Have you heard of not labeling something Easy Open when it’s clearly not?

My latest gripe involves Equate nutritional shakes from Walmart.

I enjoy a good nutritional shake now and then, but what I don’t enjoy is the battle that commences when I try to open the little plastic bottle. They have a strip of plastic around the cap and the neck of the bottle, and according to the “instructions” you are supposed to pull down at the point where it says EASY OPEN.

But alas, I repeatedly fail in my attempt to scrape, scratch, gnaw, tug, pull, yank, peel, pluck, tear, dislodge, or unencumber this immortal ring of plastic, that is until I finally secure the aid of a very sharp object to do my bidding. Ah, slice… That’s the word I needed.

Now, this is a product that is essentially geared toward older individuals, and I can only imagine the difficulty someone with weakness in their hands or arthritis in their fingers must have trying to open such a package. I imagine a lot of these things get thrown against a wall in a fit of anger and a cloudburst of expletives. Trust me, I understand. There are plenty of times I wanted to chuck one of these babies right out a window.

And while I’m at it, let me shed a little light on other packaging gripes I have… Hopefully, some of you will agree with me.

Let’s begin:

Disinfectant wipes!

Okay. How is it we have robotic surgery, but no one has yet been able to come up with a packaging design solution that allows for the easy dispensing of a cleaning wipe. Blammo Batman! I don’t get it. It’s 2022!

I don’t know about anyone else, but the simple act of purchasing a container of disinfectant wipes gives me anxiety because I foresee the painful battle that is surely to come. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve nearly undone the entire contents of the plastic cylinder just in order to get ONE damn wipe. It’s like one of those magic tricks where the demented clown with blue teeth keeps pulling handkerchief after handkerchief out of his clenched fist — you know, how they just keep coming and coming and coming out and no one has the slightest idea where the hell they are actually coming from… That’s the visual I portray, including the demented part, when all I want to do is get rid of some kitchen bacteria!! Picture a pissed off Happy Gilmore saying that, and you’ll get the idea of my state of mind at that point.

I popped open a new container just a while ago and it even has a label right on it that says: First wipe ready to go!  Bullshit Arm & Hammer! It was literally one long knotted string of Rain Fresh scented wipes that looked like bed sheets after a torrential spin cycle in the wash machine. Arghhhh!

Moving on.

Sliced cheese packaging or anything that has one of those zipper seals you have to activate with a firm pull before getting to the goodies.

You know what I’m talking about. The packaging where you first have to Tear Here (and you never clearly ascertain where the here is) to get to the zipper seal part that you open by pulling apart like some holy guy did with the Red Sea. I am tearing here! It doesn’t work! I still can’t open the bloody thing! And that’s when I reach for a pair of good scissors and have at it. There! Zip that provolone cheese! Don’t even get me started on trying to press the seal back together. Ugh. And I believe that holy guy was Moses.

And you’ll all appreciate this one because it really hits home for this website, Cereal After Sex… Cereal bags!

Okay, I’m trying to get to my Raisin Bran, not a tomb of gold at Fort Knox. Now I know why cereal is so packed with vitamins and minerals… Because it’s such a strenuous workout just to open the damn bag. We need the nutrients! I pull and pull and pull on that superglued bag until eventually it either rips open in a very bad way and the cereal goes everywhere, or, you guessed it, I go to my old reliable — scissors — and just slice that sucker open. They should save us all the trouble and just include a pair of scissors with every box.

Whew. Now, I’m sure there are tons of other products out there that have horrible packaging. Isn’t life hard enough as it is? Why pile all this on top of us, too? Is this just another sinister plot to control and demean us? I don’t know, but if you have a few horror stories of your own related to packaging frustrations, please share. Until then, I’m going to try and open my bottle of prescription nervous pills.


Have you heard of a cereal bowl that isn’t the size of an ashtray?

This past weekend, my wife and I took a mini vacation to a nearby college town – just to get away from home and visit her son’s future campus, among other things, like good food and coffee.

