ya know. I couldn’t even go to school the next day. Everyone asking questions. But then we talked and
I . . . Are you going to get that one?”

“I dunno.”

“They’re all fake, anyway.”

Steffany put it back, and Marilu continued. At the far end of the aisle a toddler flung packages of pantyhose on the floor. Further off, his mother examined a head of half-rotten cauliflower. Behind her, two co-workers stocked toilet paper.

Steffany took a sour and dusty breath and held it, reaching for the other box.

“He said he’d never do it again. I mean, he’s sorry. But now he knows I’m his, right?”

Marilu leaned in and tapped the box in Steffany’s hands. “This one looks confusing. Too many messed up lines. Why they gotta be like that? Just gimme a ‘yes’ or a ‘no.’”

“It’s no Magic 8 Ball.”

“Yeah, except it kinda is. Delilah got two, and one said she was pregnant and the other said unpregnant. So then she had to go back and get another one.”

They both knew what that one said.

“Just pick one. I got to get some toothpaste for my dad.” Marilu walked off, stepping over strewn pantyhose.

Steffany took one of each. Each only 99 cents.

Story by Jazmine Green
Artwork by Jennifer Celio
Published in Book by Authors: North Long Beach Anthology, 2009