The Man with the Ridiculously Huge Coupon
So this man walks into the store, the convenience store, steps up to the till, whips it out, right onto the countertop. And Janet and I just look at each other, eyes bugging out. Cuz neither of us has ever, I mean ever seen a coupon this big. Huge. And we see a lotta coupons, believe me, between us. In New York City? C'mon.
art by Ashley Inguanta
So you're thinking big deal, right, what can a guy get with a coupon anymore, a buck off air fresheners? Well, yeah, basically—with your average, kiddy-sized coupon. But this was one motherfucking enormous coupon. Just colossal. And it's not like you can refuse a coupon, not if it's legit. So we just stand there, Janet and me, waiting for him to pick out his shit—Twizzlers, mozzarella, deodorant—and watching it pile up on the countertop, next to the huge coupon. It pretty soon gets so tall, the pile, that Janet here gets up on a chair and holds the top of it, me I hug the bottom, just to keep it from collapsing.
Do you remember that, like, mountain of garbage that caught on fire? The headline was something like, "Garbage Mountain Bursts into Flames: Thousands Killed." I remember falling on my ass laughing when I read that, I mean it was unreal, even though all those homeless kids like, burned to death in garbage. The pile kinda reminded me of that for some reason, maybe there was so much junk food in it, and I got to laughing again, which got Janet laughing, and I remember wishing the guy would hurry up before the whole thing toppled and buried us alive.
So we're waiting and waiting and finally he throws a vanilla air freshener on top of the pile, with a flourish, and says, "Done." And we ring it all through, all this shit, and the total's just ridiculous. Something like $17,000. But after we process the coupon, this mammoth coupon—keep in mind how big it was—we end up, like, owing him sixteen cents.
Anyhow, he's leaning on the counter, putting the sixteen cents in his pants, stalling a bit, trying to get a conversation going. So we just go along with it; I mean, he wasn't bad looking. Pretty soon he starts asking us about our coupons, and all the different stores we've been to, and shit. I mean, it was presumptuous and everything, and I kinda wanted to tell him it was none of his fucking business. But he had, like, the bangs that go down over your eyes. Like that singer, remember? And a moustache.
Long story short, we end up back at his place. I was planning on saving my coupon till after I married, I mean that's the time to start saving, right, when you're buying a house and have a mortgage and shit? But the guy was pretty persuasive. Did I mention the moustache? And so I figure—it's only a coupon, after all—what the hell, why not? Those things expire anyways.
Read the interview.
Rolli writes—and draws a little—for adults (Rattle, Quarterly West, New York Tyrant) and children (Ladybug, Spider, Highlights). He is the author/illustrator of the tasty poetry/art book Plum Stuff (Montreal: 8th House Publishing), and the forthcoming collections God's Autobio (short stories) and Mavor's Bones (poems). Visit his blog and follow his epic tweets @rolliwrites.
Ashley Inguanta is an MFA student at the University of Central Florida and teaches two Introduction to Creative Writing classes. She also has worked as a creative writing instructor at Lakeside Alternative, a mental health facility. Her fiction and poetry have appeared in Pindeldyboz, Elephant Journal, and All Things Girl. She recently earned an honorable mention in Glimmer Train for their Very Short Fiction Award. Ashley was nominated as UCF's choice for the AWP Intro Journals Award in fiction.
All content in SmokeLong Quarterly copyright 2003-2013 by its authors.
Issue Thirty-One (March 28, 2011):
Kapha by Joanne Avallon «»
Wound Glue by Michael Cooper «»
Natural by Julie Draper «»
Everyday There is So Much about Elephants by Timothy Gager «»
Renewables by Abe Gaustad «»
We Walk Away, the Three of Us by Tracy Gonzalez «»
Other Sons by Casey Hannan «»
The Mystery of Water by Zin Kenter «»
The Lives of Alligators by Robert Kloss «»
A Turkey Baster Is Just Like a Penis by Rachel Levy «»
Three Bodies by Mike Meginnis «»
God, Two Girls by Adeena Reitberger «»
Gestures by Megan Roberts «»
Moons by Ethel Rohan «»
The Man with the Ridiculously Huge Coupon by Rolli «»
A Walk in the Woods by Robert Schladale «»
The Way We Speak Now by Angi Becker Stevens «»
Joanne Avallon «»
Michael Cooper «»
Julie Draper «»
Timothy Gager «»
Abe Gaustad «»
Tracy Gonzalez «»
Casey Hannan «»
Zin Kenter «»
Robert Kloss «»
Rachel Levy «»
Mike Meginnis «»
Adeena Reitberger «»
Megan Roberts «»
Ethel Rohan «»
Robert Schladale «»
Angi Becker Stevens «»
Cover Art "Lady Gaga Dada" by Marty D. Ison «»
Letter From the Editors
Interested in subscribing to SmokeLong's weekly newsletter? Click here. An email should be created. Send it as is, and you'll be subscribed. If the link does not work for you, send an email to email@example.com with Subscribe slq-info in the body of the email (no subject is necessary). You'll receive updates detailing the release of new issues, new reading periods, contests, etc. We do not make our mail list available to anyone else.