I had searched online for a hotel and found one of those “suite” places, thinking it might be a good alternative to an Airbnb that I just couldn’t get my hands on. It was my wife’s birthday and I wanted her to have something nice – even though she’s very appreciative of anything, except Motel 6.

I was pretty disappointed with the hotel from the get-go, considering I paid so damn much for it – $250 a night plus all those damn taxes. They should have been charging $59 a night in my opinion. I guess the room was decent enough, but NOT worth the price of admission. I was hoping it would be much larger than it was, but it was pretty much the size of your run-of-the-mill hotel room – just with a bigger refrigerator and a dishwasher that was falling apart. Whoop-tee-doo.

In my head I was saying “I am pissed!” just like Tourette’s Guy would. If you don’t know who Tourette’s Guy is, look him up on YouTube. Hilarious.

Anyways, another perk to having the suite was having it stocked with dishes and silverware we could use if we wanted to eat in… Or in my case, enjoy a delicious bowl of cereal.

Even before arriving at the hotel, my wife and I stopped at a nice grocery store, and I grabbed myself a box of Corn Pops and a box of Apple Jacks and some milk. I was pumped! To be able to have a bowl of cereal at the hotel – “I was in such bliss, my brothers,” as Alex DeLarge would say. If you don’t know who Alex DeLarge is, Google him.

But upon arriving to the room and inspecting the dishware that was provided, I just about lost my shit. “What the hell is this!?” I cried out to the cereal gods.

The dimensions of the bowls did not exceed the size of my palms.

“Are those ashtrays?” my wife wondered.

“No, they’re cereal bowls the size of ashtrays. How can this be? How in holy hell am I supposed to eat cereal out of these?”

My wife just looked at me like I was crazy, but I was crushed. Another dream had been snuffed from my life like a dirty cigarette – how appropriate, right?


Yellow Corn Pops polished with sweetness tinkled into one of the tiny bowls in the middle of the night. I poured in a little milk. I couldn’t sleep. My mind and soul were restless. I sat down on the uncomfortable couch on the other side of the partition from where my wife was sleeping in the bed. I began to spoon in the delicious late-night snack. It was so good, but due to the size of the bowl, the pleasure didn’t last long. I had to go back for more. And I did. And I did again. Like crack.

Still restless afterwards, I went down to the lobby and out into the hot air of a summer night. Corn Pops tumbled in the tum-tum. Light pollution blotted out the stars. I turned back to look at the lobby through the sliding glass doors. A few annoying weirdos were playing pool. Yeah, they had a pool table in the lobby. There was a lone lady clerk behind the front desk pretending to work. I considered complaining about the size of the bowls. But what good would it do? It wouldn’t matter what I said – nothing would change. The lady clerk didn’t care. She had more important things on her mind… Maybe.

The lobby doors slid open, and my wife appeared. She was fuzzled and bedazzled. “Are you still upset about the size of those cereal bowls?”

“Yes,” I confessed. “No one should be forced to eat cereal from such a small bowl. It’s ridiculous and inhumane.”

“But you could have no cereal at all. Think of that and all the other things you do have and stop being so glum.”

I looked at her, pure beauty radiating in the neon glow of the high hotel. “You’re always the positive end of the battery,” I said. “Cereal trouble may have killed me by now if it weren’t for you.”

I wrapped my arm around her, and we walked back into the hotel. There at the front desk was a man and he was loudly complaining about something to the clerk. We stopped in the shadows as I wanted to eavesdrop.

“How the hell am I supposed to eat cereal out of a bowl like this!” he screamed to her, and he threw it down and it rattled against the counter.

The clerk was shaking and crying because he was being so mean and hateful. “I’m sorry, sir. I’ll make a note of it for the manager.”

“Oh yes, a note for the manager. I’m sure you will,” the man grumbled. “You’re nothing but an inept ding-a-ling. I’ll never stay in this hotel ever again! You’ve lost my business!” And he angrily stormed off, tossing a perturbed glance in our direction.

“See,” my wife said to me. “Aren’t you glad you didn’t become an asshole like him?”

