On the road as he drove toward downtown, not one single motorist pulled out in front of the Soupster and made him slow sharply, only to have the car turn off the road a block or two later. That’s odd, thought the Soupster, as he pulled into the supermarket lot to buy Cheerios and milk.
The Soupster parked and got out of his car. Big Al Olafssen, a successful power troller, walked up to the adjacent vehicle, holding a paper bag brimming with boxes of Mrs. Smith’s fish sticks and packages of farmed, frozen, portioned Tilapia from Thailand.
“Big Al,” the Soupster sputtered, “what’s a highliner extraordinaire like you doing with processed fish from Mrs. Smith?”
“Goin’ rogue, Soupster,” Big Al said, getting into his car. Big Al pointed to his bulging paper sack. “I usually take plastic bags, too.”
Inside the store, the Soupster was surprised to see that the date on the milk carton was six weeks hence. He made eye contact with the man stocking the dairy case and the man gave the Soupster a smile that could have been described as, well, “roguish.” At the checkout, the cashier seemed normal.
But when the Soupster got downtown, which was crowded because of Double No Tax Day, the dead giveaway was the boots everyone was wearing. Blue rubber boots. Yellow rubber boots with black highlights. Exceptionally low boots. Exceptionally high boots. Boots with platform soles. Boots that looked like running shoes.
No familiar brown neoprene. No XtraTufs. Not on anybody.
Sprinkles had been falling all morning, but the afternoon was proving correct the National Weather Service’s forecast of “frequent, malingering showers.“ To the Soupster’s amazement, at least four people within his sight unfurled umbrellas. Umbrellas?
To add to that, others – those without umbrellas — scurried for cover as the rain got harder. One couple ran across the street toward an awning, holding hands. They stamped in the puddles in their non-XtraTufs. He held a folded newspaper on his head to keep back the rain and she wore a cheap, clear plastic rain bonnet. It was Sanjay and Bridget Khan, who had been previously voicing very loud complaints about each other.
“Wha…?” was all the Soupster could get out as the Khans danced down the street like newlyweds.
“We’re goin’ rogue,” Bridget yelled over her shoulder.
Goin’ rogue? The Soupster stood in the rain, perplexed. Where was this phrase emanating from? Why was everybody “goin’ rogue”?
The Soupster saw another man approaching from the west. It was Angelo Gallo, who let the rain fall on his shoulders and bare head without flinching. He seemed to be wearing normal black shoes. But when Gallo got closer, the Soupster saw they were expensive dress shoes, the type with the little holes in front called “wing tips.”
“Angelo, what’s going on around here?” asked the Soupster. “Why is everyone `goin’ rogue’?”
“Faith and Begorrah, Soupster,” said a suddenly anguished Angelo in a thick Dublin accent. “I thought we were all goin’ brogue!”
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