Herbie Visits a Boxstore

A Visit to a Boxstore

The morning was bright and shining–a new and glorious day had dawned. Despite what was apparently going on in the world, I was grateful–so very grateful. Life was good. I enjoyed my first cup of coffee (a tri-blend of Guatamalean Dark Roast, Ethiopian Light Roast,  and North-American Discards); but soon it was time to get on with my day. I had a few errands to run, which included making some purchases. I would have preferred to buy from my local store, but the owner had been forced to close his doors. “Well, you coming?” I asked my good friend Herbie. “Youuu, bettt!” he replied enthusiastically. Both of us headed to the garage, and I backed my car out and headed to the local boxstore.

After selecting a parking space, I turned to Herbie. “Well, coming in?”

“Youuu betttt,” he replied. I unbuckled his seatbelt, and helped him out of the car. We had been friends for so long; we didn’t like to go anywhere without each other.

As I neared the entrance to the boxstore, I dutifully applied a mask to my face–not that I believed that doing so was wise or necessary; but I knew it was the current world story. Choice to wear or not to wear, would have been nice; but such choice had been stripped away. When we stepped through the sliding glass doors, we were immediately approached by one of the masked greeters. “Hello, Sir,” she said.

“Good morningggg,” Herbie gleefully replied. His eyes had opened wide, and he was staring brightly at the greeter.

The greeter rolled her eyes, and turned to me. “I’m sorry, sir, but you’ll have to put a mask on your dummie.”

“Pardon?” I said, in disbelief. Herbie had slowly recoiled and turned his head to face me; albeit with the help of my hand.

The greeter, whose stance had widened, folded her arms across her chest. “Sir, I must insist. You’ll have to put a mask on your friend.”

“But he’s made of wood,” I said, tapping his head. He doesn’t breathe.” Herbie’s head shuddered; and his eyebrows rose to his hairline. “I don’t b r e a t h e?” he whispered.

“Uh, uh,” I said. “Shhh.”

“Sorry, sir; but it’s Policy. By-law: dash, blank, #7789243601, subsection ‘Virus, As It Pertains to Ventriloquists’ Dummies.'”

Quick thinking saved us. “Herbie has an M.E.–Medical Exemption,” I blurted. I felt a shiver pulse through Herbie as he turned to look me directly in the eys. “I have a medical exemption?” he said, his eyes beseeching me to tell it to him straight.

“Well, okay,” said the greeter. “This time. But use some santizer”

“Sure,” I said, “and with that, Herbie (with a little help from me) lifted the bottle and squirted a stream into his mouth. When he was done choking, he said, “Be darned the data that says sanitizer suppreses our immune systems! Onward, Stewie, we have a store to conquer!”

Up one aisle and down the other Herbie and I strolled. “Ahh, shopping,” he said. “Nothing like it.” He reminded me that we were out of toilet paper, and I thanked him. We were enjoying ourselves immensely until this:

“How did he get in here without a mask?” demanded a robust older man wearing a menacing black mask. He was pointing at Herbie.

“Medical Exemption,” Herbie replied feebly, with a pat of his chest. “I’ve got wooden lungs.” He looked directly at the man and coughed, as though to sell the story.”

“Well… okay,” the man said hesitantly. “Just being careful.”

“Totally understandable,” I said. “Thanks for caring enough to protect all of us. We can beat this thing.”

“I agree,” I said, as the man turned to leave. It was not a virus  that gave rise to mild to moderate symptoms in 99% of the population that frightened me.

Herbie and I continued to shop. We selected our items, and Herbie handed the checkout lady behind plexi-glass the money. One thing was certain: Intelligence and truth had to rise, if all of us were ever going to reclaim our lives. Opposing views were deliberately being suppressed. Scientists and doctors with legitimate expertise in the field of immunology had to be given opportunity to be heard.

“Can I drive home?” asked Herbie, when we got back to the car.

“Maybe next time,” I said, as I stuffed the mask in the side pocket of my door. Herbie seemed happy and hopeful.


This tongue-in-cheek article is not intended to offend or ridicule anyone. All of us–the human race–are meant to work together for the common good. Perhaps while this is being accomplished, we could honor one anothers’ rights to freedom of choice. If not about the current situation, this freedom with regard to the next issue might seem important enough to share your voice. God bless.

Dare to dream (and care for one another).

With heartfelt regards,


Copyright © – 2020–R. Arthur Russell

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