Walmart’s perpetual carnival of souls reveals my inner demons once again.

My lady craves meat. So I go to the Walmart nearby to purchase some of their finest beef. I feel bad giving them my business. But I feel bad all the time so I might as well shop.

There’s a gal there with a high squeaky voice to match her low squeaky frame. She’s probably 4 foot six, and her voice greets you every time you enter, so to speak. Her enthusiasm vexes me. Mocks me. There’s no escape. She’s nice enough, but today, after I nod a grumpy rejoinder to her robotic salutation, we could swear she disappeared into thin air. We looked around but she was gone. Son One wondered aloud if she may have taken that moment to return to the North Pole. I didn’t get it. Terrible.

I do the do and find what seems to be the shortest line. Sadly, size of line is no accurate indicator of SPEED of line. Had I taken a glance up and out of my sullen funk, I would have seen the “4” attendant to that line’s designation  blinking as the carnival of souls before me powerlessly waited for a manager, any manager, to bring the secret key. The longer lines on either side of us trundled along nicely, as if on those moving sidewalks at an airport, while we stood impotently watching their progress, ill-gotten.  There was, I imagine, a good time to call it a day, to consider our investment in time lost, to make the switch to one of the lines we found ourselves annoyingly betwixt. I did the calculus and decided to not give up. To stick it out.

Soon the manager turns the key and we snap back into motion. My attention wandered to Son Two idly rearranging the feng shui of the gum rack. The girl behind me is pretty. I thought she had that rode hard, hung up wet look one might find at Hillsborough’s own Esquire Health Club and immediately I decided I would resist my compulsion to get the person behind me to join me in a group eye-roll. No. No. No. Eyes straight ahead. I can do this.

The nonagenarian ahead of me snuck away, but I didn’t notice. Walmart’s cash register kiosks don’t have that moving belt to usher your groceries along. It’d be neat if they were like those moving sidewalks at an airport. So the gap between my groceries and the register was too wide for her bingo arms to blancmange.

The gal behind me:

“Hey, Sir, the register lady needs you to move your stuff up so she can scan it.”

“Oh, sorry. I wasn’t paying attention.”

Pause of three seconds.

“Because I didn’t want to touch your stuff…”

Don’t do it. Doooooooon’t you do it.

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