The Twenty-Four Hour Grocery Store, Part I
Ron Bowman got fired from the twenty-four hour grocery store for no-call-no-shows after his girlfriend had him arrested for trying to kill her with his Tupac chain. In a meeting with both produce managers, he’d been accused of carving swastikas into the card table in the smoking break room, though the smokers defended him vehemently, though Joe Fischer took full credit for it the night he quit, running off through the dimly lit parking lot with two cans of soup and a bottle of champagne. Later Ron and Joe smoked cigarillos with Matt from bottles beneath the black lights in their living room, Matt’s fingers still ripe with Diet Coke and Sprite and 42 varieties of beer. When Matt turned up dead in his grandmother’s doorway, Ron and Joe were miles away, passed out with their heads on each other’s shoulders, having signed a secret pact between them to never let a bitch get them down.
The Twenty-Four Hour Grocery Store, Part II
Maura was the manager on duty the night Bill got caught drinking and driving in the Coke van. We were sitting in her office, drawing pictures with the highlighters she kept in her top desk drawer while the Pepsi guys sat on the empty pallets in the drop trailer watching porn on their cell phones. Around eleven o'clock Bill came storming up action alley, took a 2 liter of Vault and threw it so hard against the floor that it bounced over the cereal racks and into the next aisle. The boys went with him to the parking lot where they all lit up cigarettes and spent a long time not making eye contact. Maura called for a floor machine from behind the locked door, seated beside me scratching at the incisions she'd made on her forearms during lunch.
The Twenty-Four Hour Grocery Store, Part III
His wife found out the week before Christmas, and so he dragged both of his daughters through the twenty-four hour grocery store in search of the cashier who was causing all of his problems, each little girl with a tiny hand wrapped around one of his index fingers, the bells their mother had tied to their snow boots a flurry of quiet jingling as they hurried down the soda aisle like late entrants in a three-legged race. In the front yard that night the cops told the grown-ups to scatter, but the cashier was sure she was the only one who’d listened. For months she'd find herself pulling up next to the payphone outside the Speedy Q off the highway, dialing their number and listening intently to the chatter in the background before someone hung up.
If We Toast to the New World,
We should toast to all its possibilities,
to Srmad in the shop on the corner,
his window full of knock-off Nikes
and single cigarettes.
This morning when we went to get the paper,
two men were climbing out my neighbor’s window
with her television in their arms.
You can’t blame the factory for that,
like you can’t blame the Generals
for giving up in the playoffs
when the stands were empty
and their paychecks had been bouncing for months.
© Copyright 2014 Sarah Carson