“Yes,” I said. “You’re right again.”

“Of course, I am. You should listen to me more often.”

I gave her a squeeze and a sultry smile. “Let’s go upstairs and watch some crappy TV, and maybe later you can give me a reason to have another bowl of cereal.”


Love and Thunder In the Jailhouse (Part 5)

Author’s Note: First, if you have missed the other episodes and want to read them, go to the Serials on Cereal menu tab above. Secondly, the following contains probable offensive language. Turn away if you don’t like that sort of thing.


That familiar ugly ache of an unwanted dawn fingered its way in through a thin slit in the motel room curtains and I knew it was time for Roy and I to move on.

Roy was moaning in the sheets because he was so hungover. I let him just be while I got up, showered and got dressed.

I started packing up some things and was loading them in the car, and that’s when weird Karl from Indiana suddenly appeared, seemingly out of nowhere, in a pink bathrobe and a head of crazy hair that looked as if he had just stepped out of a tornado. He was sucking on a cigarette he had in one hand and sipping coffee from a paper motel cup he had in the other. He was strangely watching me as if he were scribbling notes in his head like a detective.

“Good morning, Sally,” he said in that gaseous, off-planet voice of his.

I gave him a quick nod of acknowledgement and slammed the trunk of the car shut.

“Hey there. Nice outfit,” I said, without really thinking.

He seemed to take offense.

“This robe happened to belong to my mother,” he sternly said, then sighed. “She was wearing it when I found her on the kitchen floor that day you don’t know anything about. She was dead. One of those eternally crippling heart attacks. So they said.”

“Aw holy hell. I’m sorry. I didn’t know.”

“It’s fine. I’m through it. I’ll never be over it, but I’m through it.” He suddenly lighted up. “Roy about?”

“He’s still in bed, but we’re about to hit the road. I’m hoping at least.”

“Where you all headed?”

I couldn’t really give him a straight answer because I didn’t really know myself. And I didn’t want to let him in on anything. I simply said, “East.”

“Hell, that opens up a lot of possibilities.”

“It sure does, but that’s how we like it.”

Karl laughed to himself and tossed his nub of a cigarette butt to the ground and threw back the last of his coffee.

“Okay. I get that you have to keep your plans under wrap, but your secret is safe with me. I won’t tell anyone.”

I glared at him, annoyed. “We don’t have any secrets. We’re just wandering. You know, having an adventure.”

“Right. The time of your lives, I suppose.”

“Something like that. And I don’t understand why you have to know where we’re going anyway. I’m not prying into your personal business.”

“And I don’t understand why you have to treat me like a disease. I’m doing nothin’ except trying to be friendly. Hell, in a world like this, why is that so awful?”

“It’s awful because the world is the way it is. You answered your own damn question,” I said to him. “Now, if you don’t mind, I need to rouse Roy so we can get going.”

“Don’t let me stop you. Bitch.”

I didn’t reply to him calling me a bitch because in all honesty I was kind of being a bitch, but I didn’t care. It seemed like the right thing to be at the moment. I turned, walked back into Room #13 and locked the door behind me.

Roy was up and sitting on the edge of the bed without any clothes on. He was holding his head in his hands and mumbling something. I thought he was praying.

“Which one of them gods are you talking to, Roy?” I asked him.

He shook his head slowly.

“Whichever one is going to see me through this god damn life to the end and with the least amount of damage.”

He grudgingly got up off the bed and went into the bathroom to take a shower. When he came out, he got dressed in some fresh clothes and brewed us some coffee in the little coffee maker they had there.

We ate the chocolate donuts with our coffee and Roy had some more of his Lucky Charms.

“What the hell are we going to do with all this extra milk?” he wanted to know after he poured some in his cereal bowl. “Why’d you buy so much god damn milk, Sally? We can’t take it in the car with us. It’s 400 degrees outside.”

“I don’t know why you’re riding my ass about milk. I got it for you because you wanted cereal so bad.”

He sighed and shook his head at me.

“I know, I know. I’m sorry I snapped at you.”

