6-pack abs

21 Dec

Nothing works on all cylinders and everything is weird and most everyone is bored and counting down the years, leaning on an elbow, a counter, someone else’s shoulder, the dole.
I walked into the supermarket at eight forty-five in the morning looking for something to drink. The monstrous warehouse was empty. There was no one. Just a heavy, muted sound of forced air. A blanket. Machines. Compressors.
Something to drink.
In the cold aisle with racks and racks of cheap wine.
Sunny and thirty-three and calling for a fast-moving snowstorm sweeping in from the south, through the south, slicing the south.
No one in here.
Three ninety-nine for a six of Pabst Blue Ribbon. Nine ninety-nine for a liter and a half of red wine.
I pulled out the beer.
I brought it to the check out. A bored, teenage girl with horrible skin asked me for something then started punching buttons on the keypad of the register. Next to her, at the end of the little conveyor belt by the thick stacks of bags, stood a young man with a rubber face. He contorted it grotesquely and made guttural noises. Blew air forcefully out his nose. A dry line of mucus had lodged itself at the corner of his nostril.
He yelled: PLASTIC?
I said: No. No bag.
PLASTIC?
No bag, thank you. I’ll just carry them.
OKAY!
I paid with three bills and a fistful of coins.
PLASTIC?
He said no bag. The girl rolled her eyes.
OKAY!
I took the beer and walked around the young man. He started singing his ABCs off key and smiled. The girl went back to her position: leaning on an elbow, bored, with her back to the singing man. She had awful skin and picked at something that began to bleed.
The sound of forced air swelled and enveloped the strange, mundane scene.
There was a storm coming, but no one was buying milk.
Eggs.
Bread.
I had booze.

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One Response to “6-pack abs”

  1. valerie 21/12/2009 at 3:30 PM #

    lucky you in an empty store.

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