Had to go to Wal-Mart to pick up carpet cleaner, a youngling had pissed on the floor and I did a half ass job cleaning it up apparently, so every time I walked up stairs I got a wiff of it. As I entered the megastore I got the first hit of whatever post-holiday dope they’re pumping through the furnace vents and by the time I had my cart, I could feel its effects running up my spine and infiltrating my cerebral cortex.
I walked through the isles, unable to stop observing my fellow shoppers. Their resonances (the term of the week) stood out to me like neon drugstore signs. Depression. Avarice. Apathy. Homicidal rage. An ugly old woman, with leathery skin, like she’d been dipped in a vat of Camel Light juice spoke loudly on the phone. “That’s the thing Mandy, there’s always gonna be people fucking with you at work. No matter where you go, there will be someone who doesn’t like you.” Her eyes rolled in her head like a cartoon slot machine. The characters were made up of dice, the skull and bones poison symbol, and a cocktail waitress with her dress hiked up.
I staggered my way to the pisser. I’d been chugging coffee to fight a headache and so the cart blocking the men’s room door was ignored. I stood there handling my business, taking deep lung fulls of whatever they were pumping into the place. In a haze I looked back to the cart blocking the door and there was the crunchy, hair sprayed back of a woman’s head. She was grunting, frustrated by some disgusting mess left in the waste basket. I ignored and kept on with my business. It seemed like it took forever and when I looked back again, she was staring at me. I stared back and kept at it, the dope had done away with any inhibitions. She stared at me longingly as she kept trying to scrap the shit off the bottom of the white basket.
She followed me through the store for the rest of my shopping. A veil had lifted and now all the mechanisms of commercial manipulation stood out to me. The consumers we’re on a conveyor belt, and the machines forced things unwilling into their carts. A mother and daughter, kept filling and unloading their cart with 1$/lb turkeys, left over from the holidays. A man sat Buddha style on the floor with his shirt off, a can of gasoline next to him, vaping.
I got my items, carpet cleaner, paper towels, chicken, beef, salad. Whatever the machines told me to get. The cashiers face rolled, and swirled, and metals loops jumped from her lips, to her nose, to her ears, back to her lips. She invited me to an orgy in the break room, said I could put smiley stickers on her nipples while we did it, I declined, the way the cleaning lady was looking at me and licking her cracked lips was freaking me out. I smiled, said thanks, but no thanks and collected my bags.
There was a shirtless Pygmy checking my tires as I loaded up. But as the freezing air started clearing out my lungs, he began to shimmer like a mirage, and blinked out of existence with a wink.