“It’s okay. I know you’re not feeling so well.”

“I’ll just take it over to Karl. Poor guy looks like he could use some milk. Why don’t you come with me, and we can say goodbye. Together.”

“Do I have to?”

“It would be the right thing to do.”

Roy knocked on the door to Karl’s room and it quickly opened, and he halfway emerged, and it looked as if he had been crying.

“Well, hell, folks. I thought you two were already on your way.”

“We’ve been somewhat delayed, Karl. Damn hangover is kicking my ass,” Roy told him.

“I understand.”

Roy held up the half-empty gallon of milk.

“You go on and take this milk. We can’t bring it with us.”

And I’ll tell you, I’ve never in my life seen a man light up so much over the stupidest things. He was grinning so wide I thought his face would crack apart and fall to pieces. Over milk. And not even a full gallon of milk. Holy hell.

Creepy Karl from Indiana reached out with two hands and took it. That strange fellow nearly hugged the damn thing.

“My, my,” he said with a gross smile. “I don’t believe anyone has ever given me milk as a parting gift before.” He suddenly looked at us with wide, curious eyes. “It is a gift, right? I get to keep it?”

Roy scoffed with a laugh. “Jesus Christ, Karl. It’s just milk.”

“But you thought about me. You must consider me a friend. I mean, at least you do, Roy,” and he shot me a scowl.

Roy looked at me and smirked, then he turned back to Karl.

“To be honest with you, Karl. It’s just we don’t know anyone else around here,” Roy teased with all seriousness.

Karl looked at us like we just kicked him in the everlasting heart.

Roy slapped him on the upper arm and laughed. “I’m just kidding, Karl. Sure, we’re friends.”

His face switched back over to a grin.

“Come on, Roy. We’ve got to get going,” I said impatiently.

Roy stuck out his hand to shake.

“Take care, Karl. Enjoy the milk.”

When we finally started pulling out of the Furnace Springs Motorlodge, I could see Karl in the rear-view mirror as I adjusted it. To me, that’s usually the best way to see people you don’t really like — as you’re moving away from them forever. That damn Karl though, he was madly waving one arm goodbye and in his other hand he had that milk jug tilted up and he was drinking, but he was being really messy about it, and I could see the milk pouring out of his mouth and running down the front of him. And the whole time his eyes were as big as plums, and they were aimed directly at us.

And then as I was waiting to turn into the road, he came running up behind the car and he took that milk jug he emptied, and he threw it at the car as hard as he could. It bounced off with a plastic doink, and then he was stomping around like crazy and yelling out, “I’ll get you milk fuckers! You won’t get away with this!”

I punched the accelerator, and we were off.

“I’ll tell you, Roy. That Karl is one of the strangest people I ever had the misfortune to meet. He gives me mile-high anxiety.”

“He sure as hell was a strange bird,” Roy agreed. “Like some sort of poor cuckoo soul tragically lost in the world.”


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Love and Thunder in the Jailhouse (Part 4)

Author’s note: You can read the other episodes here: Love and Thunder in the Jailhouse (Part 1) and Love and Thunder in the Jailhouse (Part 2) and Love and Thunder in the Jailhouse (Part 3).

I pushed a wobbly cart down the dead-light aisles of a place called Food Cave. It was an old and beat-down place but a grocery store just the same. I tried to keep my head down and not look at people, but that didn’t keep those strange desert rats from looking at me. I had to wonder if I was on fire or something the way some of them people stared.

I found Roy’s Lucky Charms and since I thought I loved him so much I got the really big box. I picked up some cheap plastic bowls and spoons, a gallon of milk, some bottles of water, and grabbed a box of donuts with chocolate frosting on them. And since I felt bad about ditching ol’ Karl from Indiana, I snagged a case of cheap high-gravity beer in hopes he might forgive me and not cause us any trouble.

When I got up to the checkout lane it was backed up because they only had one god damn cashier. Hell, it doesn’t matter where you go, it’s always the same. Nothing is ever how they show it on the god damn commercials – never. How do we keep falling for this bullshit?

