Time. Repulsive. Overwhelmed.

Just three words. That's what I asked for, and that's exactly what I got. Many thanks to Jane McDaniel's time-repulsive-overwhelmed response to my Facebook post seeking noun-adjective-verb combinations. Jane, you've officially inspired the following short story.

      Time. A lot of people don't think about it until they come face-to-face with death. I know this was true in my case.

      Two weeks ago, as I futzed around waiting for a cashier to ring up my stash of Cheetos and Swiss Rolls, a gunman strode to the storefront, waived his piece into the air and commanded everyone to remain calm. Of course, lots of screaming and commotion ensued. That is, until he actually pointed his semi-automatic Ruger SR45 at someone's face.

      As it turned out, he didn't want much. He was just looking for jewelry, cash, and maybe a new wife. The last part was where I came in. Looking back, I'll have to rethink my you-may-meet-the-man-of-your-dreams-at-the-grocery-store clothing strategy and dress less like a slut next time. And yes, I haven't been back to the grocery store--I've been living off of Chinese takeout and stale cereal from the bottom of boxes I've been hoarding in my pantry for at least six months (I always knew they'd come in handy).

      Initially, the gunman wore a Nixon mask, so his face was hidden. However, it apparently kept sliding over his eyes, and after a few minutes of pawing would-be wife candidates, he flung Nixon's face to the floor. Suffice it to say that Nixon's face was handsome compared to the repulsive man underneath. He had beady eyes, a pig nose, and a rat-like mouth. Honestly, if he hadn't rubbed his junk up against me while digging his gun into my back, I would've felt sorry for him.

      I was overwhelmed, part shock, part fear, as he whispered promises of happiness into my ear. But I willed myself to stay calm. I remembered my dad, God rest his soul, who was a gun nut. He taught me to look for signs of inexperience, such as safeties on, weak grips, etc. Luckily, I noticed that Rat-man was carrying loosely in his left hand; he didn't have a secure grip on his Ruger.

      I made a decision. I awkwardly cupped Rat-man's nape as I contorted my neck for a kiss. Two things happened--his package poked me harder, and longing for the kiss, he melted into me. Unfortunately for him, I managed to turn enough to knee him in the balls and commandeer his weapon--that is, the one that can actually kill people.

      Barring Rat-man's berries, no one else was hurt that night. But sooner or later, I'll run out of fresh milk to pair with my stale cereal, necessitating a grocery run. Until then, I'm really hoping I learn how to survive without food.