The Wrath of the Consumer

In the blink of an eye nothing happened.

In another blink of an eye, still no progress.

After about one-hundred and twenty blinks, there was hope, albeit very little, in Rebecca’s heart that the cashier would finish before the end of the universe.

The beep of the scanned items came with large gaps of silence in between, as though imitating the final heartbeats of a dying man, probably the cashier. His head sat forward and down, his chin somewhere near the middle of his sternum, his eyes focused listlessly on the objects he wished he could purchase, were he only more than a lowly cashier, making barely enough to pay his phone bill. Occasionally, his eyes would drift up, looking for any sign of friendship or even indifference, but the consumers’ faces were as angrily impassive as a troop of Stalin clones.

Rebecca decided firmly to be the one person to make a difference, to show emotion, to even get the golem-like cashier to talk.

Painfully slow, the line ground and creaked through and Rebecca came very gradually closer and closer to the cashier. Finally, the cashier’s eyes rose dispassionately to meet hers, and she smiled as hard as she could. Vampires were incinerated and blind men made blinder still by the glare of that stunning smile. Poets there would write of it, if only the could still see their pen and paper.

And the young man? He was spellbound, the spark of life in him again, and he began to talk.

In the spcae of his oration he covered everything from the Webster’s dictionary, MLB stats from 1950 to 2003, and the entire Compton’s encyclopedia.

Rebecca giggled frequently for the first hour, smiled politely for the next ten minutes, scowled at her watch for the next forty-five, and stood glaring with temples throbbing outward for the next five. Finally, when it looked as though her skull would explode outward from sheer blood pressure, she screamed (although scream is not really a dramatic enough word) into the face of the cahiser, “SHUT UP!”

Dogs were imploded and deaf men made deafer still by the sheer force of her projected rage. Boybands there would sing of it, if only they could have sung to begin with.

And the young man? He was suddenly drawn and dried up, a shell of the pure articulation he had been only moments before.

Rebecca angrily grabbed her bags of merchandise, handed him her payment, and stomped off as he reached underneath his register. She was nearing the exit when her cellphone rang. She answered, “Hello? Oh! How are you?” She was having difficulty hearing the reply, however, due to the loud gunfire-like sounds blaring behind her and so she shouted in that direction, “DO YOU MIND?!” The loud sounds stopped, the sudden silence punctuated by the thumps of what sounded like several bodies falling against the ground and the sincere spoken apology of the cashier, as he put what looked like a gun back underneath his register.

She was then able to continue her phone conversation, as the only sounds behind her were the dry rasp of what sounded like bodies being dragged across tile, and, shortly thereafter, the stead spaced chirps of the register as the cashier reconvened his listless scanning.

This entry was posted in Prose.

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