When it finally came my turn, I put my things up on the belt. The cashier was a shaky, middle-aged lady who had a black eye and a cut on her bottom lip. When she tried to smile like the fortune gods tell her to, I could see she had a front tooth missing. I looked at her nametag and it said HELEN.

I asked her for two packs of Camel cigarettes and then I said, “Are you okay, Helen?”

She looked up from her scanning and her eyes got real wide.

“I fell down the stairs,” she said.

“Them stairs must have had a fist of stone,” I boldly replied.

She stopped what she was doing and looked at me like I was her worst enemy ever.

“I told you. I fell down the stairs.”

“And they still made you come to work?”

“I can’t afford to miss. I’ve got bills to pay, honey. Now why don’t you mind your own damn business and pay yours.”

Yep. Nothing like the commercials.

When I got back to the Furnace Springs Motorlodge, Roy was sitting outside the room with that crazy Karl from Indiana. The motel had set out metal chairs and a round metal table crowned with a dirty orange ashtray the size of a cereal bowl for their road-weary patrons, and that’s where they were – smoking and drinking beer and acting like they were best friends.

“Holy hell, Sally. Now you’re in trouble,” I whispered to myself as I roughly moved the car’s shifter to the P.

I just sat there in the car for a minute looking at them looking at me. Roy had shaved his face baby-butt smooth, and he had a red bandana strapped to the top of his head. That creepy Karl would take a sip of his beer, laugh, and then oddly turn his head to look at me. It seemed he was somehow reading my soul as if my thoughts were brightly etched in braille and his eyes were dirty fingertips.

Roy finally got up and came over and opened the driver’s side door.

“What the hell, Sally? Are you getting out of the car?” He looked over at creepy Karl and they both just laughed.

“You’re drunk!” I snapped.

He stumbled backward as I got out of the car. “Hell yeah I’m drunk. Me and Karl over there are having ourselves a little party. Why don’t you put them groceries up and join us?”

I slammed the car door and went around to the trunk to get the bags of groceries.

“Are you going to help me?” I said to him.  

“All right, all right. Let me just go set my beer down.”

Once inside the room and with the door closed, I confronted Roy.

“Why in the hell are you carrying on with him like that?” I angrily whispered.

“What’s the big deal? I’m just being neighborly and having a little fun.”

“He could be trouble for us, Roy! I thought we were supposed to be careful.”

“He’s just a lonely old dude down on his luck. He’s harmless.”

“What if he’s not?”

Roy looked at me and shook his head. “Well, after what you did to him, I figured it was the least I could do.”

I glared at him.

He raised his voice. “That’s right. He told me you promised him a ride and then ditched him when he wasn’t looking.”

“He was creeping me out, Roy.”

“It made him suspicious.”

I brushed past him in frustration and worked to put some of the things I got at the store in the little refrigerator the motel people had there. He watched me intently as I moved around the room.

“I was just trying to mellow him out, Sally. It’s no big fucking deal! Let’s just get through this hot ass night and we’ll be gone in the morning, and we’ll never have to see him again.”

“Fine!” I finally said.

“Good. I’m going to take a piss. Take him some more beer and try to be nice.”

He put a can in my hand and slapped my butt before going into the bathroom and closing the door.

I went outside and creepy Karl was sitting there quietly smoking a cigarette. He eventually turned his head to look at me.

“Hi there,” he said.

I set the beer down on the table in front of him and he started to glow. He reached for it, popped it open and took a long drink.

“Why don’t you sit down?”

“I’d rather stand, thanks.”

He shrugged and took another sip of beer. “Suit yourself.”

I started getting more uncomfortable by the second and I finally went to open the room door.

“Roy!?” I called out.

I could hear the shower running. Why was he taking a god damn shower at a time like this!?

“Something wrong?” Karl asked.

I closed the door.

“No. I was just wondering what Roy was up to.”

“Oh. That Roy of yours has been pretty nice to me. Unlike some other folks around here,” he said in that high-pitched fluty voice.

