I decided to make lentils, so there was no way to avoid shopping for them and the thousands of things one must cook along with them. On the way to the supermarket my borrowed slow cooker knocked around in my trunk. Merle, my elderly Blue Heeler mix, flinched at the sounds.
“Merle,” I asked. “Do you get the feeling we’re on a fool’s errand?” Merle is not named for a person, she is named for her color – Merle is a word like calico. Also, I did not name her. The man who named her died and should probably have had “He loved sexually harassing women and old-growth trees, in that order,” written on his tombstone.
The sun seemed to have parked itself mere yards above the supermarket parking lot. A fire was raging in some nearby hades and a thin layer of smoke blurred the outline of the distant Sierra foothills. “Be good,” I said to Merle. “I won’t be gone long.” I scrawled a note on my car insurance bill and set it in the dashboard: "She'll only be in here for a few minutes, please don’t call the 'authorities.'" The quotes were for the kind of people who live in my town, and less reflective of my own “beliefs.”