AWC Furious Fiction – November 2018
Your story must begin with a sentence containing just TWO words.
Your entire story must take place at a SUPERMARKET.
Your story must include SOMETHING BREAKING.
Word Limit: 500
Who the hell is driving this thing anyway?
Checkout section. Blaring neon lights. Generic radio advertising blasting through the PA. Polished white floor scuffed with black sole shoe skids. A pimple-faced youth in an ill-fitting uniform anxiously scurries around. An elderly woman calls for his attention and a teenage couple steal a Mars bar.
Surely, this corporation knows people are stealing. Pine-nuts go through as cashews. Mangoes as apples. Mars bars as nothing. The cost of people scamming just has to be lower than the cost to employ additional check-out staff.
Aisle four. A thousand different cereal brands. Unfathomable variety of cereal brand. When I was a boy, I ate Nutri-Grain for breakfast. I saw a dietician as an adult and she recommended I start a low FODMAP diet. She gave me a long list of foods to avoid. I saw an ayurvedic practitioner as well. She said I’m Pitta-Vata, and she gave me a longer list of foods to avoid. Included on both lists of food to avoid were: wheat, dairy, and sugar. A bowl of Nutri-Grain is comprised almost entirely of wheat, dairy and sugar. Why exactly do we give this shit to children?
A young boy rolls around on the floor screaming. It looks like his head is going to explode. He kicks his feet to spin himself in circles. His mother leans down to pick him up and he thumps her in the leg.
In the fresh produce section, a middle-aged man in tracksuit pants places apples into plastic bags before they go in his shopping cart. He selects two bags of carrots, each already in their own plastic wrapping and puts them into yet another plastic bag. I bet he’s the kind of guy that doesn’t even bring his own bag and will just buy one at the counter.
God damn it.
I’ve forgotten to bring my own bag. How embarrassing.
Come to think of it, I can’t actually remember what I came here to buy. Why am I even in this supermarket? Seriously, why am I in this supermarket. I’d never come to a place like this. I’m too goddamn cynical. I should be at an organic farmer’s market. This is totally out of character for me.
A voice crackles over the PA system. ‘You’re in the supermarket because I had to follow the prompt.’ It’s a man’s voice, sounds like he’s in his early thirties. Definitely tired, possibly drunk.
‘I don’t understand,’ I say, vaguely looking up towards the sound.
‘This entire story has to take place at a supermarket.’
‘Well then you should’ve chosen a different protagonist. You should’ve known this would just end up as one big rant if you stuck me in here. Why didn’t you focus on the mother and kid in the fourth aisle? They had an interesting dynamic. The kid could’ve easily kicked a coffee mug off the shelves and broken it.’
‘Perhaps, but I think this is better. It’s too late now anyway. I have to submit in twenty minutes.’
‘You’re the boss.’