Ted Cruz Stops at a Target to Buy Clean Socks
while on the campaign trail in Corpus Christi. He knew it was hurricane season—sometimes he thinks it might always be hurricane season in the Gulf—but he didn’t expect there to be such huge puddles this morning after yesterday’s storm And he certainly didn’t expect to be so startled when the Selena statue was definitely looking at him that he would step into a giant puddle, iridescent with oil, requiring this trip to Target. Ted should have packed extra socks. But he didn’t. So now he’s in the express checkout lane across from the in-store Starbucks getting stared down by that creepy green mermaid. Why would you make a mermaid the logo for your coffee company? It doesn’t make sense—not even if he tries to put himself in the mind-space of a hippie. But as he takes his now-paid-for socks—black ones, of course—he smells the aroma of the mermaid’s roast. Ted is suddenly overcome with a desire for a fancy coffee, something he used to drink in college. He peruses the menu from afar. They’ve just put up their signs advertising fall beverages. No, he shouldn’t. Ted wonders if this is what resistance feels like. He wonders if there is any other smell so sweet as that of the pumpkin spice in which he would not partake. When he walks away from the tattooed barista, he realizes it has started to rain again. But he left his umbrella in the car.
Ted Cruz Makes Eye Contact with the UPS Guy Delivering His New Deep Fryer
and now he’s not sure if he has to make small talk. The UPS Guy hands Ted the tablet to sign and Ted tells him he’d hate to be out there delivering all these packages in this crazy heat. The UPS Guy takes the tablet back and Ted starts to sweat. Even though he’s in an air-conditioned house where the temperature is never higher than seventy-two degrees. Ted’s new deep fryer is suddenly heavier. He wonders why he ordered from Sears when he could have gotten the same thing from Amazon. The Amazon delivery guy just leaves things on his doorstep, rings the bell, and leaves. Ted gives a weak smile and closes the door. He wonders if he maybe should have said goodbye. In the kitchen, Ted just leaves the box on the counter. It doesn’t matter if he opens it now. Nobody else is home, and it would be weird, even for Ted, to fry shoestring potatoes alone.
Ted Cruz Flicks His Cigarette Butt Out the Window on the Beltway
and the grass is pretty dry and for a moment Ted realizes that he might have just started an actual fire. It’s nothing as bad as California—and God knows Californians are enough of a drag as it is, with their recycling and their marijuana and all that gay marriage—and he thinks that maybe nobody will notice. Notice that it was his cigarette, anyway. Ted doesn’t even smoke. Usually. He’s just having a Very Bad Day. Someone slipped a flyer into his inter-office mail comparing his handwriting to the Zodiac Killer’s—again, more garbage out of California. And Ted can see how a kid might find this entertaining, but he’s an actual human being, after all. He’s never killed anyone and written to the newspapers about it. He couldn’t come up with these cyphers, you know? It’s just not his thing. Behind him the fire is still burning. He can see the big black smoke in his rearview mirror. He shouldn’t have had that cigarette. He promises that he’s going to throw what’s left in the pack out when he gets home. In his neighbor’s trash can, of course. His wife would absolutely murder him if she found out he was buying Lucky Strikes again.
E. Kristin Anderson is a poet, Starbucks connoisseur, and glitter enthusiast living in Austin, Texas. She is the editor of Come as You Are, an anthology of writing on 90s pop culture (Anomalous Press), and Hysteria: Writing the female body (Sable Books, forthcoming). Kristin is the author of nine chapbooks of poetry including A Guide for the Practical Abductee (Red Bird Chapbooks), Pray, Pray, Pray: Poems I wrote to Prince in the middle of the night (Porkbelly Press), Fire in the Sky (Grey Book Press), 17 seventeen XVII (Grey Book Press), and Behind, All You’ve Got (Semiperfect Press, forthcoming). Kristin is an assistant poetry editor at The Boiler and an editorial assistant at Sugared Water. Once upon a time she worked nights at The New Yorker. Find her online at EKristinAnderson.com and on twitter at @ek_anderson.