Friday, August 15, 2008

MumbletyPeggy (pt. 2)

The black veils rustled as the little figure turned to Marcie then looked away. Peggy muttered and made intricate  motions with her clawlike fingers in the air in fron of her, waving them at the rows of painkillers.

I stayed back and was going to go wait by Maia when I heard the mumbles.

"Oh, oh, oh no. Oh no!" she said, her voice low and her. "Oh what does she WANT?! Oh, dear, what does she WANT?"

I stayed back bnut just within earshot as I saw Marcie's toes lift... and fall. Lift... and fall. She waited, then spoke.

"Would you like a basket for your stuff so you don't have to carry them in your pocket, Peggy?" Marcie asked, looking smug and absolutely not in the least bit fazed as the gestures became more agitated and rapid.

Marcie stepped back and grabbed a blue hand basket, then held it out, its two handles open. "Just put them in there and you can carry this while you shop for all your things," Marcie said.

Peggy's hand clenched into a crooked, aged fist and then her fingers flicked and shook as she made repeated grabbing motions in the air.

"So she so she so she so she does, does, does that she does, and she knows, knows, knows." the croaking voice, clearer and older now, crackled. "Fine."

Her gnarled talons, now clearer still as she turned to Marcie, flicked in unison, then her left hand snaked into her dress and the other shook and waved up and down a little. A box of Advil rattled several times, two or three in the air above the basket, before she dropped them in it.

Marcie handed Peggy the basket and Peggy took it and marched away, her veils clinging to her face a little as she walked rapidly down the aisle. Marcie waited and watched in th mirrors, then changed lanes to the snack aisle.

Marcie watched her like a hawk. The woman wandered the aisles and threw random items into the basket, her hands each time making a pattern of passes and gestures in front of the shelf before dropping the items in.

A cinstant stream of gibberish punctuated by her stream of thought in words poured forth:

"Msh mup mup mup Mup MUP!

"Whir whir whir whir whir whir whir were not whir word."

"Where did she go where did she go where did she go? Go go go?" she said. "No. No. No. She didn't go, she didn't go."

Whenever Peggy noticed Marcie watching, the babble took on a different tone and Peggy would make wild, lingering ritualistic gestures, occasionally freezing her hand in some contorted state and turning back to the products.

Marcie looked over at me and shook her head, then turned her attention back to Peggy.

"Are you ready, Peggy?" she asked. "Should I help you carry your stuff?"

Marcie walked down and Peggy handed her the basket, loaded with yarn and candy and various  medicine and drugstore items. Marcie waited and put out her hand.

Peggy reached into her clothes and produced a container of Maalox.

Marcie sighed, putting it in the basket and putting her hand out again. Peggy this time produced a large bottle of Centrum vitamins, a small stuffed Winnie the Pooh car mirror hanger, and a silver-topped ball point pen.

"Oh, that's all, all all," she muttered. "Smumf smuf smuff smumf."

Marcie gestured for Peggy to go to the front counter ahead of her and the crone's wobble turned into a rustling, off-kilter but high-speed stagger. She walked right past me, past the registers and to the door.

"No, I don't, I don't, I don't," she said as she turned and this time flicked her hair and veils off her face, revealing her angry snarl of a visage and raising her hand, which slipped and flopped and grasped and made fists of itself at a fever pitch.

Her free hand flipped her veils away from her shoulder and she opened her left eye. She appeared to be aiming, but then I noticed her right eye was closed as if sewn that way, and the skin there did not frame a socket so much as sag and pool atop the cheekbone.

"Mmmm, mmm, mmm you," she said as Marcie came and stood next to me, staring at her dispassionately. "You you you you YOU! MMMM! MMMMMFSH!"

Now both her hands flipped and clawed at air in intricate patterns that had to be killer for any arthritis she may have suffered, but she persisted and her face twisted into a grimace and a one-eyed squint.

"Huu- UH!" she said, then slipped through the door, pulling her veils back down as she mumbled off into the mall, her voice fading as she went past the store glass. "She, she, she she does and she knows, and mmm mmm mmm..."

I turned to Marcie and she closed her eyes and shook her head, then sighed. "She is so crazy," she said. "If she didn't shoplift every time, almost, I would enjoy watching her anyways."

Marcie looked at me as I stared at her and rolled her eyes, then mocked Peggy's hand movements, closing one eye. "I, I, I have, have have, have to put it all back, back back!" she said, exasperated, then turned and got to it as I guffawed.