I went shopping at everybody’s favorite ‘big box’ store last night.
I’m so silly sometimes.
I was stuck on which way to go with the pivot point in my new novel, and thought a short break was in order…to clear my head.
I can already hear the sniggering. Just wait for the jokes, okay?
At any rate, I walked into the store at about 3:15 in the morning, figuring I could stroll around as long as I liked and not have to deal with other customers OR employees.
It seems there’s a whole different world that reveals itself after three AM.
I had no idea about this.
I strolled down the cheese and packaged cold cut aisle and happened upon a young fellow engaged in a deep conversation with a slice of Muenster. Once he noticed me, he gave the cheese some sort of secret handshake and slipped it back into its package of origin, no longer looking much like a piece of cheese…at least one that anyone would want to eat…or look at too long.
“Good evening, Madam! May I help you find anything?” a horrifically chirpy little associate shrieked in my ear, after sneaking up behind me.
“Uh, unless you can tell me exactly how William is going to react when he hears that his child was born with no feet and two heads, then no. The answer to that question is about the only thing I can’t find at the moment.”
She smiled a vacuous smile that had been streamlined down to two teeth. I put down the candy bar in my hand. “Well, have a nice day!” she bellowed over her shoulder as she walked away.
Next, an entire family came my way. Father, mother, teenage daughter, and three little ones under the age of seven.
Keep in mind that the time is now 3:32 AM.
What in HELL are these children doing out of bed? Or for that matter, the whole family? And why, oh why, if they were going to leave the house, did they NOT change out of their pajamas? I had heard of this phenomenon in Arizona, but this was the first time I’d actually seen it.
As a result, I’ve decided that people should have a set of ‘strictly at home’ pajamas and a set of ‘on the town’ pajamas, if you will.
The ‘strictly at home’ pajamas were what these amazing morons were wearing in the store. The husband wore a floor length dirty nightshirt that, I think, was white once…probably during the Mesozoic Era. The wife wore skimpy lingerie that didn’t leave much to the imagination—especially if your imagination moves in horror movie circles. Anyone who loses weight is to be commended, true, but when you lose it too rapidly and your body is adorned with sagging rolls of loose skin that look as if they require a forklift to move, sheer fuchsia trimmed in black marabou with ‘What you see is what you get’ emblazoned across the ass is, perhaps, not the best fashion choice.
The teenager was dressed in what looked like a black shroud. She was so emaciated that if she stood sideways and stuck out her tongue, she’d be mistaken for a zipper. She clutched a book of poetry by Sylvia Plath. As she walked past me, I could smell traces of a gas stove.
“Excuse me,” she said. “Do you know where they keep the Nightshade?”
“Leaves or fruit?” I asked.
“Well, the tomatoes are right over there.”
“The leaves, then.”
“Check at the garden center.”
But lest I forget to mention the three tots…they were all wearing matching nightwear—Dr. Dentons—or what we used to call ‘feetie pajamas.’ The onesies are really cute on little kids, normally, but these had ‘Walking Dead’ graphics all over them.
I beat a hasty retreat before coffin girl came back for further poison advice.
I hid out over in cosmetics for a while, but when I saw them headed my way, I slipped into the frozen food section.
There was miles of it. I never knew there were so many frozen products. I mean, when I was a kid, the Swanson frozen dinners were a brand new thing, and a real novelty. I picked up one that contained a Salisbury steak with corn and mashed potatoes, just for old time’s sake, but put it back after reading that it could only be consumed in a broken down trailer with a rusted out car in the front yard and a disconnected toilet on the porch.
You can now even get frozen food from the famous restaurants whose food you hated when it was fresh. And frozen pizzas that are covered, I believe in my heart, with possum and cheese whiz.
There’s been big changes in ice cream flavors, too, let me tell you! Good luck finding plain old vanilla, chocolate, or strawberry. The ice cream companies are going to what should be considered unlawful extremes, trying to top each other with the next big thing. Now it’s Vanilla Fudge Crankcase Oil Sherbet. Or Choco Sardine Hazelnut. Or would Batshit Crazy Strawberry be more to your liking? In it you will find: 500 mg of antipsychotics, strawberries, broken glass, and artificial cream—for those whack jobs who are lactose intolerant.
The frozen seafood is interesting, too—which is where I ran to escape the ice cream. But somehow, frozen Manta ray eyes or chopped whale butt didn’t exactly whet the appetite.
But I found the answer to my pivot point problem in the story I was writing. I decided to send William to this store a few times to shop. That way, when his footless, two-headed child is born, it won’t be such a trauma.