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Ready for the Booby Hatch
by Marti Lawrence

I wonder who manufactures those ubiquitous orange barrels that mark highway construction . . . and what dirt might they have on some highway official somewhere to have gotten such a massive contract for placement?

{{Mutters to self, "Why can't I ever have any good blackmail information?"}}

I can barely make it out my driveway (sometimes not even that) when I get stopped before exiting onto the street by an irritated-looking, lime-green-vest-wearing worker-bee who has to be using some kind of drugs (perhaps lots of them) to stand out there in the blazing sun with nothing but a little reversible STOP/SLOW sign for protection from the over-amphetamined semi-truck drivers who are barreling down our country road to avoid the interstate highway weigh station two towns down, because they have been driving for 72 hours and haven't updated their log book before coming across those damnable orange barrels.

I gather from the correspondence I have with folks around the country that this is not just a Mazoorah phenomenon, that orange barrels proliferate across the continent, despite the rampant, well-known corruption of the Missouri Department of Transportation.

I admit, Missouri roads need repair. They're horrible. Worst in the nation.

{{Redneck cheer goes up, "Woo-hoo! We're numbah one!"}}

But why, oh, why do they increase proportionally to the amount of time/number of errands I have to run on any given day? Is it the hillbilly version of Murphy's Law?

As I am sure you have gathered from this lengthy prologue, yesterday I had LOTS to do and little time to do it.

So naturally, {{cue drumroll}} there were a plethora of orange barrels and green-vested drug-abusers between me and destiny (or at least destination).

I took 30 minutes just to get through town, which is something, since the town is only slightly larger than a postage stamp and has the locals' hackles up because the city is installing a {{gasp!}} stoplight.

Installation has dragged on for months (probably subcontracted by the same company that has the goods on all public officials), adding to the frustration, as the trucks of various electrical and signal-installation companies block one or both lanes of the road.

At last, I made it to the final stop, Walmart.

Some country music singer was making a personal appearance, and his large bus outside blared honky-tonk tunes at ear-splitting decibels.

A crowd of gawkers blocked the entry because the singer was signing autographs just inside the door. He occasionally graced the crowd with an impromptu overture, sung without benefit of instrumental accompaniment or studio enhancement, which made his less-than-perfect voice sound rather tinny.

Threading my way through the fandom lair, I was huffing and puffing from sprinting across the parking lot to make up time lost to road delays and limping at having slightly twisted my ankle in said sprint. My own hackles were at maximum altitude when I felt something go "sproing!" just above my left breast.

I have not experienced breast sproing in quite some time, so I paused momentarily, befuddled by this development.

The river of acappella aficionados carried me unwillingly down the aisle, until I stumbled off to the side to discover the source of the sproing.

My brassiere strap had broken.

The strap was now disengaged from the cup and dangled jauntily down my back, as gravity tugged mightily at left-breast-yearning-to-be-free.

I decided to continue my Quest for Completion, and kept on shoppin'. I considered purchasing a replacement undergarment, but this would have required going through the checkout, going to the restroom to put it on, then completing my tasks.

Who are we kidding?

I did so somewhat Napoleon-icly, holding my left arm across my chest, to disguise the bared nipple and flopping bra cup under my T-shirt.

By the time I reached the checkout I was sweating, my ears were nearly bleeding from the country-music assault-on-sanity, I was limping worse . . . and I was hunched over from holding arm in nipple-shielding position.

{{ I ain't no Janet Jackson}}

I looked like Quasimodo on a bad day.

By the time I got to my house I was asylum material, crazed from the heat and hardship of the day.

My flopping breast and I made it inside to collapse in front of the blessed air conditioner, to recoup and rejoice the return to home sweet home.


Marti Lawrence, a resident of Grain Valley, Missouri, is a humor columnist (in addition to duties as a wife, mother, friend, online retailer, aspiring novelist and pumpkin farmer). She claims she's a woman who tries to do ten things at once, but only succeeds at about half of them!

Marti is publishing a book of 40 humorous essays titled Queen Klutz -- release date, Summer, 2006. The story above gives readers a peep inside Marti's book, which is subtitled "The misadventures of a very clumsy woman."

Marti has had stories in the Independence (Missouri) Examiner and in 2006 Writer's Blog Anthology. Visit her blog at this site: EnterTheLaughter.com.

Write Marti Lawrence at martilawrence@gmail.com


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