After a morning spent shopping at our local Walmart Superstore, I have concluded that the majority of folks present were sullen. No errand running husbands, feisty senior citizens, or soccer moms. Not even the obligatory lovey-dovey couple. Just grim cart-rolling, button-pushing zombies. I tried to make a few jokes, but they all fell flat. My cashier didn’t even give me the “Bitch, please'” look I get when I’m trying to be funny. I wondered for the hundredth time if petulance is spread by a virus. Maybe that’s why they have those shopping cart sanitizers everywhere.

While I perused the dairy section looking for gooey yogurt deliciousness, my cell phone rang. It was Egor. His voice sounded so odd that I was immediately alarmed. He asked me “Where are you?” without preamble–ratcheting up my anxiety further. “What’s happening?!” I asked, hoping not to sound panicked. He took a long pause, during which my heart sank. I was certain that he was in terrible trouble, or that some unspeakable thing happened to Tyoma.

He started to speak again and stopped. Certain that he was summoning the courage to reveal something truly horrid, I grasped the cart and truly began to panic. Again, I asked as calmly as I could, “What’s happening???”

He must have detected my alarm because he began to laugh. I was irritated and strangely, only moderately relieved. He laughed for a bit more and said, “I’m at home now and was wondering if you could bring me a donut.” For a moment, I was too stunned to appreciate the humor of the situation. Then I was relieved. Heh.

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