I was in Target the other day and the strangest thing happened. I was wondering between the food and the clothes when my elbow bumped into this guy. Suddenly everything stopped. People were stuck in place, some with weird midsentence looks on their faces. There was a kid bouncing a ball and both the kid and the ball were captured in midair. Behind the kid, there was a mother with a contorted face and a hand stretched out to grab the kid. I looked at the man I bumped into and he looked at me.
“Did you do this?” I asked him.
“Uh, yes?” He lifted his eyebrows at me.
“So what did you do?” I asked him.
“I am sorry, you must’ve touched me as I broke this.” He showed me two halves of a clear sphere in the palm of his hand.
I am sure the look on my face was dumb and confused.
“Hello, my name is Drandon.” He held out his other hand in an invitation to shake.
Before I moved, I noticed that this was a very handsome guy. He had long blond hair and bright green eyes in his chiseled face. He was tall and proportionate. Then I realized he was still standing there waiting for me to do something. I slurped the drool back into my mouth and shook the man’s hand.
“I’m Jesse, nice to meet you.” I hoped my cold clammy hands weren’t too unpleasant for him. He shook my hand in his nice warm one and didn’t seem to react.
All around us, the store jumped into life again. The mom caught the child and there was a low whispered scolding going on. No one seemed to perceive that they had been frozen just a moment ago.
“So, what is that?” I pointed at the broken sphere.
“It is something I have been working on; it stops time for a few moments.” He seemed hesitant and eager to tell me about it. “I was testing at what distance it could be affective. Looks like I need a larger venue.”
“I will buy some off of you, how much would you like for them?” I offered.
“Oh, um, they really are not for sale. I didn’t ever intend for humans to use them.” Drandon said.
“Humans?” I asked, “You aren’t human?” I was disappointed and it kind of made sense, he like a gay man was much too gorgeous to be interested in a gal like me.
“Um, I think I have said too much.” Drandon tried to walk away but I just grabbed his arm and linked it in my own.
“So if you are not human, what are you?” I persisted.
“I do not want everyone to know about me.” He said, “If I give you some pearls, can you keep my secret?”
“That is a very generous offer.” I agreed “I can definitely tell everyone that I have not met a non-human but may I meet up with this non-human again sometime?”
“How about I give you these” he dropped nine little pearls into my hand “and I won’t try to hide if I see you somewhere again.”
He gently removed my arm from around his and he quickly walked away. I stared at these pearls in my hand and wondered how that just happened. Then I imagined what I could do with them. I could be heroic and save people from car accidents right before they happened or get people out of a burning building while the smoke and flames are stopped in time but then I thought maybe I could set up traps for my enemies like pulling a chair out and strategically spilling water on the pants of a previous boss right before a meeting with his boss. I could even add some ketchup spilled down his shirt. The thought made me giggle a little and I looked up to see a guy in glasses staring at me. Perhaps I should think about it some more not in the middle of Target.
I had a bottle of water in my purse, so I guzzled it down and as softly as I could I put the pearls inside the plastic bottle. One got caught in between my fingers and a naughty plan quickly developed in my brain. I looked down at my shopping basket. There were a few things in there. I had everything on my short list but I decided to stroll down the frozen isle one more time. I grabbed five containers of different Ben and Jerry’s flavors, careful not to squish the pearl I now held in my left fist. The basket in the crook of my left arm was suddenly a lot heavier. So I headed toward the front of the store and as I reached the rows of cashiers, I crushed the pearl and just like before, everyone froze. I laughed and quickly danced through an empty line and right out the door, basket and all. The parking lot outside the store was also frozen in time. To my delight I skipped in front of a car that had been driving through the crosswalk and danced right to my car. Popped the trunk, threw in the basket, shut the trunk and looked around. I noticed that there was a fog toward the outer edge of the parking lot, there seemed to be some movement behind it, then it cleared as everything began moving again and I could see normal traffic on the street. I hopped in the car and laughed again at how brilliant that was. I wouldn’t even be on the camera. It’ll look like I just disappeared, not that anyone watches those anyways.
On the drive home, I pondered all kinds of scenarios I could use the pearls in but I decided to go home and binge on ice cream and watch Orange is the New Black and save the rest of my time stopping pearls for another day.