Corona at the Corner Market
Heralded by wayward tumbleweeds and a cloud of dust, a damp shadow descended upon the every town grocery, smelling like it hadn’t a care in the world. The doors automatically acknowledged the figure, which tipped his sweat-stained ballcap at the outdated security camera capturing all the action occasioned by the doors. Caught off guard by enigma, the camera short circuited and took with it the flickering fluorescent set as a familiar above its station; prompting the midday shoppers to stop and wonder at the high noon hullabaloo that cast itself upon their routines. He had no cart. He had no basket. He only shuffled through the produce aisle, inspecting all he surveyed as if the displays were meant solely for his prudential judgment; picking up every potato with his dirty mitts and haphazardly tossing each back. An incognizant, old lady went to pick a potato and the whole pile, unsteadied by the tramp, toppled about everywhere. The old lady, unsteadied by the potatoes, followed their lead to the floor. He continued down the aisle, unafflicted by the old lady’s plight, molesting the apples in the same manner he had the potatoes. A baby cried, awaking its stupefied mother from the spell of the stranger’s odd presence. “Excuse me, sir,” the mother demanded “Who do you think you are? And what do you think you are doing?” The man stiffened his back, sucked his snaggle teeth and with terrible breath replied, “Well, uh, that’d be no wonder.” He then turned and drifted right on out the doors, which automatically acknowledged his figure one last time before they closed for good.
Copyright Keli Birchfield 2020