Jeffrey Dobbins

Verve - Reality and Other Myths

Jeffrey Dobbins stood in the aisle of the supermarket and watched the woman shake her three-year-old son, and then listened as she threatened him with the strap if he didn't stop asking for things. Jeffrey's first reaction was to flee and after he got that under control he wanted to go up to the woman and shake her.

"Why do you torture him by wheeling the carriage through the cookie and candy aisle?" He wanted to shout. "Take him down frozen foods or paper goods — but for God's sake lady — what can you expect from a three year old in the candy and cookie aisle?"

She would tell Jeffrey Dobbins to mind his own business and then when he wasn't looking she would smack the kid. "See what you caused?" She would say through clenched teeth, and the kid would begin to cry because he didn't know why his mother was punishing him and hurting him. Then when he was crying the mother would shake him and threaten him with more punishment if he didn't stop crying.

And Jeffrey Dobbins knew full well that if he took the good guy approach with this lady she would only tell him to get lost. "Why don't you just beat it and mind your own business?" the lady would say. She was that type and he knew just what to expect. Jeffrey Dobbins had had run-ins with her kind before.

He tossed a box of Mallomars in his carry basket, opened them and began nibbling as he walked. He was thinking of the kid as he turned down the ethnic foods aisle and was run into by a woman pushing a full cart who was not looking where she was going. Jeffrey Dobbins, not hurt, let out a yell and jumped back in fear. The woman grimaced at him silently. Then he saw the kid sitting quietly alone in the cart and that bitch of a mother at the other end of the aisle by the Mancini Roasted Peppers. Jeffrey Dobbins handed the little boy a Mallomar as he walked by. He kept going and passed the mother as she was heading back towards the cart. At the end of the aisle he turned and watched her slap the Mallomar out of the kid's hand and then made him spit out the bite that was in his mouth and the kid started crying again.

The boy was still sitting in the grocery cart out in the parking lot as his mother was loading the bags of groceries into the back seat. Jeffrey Dobbins hitched his pants, shot his cuffs, spit an oyster onto the wheel cover of a Mercedes 560 SEL and walked over to the lady. He pulled out his wallet and flashed an identification card.

"I'm an agent of the Child Harassment and Abuse Center of the Federal Government," he said. "I'd like to talk to you about the way you treated your little boy in the supermarket, M’am."

"Mind your own g.d. business," the lady told him.

Jeffrey Dobbins quickly flashed his ID again and said, "It is my business. I'm paid to watch out for the rights of children — to stop child abuse in its tracks."

"Beat it," she said angrily, "or I'll call the cops. I'm no child abuser and you have no call to say I am."

"You are making it very difficult for yourself,” Jeffrey Dobbins told her as he pulled out a rainbow pad and a ballpoint pen. "This calls for a summons, M’am." He spoke as he wrote on the pink sheets, "The first one is for shaking the kid, the second is for threatening the kid, the third is for slapping the Mallomar out his hand, the fourth is for leaving the kid unattended in the ethnic foods aisle, and the fifth is for abusive language to a federal official."

"I'm making all of these warnings," Jeffrey told her. "Pink is for warnings." He handed her the scribbled sheets of rainbow pad -- "But next time I'll use the yellow and yellow is a fine not a warning. Yellows are fifty dollar each."

The lady glared at him and got into her car with the kid without saying another word.

"Don't make me write you up for not buckling the kid in, M’am."

Silently She buckled them both in and. With her neck muscles straining, she drove off.

Jeffrey Dobbins hitched his pants, shot his cuffs again, and put his rainbow pad into his pocket. He picked up his grocery bag and walked over towards the supermarket. Out in front was the mini-van that had brought Jeffrey and his housemates shopping. His friends were waiting for him. He hefted his grocery bag, thumb-upped the driver and got into the van where he proceeded to swap stories with the others about their shopping adventures.


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