I did not want to drive to Ghetto Smith’s. Sometimes that place is okay, but there is always the chance I will run into someone I know. Without a clean scramble suit to put on for show, that thought made me itchy all over.
Walmart is closer, at the end of a street that's mostly houses—except for the intersection, where there was a wreck. A broken telephone pole was left behind afterward; two weeks later, it's still there. One time I saw a dead dog on the median nearby, but it was gone after a few minutes.
It's still a veritable oasis where I live. One of the houses has a grip of datura plants coming up in their compost pile. There is still some grass here and there, but mostly folks let the lawns wither. For ground cover there is a lot of London rocket weed this time of year, if you don’t like lava rocks.
Most afternoons and evenings, seven out of 10 houses depicted in this narrative setting are playing the teevee. Even over in my two-person people’s republic, things won’t go dark until the yearly beisbol ritual is completed in October.
I still could not find anything decent to soak up today, tube-wise. I needed a package of black, plastic garbage bags to keep up my end of the social contract. I made a deal with my personal gasoline-powered shuttlecraft and roared off toward the blue behemoth. The Radiohead EP my wife left in the player began where it left off. Something, something about white teeth.
I rolled into the parking lot just as Thom Yorke started going on about selling your suit and tie. I’ll be damned about the next part, but some lanky dude the size of Texas came bolting out of the store at the same time; it was a close one. He gave me a stare, and his blue eyes were practically throbbing out of orbit as he bounded over the hood.
The guy kept running and running. I parked the car. Inside were seedless watermelons, loaves of angel food cake and enough toilet paper to save an army. Plus the garbage bags were on sale. On the way back, I turned the volume down to practically nothing at all. I listened to the engine and scoured the road for signs of home.