Ever since I’ve started working part-time at my real job and full-time at home, I’ve been doing some of the more domestic chores myself, since my wife now works more hours away from home, thereby having less time to wait on me hand and foot. Not only is this lack of service annoying, but it’s turned out to be scary, since I have little experience in truly “domestic” ventures. Read and see...
From the moment I walked through the doors, I could feel the atmosphere change. The regulars of this establishment had a unique ability to smell fear and, although I tried hard to disguise my nervousness, it was plain to anyone that I was out of my element. No one spoke to me as I took a few steps farther inside and then stopped, glancing around in an attempt to regain my composure and plan my next move.
I looked forward again just in time to see a large, metal beast bearing down upon me, its latticed maw eager to dine upon my flesh. Exhibiting the agility of a gazelle, I leaped to one side, narrowly escaping a thorough trampling, and watched the monster trundle past. The beast’s master, who apparently guided his charge using a primitive, rear-attached steering mechanism, turned and fixed me with a disgusted stare.
“Outta the way, ya big bum!”
I whimpered and scooted back into a darkened recess of the wall, intending to gather my wits and possibly flee for my life. My eyes slowly adjusted to the dimness and I realized, panic welling in my throat, that I was surrounded by the metal beasts! Hundreds of them, all lined up neatly, no doubt awaiting a command to charge and eat me.
After a second or two, however, it became clear that the monsters, as hideous as they appeared, were harmless without someone at the helm and none of these were so occupied. Perhaps this little recess was the monsters’ sleeping cave or maybe they were in for repair. Either way, it was obvious they posed no threat to me, so I turned my attention back to the bustling world outside my haven.
There were many more beasts out there, most of which being guided along by their masters. I would have thought that being given the ownership of a dangerous creature would require membership in an elite club, but the owners I saw fit no set description. Some were young, old, large, small, male, and female. I even saw a child pushing one, probably a trainee, as she kept running into things and incurring the wrath of her instructor.
I couldn’t much blame the child’s poor driving skills. This would, after all, be an extremely difficult area in which to train in the use of monster-guiding. Obstacles of varying sizes dotted the area, while the more experienced users pushed their monsters to the limit, darting in and out of obstacles, tearing around blind corners...it was a miracle I hadn’t yet witnessed a fatality.
By now, I had gathered most of my mental faculties and was dismayed at the tiny pile they made. But no matter! I was here on a mission and I would mission my mission or my name isn’t...I’ll get back to you on that.
Reaching into my pocket, I withdrew the secret papers that outlined the objectives for the mission. It was a long list, full of things I recognized, although I had never known they came from a place as dangerous and scary as this. I read part of the list: corn, lunch meat, cheese, eggs, bread, Sasquatch tenderloin... The list went on for pages. There was no way I’d be able to carry all these items out to my car. I’d need a basket or, better yet, a dump truck.
Another beast rumbled past and for the first time I noticed it had a transparent stomach. As unbelievable and disgusting as this may seem, it was true. There, in the innards of the monster, I could make out various objects. A whole head of lettuce, a bag of apples, doughnuts...many of the items I was here to pick up myself! It was then that my pile of mental faculty shavings, stirred by a small breeze of inspiration, suggested an idea to me. Perhaps the monsters weren’t so terrible after all. What if they were provided, hopefully free of charge, as a method of transporting one’s objectives?
With this thought in mind, I tugged one of the metal beasts out of the darkened recess where I’d been hiding and was pleased when it didn’t bite or snap at me. It was, in fact, a rather quiet and pleasant monster, except for the insistent squeak made by one of its oval, rotating legs as I propelled it along and the fact that it had a tendency to pull suddenly to one side, throwing me into the path of an oncoming threat. Obviously, I had chosen a young monster, one still languishing in the immaturity of youth.
I began wandering around the premises, searching for the objectives on my list. Oh, the joy I felt when at last I would successfully seek out an item and feed it to the monster. I soon learned, by rudely listening in on the conversations of others, that the monsters were actually called “shopping carts” and they were, in fact, generally harmless.
The beasts’ masters, however, were less genial and turned out to be the worst part of the venture. They were loud, impatient, stinky, and stupid. Parking their monsters in the middle of an area I soon learned to call an “aisle,” they would wander to and fro, apparently unaware I was attempting to get through. Even when I would politely say, “Move it, swine,” they would ignore me and continue wandering.
...to be continued at my leisure.