Sitting in my car in the Super-Mart parking lot, doing furious calculations on how much eye contact I can survive. There’s no way I can sustain three full blasts–there’s just no way. I don’t have strong enough deflector shields. But if I can maneuver in such a way that dilutes them into glancing blows, I might survive long enough to buy socks.
It starts immediately. Another person reaches for the same mini-cart as I do and we both mutter: “Sorry, go ahead. No, you go ahead. Sorry.” Our words spin out of mouths like ninja stars, crash into each other in midair and tumbling away into nothingness and we are left in horrendous silence. The guy looks at me and my brain clenches because
e y e c o n t a c t.
His eyes are dark and deeply sad, which is fine, cool dude, me too, and he starts to talk but my brain clenches again, causing me to turn on my heel and rapidl walk away, muttering to myself that I didn’t need a cart, anyway, people were too reliant on carts. Carts depressed me. They were often left in ditches like murder victims, or shoved to the side like dangerous, insane people. Rusted and dilapidated, forgotten and abused.
My brain unclenches long enough to chastise me. Everything depresses you. Shut the fuck up.
And off we go! Walking around a hospital-clean super-market, feet squeak-squeaking against the floor that glints under the harsh fluorescent lights. They feel like surgical lights, burning against my skin as looming, masked men with grey eyes gaze down and mutter to each other in muffled voices: “Geez, this is fucked up.”
I forget what I came into this place for, and end up staring at a cardboard display for Toy Story. Buzz Lightyear watches me with the same sad, dark eyes as the guy who almost killed me over a cart, but, it’s cardboard so it doesn’t count.
I wander off, wishing I’d grabbed a cart, and wind up in the shoe section. This reminds me that I came in for socks, and I’m flooded with relief. Just get socks and get out.
A red-faced lady in a purple tank top cuts me off and blocks the aisle. She’s hitting me with +7 e y e c o n t a c t for 237% damage. She opens her mouth and blurts: “Excuse ME do you know WHERE women’s crocs are?”
For a minute I sincerely believe I’ve time traveled back to the time when I worked at Super-Mart and wore a red polo. Customers would ask questions and I’d just shrug, even if I knew the answer, until they got mad and left. I’d spend my time breaking boxes of lightbulbs so I wouldn’t have to stock them and sacrificing innocent cardboard to the bailer.
But now I’m wearing green, not red. Is she a time traveler?
The conundrum destroys my ability to speak, so I yelp: “Ah! Don’t!”
She glares at me, her face turning the same color as her tank top. Then she motors past me, head lowered, an angry dragon searching for intruders in its kingdom.
I peel off, out of control, a plane with a damaged wing, careening through aisles like a drunken idiot. There! The socks! But which ones? I can’t get the ankle socks, what if saw blades attack my ankles? It’s illogical to think having socks past my ankles will protect me, of course, but why take the risk?
The contrast of reality and a panicked thought process over something that should be so simple with this is really sweet – comical and despondent all in one. Particularly fond of “They were often left in ditches like murder victims, or shoved to the side like dangerous, insane people.” because I was today years old when I realized I relate more to a shopping cart than anything else in my life.
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