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The Man with the Ridiculously Huge Coupon

Story by Rolli (Read author interview) March 29, 2011

art by Ashley Inguanta

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.

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.

About the Author

Rolli is a writer, illustrator and cartoonist hailing from Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. He’s the author of two short story collections (I Am Currently Working On a Novel and God’s Autobio), two books of poems (Mavor’s Bones and Plum Stuff), the middle grade story collection Dr. Franklin’s Staticy Cat and two forthcoming novels – Kabungo (Anansi/Groundwood, 2016) and The Sea-Wave (Guernica Editions, 2016). His cartoons appear regularly in Reader’s Digest, Harvard Business Review, Adbusters, The Chronicle of Higher Education and other popular outlets. Visit Rolli’s website  and follow him on Twitter @rolliwrites.

About the Artist

Ashley Inguanta is a writer, art photographer, installation artist, and holistic educator. Her work has most recently appeared in Atticus Review, Santa Fe Literary Review, and the anthology The Familiar Wild: On Dogs & Poetry. Her newest chapbook of poems, The Island, The Mountain, & The Nightblooming Field honors a human connection with the natural world.

This story appeared in Issue Thirty-One of SmokeLong Quarterly.
SmokeLong Quarterly Issue Thirty-One

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