I knew he was talking about me. Of course he was.

“I’m sorry about that. I’ve got a lot on my mind.”

He slowly shook his head in agreement. “I’m sure you do.”

And because he said it with a hint of accusation, I asked him, “What do you mean by that?”

He looked at me and snickered like he was busting to tell a secret. “I know who you are.”

My heart started thumping in my chest.

“You don’t know anything about me, mister.”

“Well. I don’t really have to. You see, nowadays the world does the knowing for me. I don’t need eyes when there’s other eyes all around. And I don’t need to do the hearing when all this technology does the listening for me. And then you know what they do, Sally?”

“What?”

“They send it out. And it flows through the wires, and it flows through the ground, and it flows through the air on its way to everyone’s brain,” he said, oddly fluttering his fingers in the air. “And then those people do the same, and then some more people do the same again, until everyone in the world knows everyone else’s secrets.”

“What the hell are you talking about, mister.”

“I’m talking about all the cameras and the phones and the televisions and the computers and all these other miraculous devices gifted to us by the star people. Everywhere you go and everything you do – somebody somewhere is watching and listening and spreading it like butter on warm toast that eventually runs off the edge and gets into every crack and crevice in the world.”

“You’re fucking paranoid.”

He chuckled strangely and shook a crooked finger at me.

“No. I’m not. But you should be.”

Roy suddenly opened the door and came out. He was eating Lucky Charms like a bowl of dog food.

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Love and Thunder in the Jailhouse (Part 3)

Author’s Note: You can read the first part of this story here: Love and Thunder in the Jailhouse (Part 1) And the second part of the story here: Love and Thunder in the Jailhouse (Part 2)

“Cereal?”

“Yes. Cereal. You have no idea how long it’s been since I’ve had a decent bowl of cereal.”

“Well Roy, what kind of cereal do you want? I suppose I could find some sort of a grocery store in this seemingly wretched town.”

He thought long and hard about it. “What’s that kind that has the little leprechaun that’s all dressed up in a green suit on the box? You know, the one that runs from the people trying to kill him and steal his gold.”

“Lucky Charms?” I quickly guessed.

Roy enthusiastically snapped his fingers and smiled wide.

“That’s it. Lucky Charms!”

“I don’t think they were trying to kill him, Roy. I think they just wanted some of his Lucky Charms.”

He scratched at the scruff on his chin and thought about it. “Oh. I guess that makes sense.”

I got up and went to grab my purse and head toward the door.

“Whoa, Sally. You need to let me cut off some of that hair before you go out again.”

I touched my head and wondered.

“How much?”

Roy studied me for a moment.

“About six or seven inches. Grab them scissors you packed and have a seat.”

He pulled out the chair that was tucked under a round, wobbly table in the corner by the curtained window and I sat down in it. He stood behind me and before he started cutting, he ran his strong fingers through my hair as if saying goodbye in some strange way. His hands slid down to my shoulders and he started to rub them. His fingers worked deep into the tension buried deep within.

“Make sure you get the milk, too. That’s pretty important,” he said as he continued to massage me. “And some kind of bowls and plastic spoons so I don’t have to eat like an animal.”

“Sure, Roy. I’d be happy to.”

“Good girl,” he said, and he patted me on the head like a puppy before beginning to roughly snip away at my dear golden locks.

As he went about it, he sometimes tugged as he cut, and it sort of hurt.

“You sure you know what you’re doing?” I asked him.

“It doesn’t really matter. We’re not going for beauty and style, Sally. It’s just to have less to tuck up inside a ball cap,” he answered.

I stayed silent and watched as he worked the shears and my hair fell in clumps to the floor all around me. He suddenly stopped and came around to look at me from the front. He seemed concerned.

“What’s the matter?”

“Nothing. You look great. Hell, I should have gone to beauty school,” he said with a laugh.

“Can I go look at it?”

“Go ahead.”

I went into the pale-yellow bathroom and turned on the light. I looked at myself in the mirror with hesitation.

“Holy hell,” I whispered to myself. “I may never get over this.”

