KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 4: Fall 2015
Tanka Tale: 478 words


by Pat Tompkins

This weekend the annual Girl Scout cookie sale starts. BethAnne and Kelly, my twins, are super excited about it. My little girls aren’t Brownies anymore! I brought a few cartons to the gym to get the ball rolling this morning.

Lots of locker room regulars are moms or grandmothers, and plenty are former Girl Scouts. Gold mine. Moms know the drill. Several said, “I’ll take a box of those minty ones.” Linda from Zumba wavered.

“That’s the prettiest color,” I said. “Where do you get your nails done?” Sold.

Compliments are easy; haircut, outfit, earrings—just say something nice. It doesn’t have to be true. Suzanne from aqua aerobics wore the most ridiculous high heels—not a good look when you’re built like a manatee. But she beamed when I admired them and ordered three boxes.

You might think a gym is not a natural place to sell cookies. I only had one hard case. First, I asked her where she got her swimsuit.


Looked like the clearance rack. Since she was heading to the showers, I decided to follow through later. I told Jackie Sunday’s plans. “The girls have a slumber party tonight, so we won’t get an early start tomorrow. But we’ve got the corner by the coffee shop on Third staked out. We’ll be there from 10 to 2. You can pick up your order then, or I can bring it here Monday.”

She said thanks, but she was trying to lose a few pounds. I was ready: “It’s for a good cause. And you don’t need to buy cookies for yourself. You can donate them to our young men and women in the armed services overseas or to the senior center. Everyone loves cookies.”

“If I’m going to donate food, I’d rather donate something more nutritious.”

“Hey, no problem. This year, the cookies are lower in fat. And they have ingredients like Greek yogurt and coconut. Plus, they’re small. Everyone deserves a little treat.”

That worked. As I noted her order, I said, “I tell my girls: quitters never win, and winners never quit.”

Then the gal with the ugly swimsuit was back. I said, “Nothing like coffee after a morning swim.” No response. “I’ve got just the thing for it.” She toweled her wet hair. I waited until she looked at me. “Girl Scout cookies.”

“No, thanks. I was a Camp Fire Girl.”

So what? Ancient history. “I won’t tell anyone.”

“I thought the girls were supposed to sell the cookies, not the mothers.”

That left me speechless.

“You’ve been pushing those cookies the whole time I’ve been in here. Give it a rest.”

She picked up her bag and left. Well, you know what they say about one bad apple.

I owe, I owe
so off to work I go
bumper-sticker lives
bits of truth behind clichés
accepted as gospel

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