Supermarket Shuffle


The constant beep of the scanner did nothing to help Nathan’s headache. It was a constant reminder how long he had been waiting in line and the longer it droned on, the more he felt that the entire world was mocking him.

A downward spiral would be an understatement of Nathan‘s life recently. Recently he had been laid off work, his car had over a thousand dollars in damage, his sorry excuse of a roommate was late on their share of the rent again, and to top it off his goldfish had died just this morning. And now this line.

Only one lane open on a Friday afternoon, a supermarket conspiracy if he ever saw one.

Nathan groaned and fidgeted in line. Three other people separated him from the old lady currently checking out, fumbling ever so slowly in her purse for a coupon.

“Five cents off the tuna,” she kidded with the cashier, her voice the speed of a turtle running through peanut butter.

The cashier moved clumsily as he handed her the receipt and gave a nervous “ha,” at her pointless small talk. It was all this kid could do to wake up every day and fight the awkwardness and social deformity that came with being a pockmarked adolescence. Surely he didn’t give a damn about the tuna. But did the old lady care? NO! She was just so lonely and desperate for human interaction that she wasn’t bothered by the fact that she was inconveniencing everyone else.

Nathan knew the others in line felt the same way. All of them had their fingers crossed that she’d crawl back to her dark, empty apartment and die. That way there could never be the slightest chance that she could pull anything like this ever again.

What the hell was he thinking? The inferno of his fury was mixing with the bottomless pit that was his hopelessness.

Desperation was overtaking him. He thought he might cry. He held a can of sauce and some angel hair pasta. All he wanted was some dinner. Was that so much to ask?

He silently cursed the others in front of him, their carts all stuffed to the brim with mountains of food. They were doing this to him on purpose he thought! The bastards.

Just when Nathan was about to fall down and weep, a miracle appeared. The light of the next lane over, Number Two, lit up. The golden beacon had appeared that would guide Nathan from his stay in Hell. It was as if the gates of heaven had opened and Nathan was sure he heard angels sing. He moved over, beating the guy in front of him who had also noticed the divine grace of a higher power.

He was just a couple feet from the conveyor belt when a shopping cart entered his path.

Nathan turned to the pusher of the devil cart and was about to unleash his rage on whomever it was.

It was a woman; beauty ran rampant over her delicate face and the bodacious body she had on full display in a tight black dress. “Oh, I’m so sorry, you go on ahead.” Her voice was sweet and tickled Nathan’s ears. She gave him an innocent smile as she twirled a tress of her brunette hair.

Nathan blushed. “Not at all,” he said in a voice a few levels deeper than normal. “Ladies first.”

She flipped her hair as she brushed past Nathan and started putting her things on the conveyor belt. He noted that she smelt vaguely of lavender. A most sensual aroma he thought, as his mind conjured fantasies much more enticing than old women dying.

Nathan waited anxiously hoping to catch her eye again.

Evidently his luck had disappeared as quickly as it came. His eye twitched as the woman opened her purse and stated to the cashier, “I know I have a coupon in here somewhere.”


Kane McCaslin

I’m twenty and live in Scottsdale, Arizona at the moment. Academically I am pursuing Creative Writing, English, and various Science fields. My hobbies include most things athletic, especially basketball and baseball, reading, and writing. Although, these days it’s mostly typing I suppose.