The cut was choppy and uneven, and it looked as if I had gotten my head stuck in the business end of a good ol’ boy’s lawnmower.

“Well? What do you think?” he called out.

“Shit, Roy! I look ugly.”

A moment later he appeared in the doorway and smiled at me. He reached out and touched my messed-up hair.

“You could never be ugly, Sally,” he said. “Not in my world.”

That’s when he suddenly leaned in and pulled me to him for a long, deep kiss. As it went on all hot like that, he fumbled to take off my top as I worked to undo my husband’s jeans that Roy was now tightly encased in.

We made our way out of the bathroom in a heated tangle and ended up falling on the wrecked bed. And that’s where he savagely undressed me and then blessed me deeply with his manhood until I was screaming.

When it was all done, I got dressed and put the ball cap on my head and tucked in my hair like Roy said. He was naked and sleeping on the bed when I went out and got into the car.

There was a man standing outside a few doors down and he looked as if he must have had a really hard life. He was standing there in a pair of shorts and with no shirt smoking a cigarette and drinking a beer. He had real long stringy hair coming off a balding head and it danced undisciplined in the hot wind. I tried not to look at him, but it was kind of hard not to.

Well, sure as shit, he noticed me and came walking over toward the car. He tapped on the window, and I rolled it down part ways.

He got uncomfortably close, and his eyes danced all over me.

“What can I do you for?” I asked him with jailhouse-like authority.

He smacked his gross mouth at me and then cleared his throat.

“Are you heading into town by any chance?” he asked me with a weird, slow-drawn, high-pitched voice you wouldn’t expect to come out of any sort of man.

“I’m headed to the grocery store to get some things for my husband.” I motioned with my head toward Room #13. “He’s inside the room right there.”

The odd man turned and looked at the door to Room #13. Then he softly chuckled.

“Oh,” he said. “I suppose you two were the ones making all that sex noise earlier, huh?”

“Excuse me?”

He grinned and his teeth were a train wreck, and he waved his half-withered hand at the air around him.

“I can’t blame you,” he said. “I’d get in as much as I could too… With the way the world is and all.”

I nodded at him with a hint of impatience. “Well, I really need to get going before the store closes. My husband needs some things and it’s real important I get them for him.”

“Right, right,” the man said. “But just a minute. As I was about to ask… Would you be able to give me a ride just down the road some?”

“Oh, I don’t know. No offense, but I’m usually not one to give rides to strangers.”

“My name is Karl and I’m from Indiana. There. Now we’re not strangers.”

All the same, Karl from Indiana. Without my husband along, I’m just not comfortable with that.”

He turned and pointed down the roadway, presently being washed in the preambles of a desert dusk.

“Just down to the liquor store. I’d walk, but my legs aren’t what they used to be. It’s really not all that far.”

I sighed. I didn’t want to be a cruel person but at the same time I was scared.

“Okay. I’ll drive you there, but you’ll have to find another way back. Deal?”

He danced around in the parking lot and laughed like an insane person.

“Great. Great!” he exclaimed. “But don’t go anywhere yet. I’ll be right back. They won’t let me in without a shirt.”

But then I did something that would turn out to be really stupid. When he trotted off and went inside his room, I tore out of that parking lot without him.

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I’ll show you my cereal if you show me yours (With Poll)

I’m someone who eats cereal at night. I’ve never much enjoyed cereal as it was intended – a breakfast food to kickstart one’s day. Not for me. I’m not really into kickstarting my day. For me, cereal is much more of a snack food, a bowl of deliciousness cradled in my lap while watching House Hunters or My 600-Pound Life in bed with my wife.

I have to admit that I’m a sweets guy. I like sugary cereal. That’s unfortunate for me because not unlike the late, great Wilford Brimley, I have DIE-A-BEETUS. The Lucky Charms leprechaun is literally killing me, or rather, I’m letting him kill me. But what a way to go. Maybe more on that struggle later. But it’s the weekend and I thought I would just do something short and simple and fun today.

