An insidious organized crime family has taken over street corners across the country. Its members strike fear into the heart of this columnist. They are a scourge. They are ruthless. They are 5 feet tall.
I'm talking, of course, about the Girl Scouts of America and their nefarious cookie racket. The Tiny Hand (mafia joke).
The following are excerpts from actual tirades. In order to stay in line with my take on reality, they are mostly fictional. The resigned bemusement of my girlfriend is real. Yes, I have a problem with cute 8-year-olds.
"There they are, the little bastards," I grumbled as I drove north on Colorado Boulevard toward brunch.
"Who?" my girlfriend asked.
"Who do you think? Girl Scouts. They set up in front of stores, and you can't get inside."
"Oh my god, you are so grumpy!"
"You know, I got threatened by one once."
"Uh-huh," she said, retreating into her Snapchat.
"Yeah, I was walking into a Wal-Mart in Alamogordo and a Girl Scout asked me if I wanted to buy a box."
"So I said, 'No, I'm here to buy groceries.' She said, 'Gee, it seems like it would be hard to shop with a broke arm.'"
"That didn't happen, John."
"I swear to god."
"Hand to Jesus?"
"Fine. Don't believe me."
We parked on a side street and walked to our trendy brunch location on Colfax Avenue. There was quite a wait, so we took our seats on a bench in front of the restaurant. Within minutes, two more smock-clad foot soldiers set up a card table and started slinging boxes of cookies. We briefly discussed the ethics of a Girl Scout troop setting up shop in front of a marijuana dispensary.
"It's just, like, why can't they go door to door like when I was a kid?" I asked no one in particular.
"Because you were a kid in the 1940s, haha," my girlfriend replied. She is 13 years my junior, so old jokes please her immensely.
"Haha. You still didn't answer me."
"Because there are serial killers, and kids can't go door to door anymore."
"Ugh, the world is going to hell. Still. They bug me."
"You are such a grouch."
I muttered something unintelligible. I crossed my arms across my chest. I glanced over at the card table. My eyes narrowed.
"I'll be right back," I said, walking to the table.
"Yes, sir," a sandy-haired girl of about 9 said.
"Yeah, give me a box of Samoas, please."
"That will be $4."
I produced my wallet and handed her a 10-dollar bill. She put the bill into a shoebox and started to make change. She paused, looked up at me.
"You sure you don't want two boxes," she asked.
"No, just the one box will be fine."
She handed me my $6 in change. I smiled. That's how they get you.