by Greg Carter
A bespectacled bag boy nervously folding a piece of paper and shoving it into a back pocket normally doesn't catch my attention. But it's what he did afterward, as what I would assume to be his manager waddled quickly down the bread aisle toward him, red-faced and screeching, index finger pointing accusingly. The bag boy reached for a loaf of Wonder Bread and hurled it at the man, hitting him squarely in the nose. He grabbed another loaf, another, another, nailing his target each time with deadly accuracy.
"Stansen!" the besieged manager screamed, slowly edging forward and raising his arms as a shield.
The bag boy opened a package of bagels and frisbeed them at the manager's stomach and legs. "Ugh!" Even I cringed as that one egg bagel struck its target in the groin. The manager fell to his knees, hands cupped around his privates, but the bag boy continued his bread barrage swamping the fallen enemy with loaf after loaf. "Please…stop…." a muffled voice pleaded.
He finally stopped, dropping the last loaf at his feet. His shoulders hunched up and down as he swallowed the air. He removed his glasses, wiped what I believed were tears from his eyes, reached into his back pocket to fetch the paper. He opened and stared at it for a few moments. "How could you?" A woman who had been watching from the produce section visibly shivered at the anger used to say those words. The bag boy crumpled the paper into a ball, tossed it onto the bread
pile. The automatic doors swished open, shut as he ran into the parking lot.
The manager smoothed the paper and began reading, his lips moving silently along with the words. His eyes widened, he covered his mouth. He slowly pushed the loaves away and unsteadily stood, staggered to the back of the store, still staring at the paper.
Like everyone else who had been staring, I quickly returned to what I was doing, placing my groceries on the conveyor at the cashier's. She scanned the items, and as I reached back to find my wallet, a defeated voice spoke through the intercom: "Clean up on Aisle 3."
Greg is a recent transplant to Long Beach, CA, He's an avid reader, movie- and theater-goer, and music lover. When he grows up, he wants to be a professional writer. No, really.
Editor's note: This work of fiction has been previously posted on Greg's blog: http://mrgregoc.blogspot.com.