So, choosing what my favorite cereal is not an easy task for me because there are so many I like. But I’ll narrow it down to my Top 10 – in no particular order:

Cap’n Crunch’s Crunch Berries

Lucky Charms

Corn Pops

Honey-Comb

Sugar Bear’s Golden Crisp

Post Raisin Bran (Has to be Post because IMO it is the best)

Nature’s Path Heritage Flakes

Grape-Nuts

Apple Jacks

Cocoa Pebbles

And there you have it. Now that I have confessed my cereal desires, what about you? What’s your favorite cereal? Check out the poll below and vote for your favorite.

But before that, I guess it’s only fair that I share my worst cereal experience – and that would have to be: Cracklin’ Oat Bran. I’d rather eat avocado smeared atop a piece of tree bark.

A Carnal Knowledge of Cereal

Photo by GEORGE DESIPRIS on Pexels.com

Cereal. It’s the perfect companion to the afterglow of a carnal embrace. First, there’s the reaching into the refrigerator for the milk with an elevated heart rate. Then there’s the gathering of the bowl and spoon with a shaky hand. Next is the gallant tumble of the cereal itself from its slightly upturned box while one bead of love sweat runs down your skin beneath a rumpled shirt. And after that, there’s that reckless cascade of white liquid from the carton or jug as you try to catch your breath. And at last, there is that thrust of the silver tool that will eagerly deliver your very first bite.
I like to sit in a comfortable armchair situated near a big picture window that overlooks the square as I cradle the bowl and eat. I bask in lascivious thoughts as the cold milk and crunch repeatedly crosses the threshold of my mouth. I can hear the chewing in my own head, rhythmically tapping like the silver balls of a desktop Newton’s cradle.
As the dying sun collides with the birth of a new night of stars, the square below glows a faded purple. Car after car after car reverses from its diagonal space and goes off into the void, the people inside trying to find their places in the brutal world. A woman with tousled hair and an ass packed tight in zodiac leggings crosses before me and takes refuge in the other chair. She stares into the glow of her phone, beautiful and sticky and smelling of love.
“What kind of cereal are you having?” she asks without looking at me.
“Corn Pops.”
“Oh. Fancy.” She pauses. “That was hot.”
“What’s that?”
“Earlier. Baby.” She looks over at me and mimics a kiss.
“Yes, it was… Did you know that they used to call them Sugar Corn Pops.”
“What?”
“Corn Pops. They used to be called Sugar Corn Pops.”
“Your mind drifts to strange places. How do you go from sex to cereal and back again?” she wonders aloud.
“I suppose they figured the word ‘sugar’ had a negative connotation,” I say. “I suppose some marketing dildo who makes $200,000 a year came up with that one.”
“Why do you worry about that?”
“Worry about what?”
“Money, and what other people do and have.”
I think about it, then tilt my cereal bowl to drain the last of the milk and set it aside. “I guess I’m just hung up on perfection. Like a wet winter coat on a mudroom peg.”
“Baby. Perfection isn’t found in things or money. Perfection is found in the simple, meaningful moments.”
I look over at her there in the chair before the big window framing nightglow. “Like our love?”
“Like our beyond beyond love,” she says.
After a brief fissure of silence I ask her what time it is.
“11:02,” she answers with a yawn. “Are you ready for bed?”
“I’ll be there in a little bit.”
She rises from the chair, leans down and kisses me with purpose. Her lips are wet and scented from the grape-flavored water she always drinks.
“I love you,” she affirms. “Believe in that.”
“I love you, too. I really do.”
She looks down at me, smiles and presses her warm lips against my forehead. “I know you do,” she whispers.
I turn to watch her walk away, through the low glow of a long, narrow kitchen and into the darkness of the back bedroom that swallows her up.
I get up out of the chair and take my emptied bowl to the kitchen sink and rinse it out. I walk back over to the big window and look down upon the vacant square. The gray, cold stone of a courthouse reflects fear and loneliness. The empty and silent street reminds me of a dark corner in Heaven. And even with all that, I know if I am careful with her heart, I will never be alone again.