From the mind of a mild mannered maniac

Accomplished Cart

 I asked a frlend to give me a random adjective and a noun, from which I could, then, attempt to generate a blog entry. I have a, sneaking, suspicion she may have been updating her resume at the same time 😉

Btw, this could possibly be the weirdest, zaniest, most convuluted story I’ve ever concocted.

…well anyway, here goes nothing..

Accomplished Cart

The shopping cart was rickety, ramshackle and exceedingly rusty. It was, by all appearances a decidedly derelict device, indeed.

 It hadn’t always been thus. Not so many, years before, A richly chromed frame, and sturdy steel chasse, had gleemed and glistened like a prescious gem, in the summer sun, its pristine wheels, their lushly appointed treads gliding smoothly, effortlessly even, as it coasted up and down the aisles, in Thompson’s Dry Goods. Those had, truly, been halcian days. Thompsons carts, had always been very well cared for.   they were were housed, while not in use, in  deluxe enclosures, located at strategic points around the parking lot.Thorough maintenance, and expert repairs were the watchword of the day. Customers praised such stalward dependability and seemed to appreciate the impressive storage capacity and lavish amenities. The fold down infant’s compartment with built-in safety belt, the under carriage space for plus-Sized items, and the,oh so, convieniently situated cupholder.

 Then Thompson’s were taken over by Lo-Cost Foods. Things changed drastically and, certainly, not for the better. Gone were the buggy wranglers who had so dilligently, And lovingly coralled the carts. Gone too were the maintenance checks, and then, and perhaps worst of all, the deluxe enclosures were torn down to make room for extra parking!

 Customers voiced their abject displeasure, in not so subtle ways. The local paper even posted several scathing columns on the subject, but all to no avail. The store’s new assistant manager, who’s cost saving idea it had been, was hellbent on impressing his corporate masters. He failed to see, the flaw in his, seemingly, fool-proof ,solution. All complaints fell, firmly, on his stubborn, unrelentingly, deaf ears.

At first the, bold, little buggy, managed to retain it’s gleaming exterior, and cheery disposition. The rain could not penetrate his tough shell, and so, it slicked harmlessly off of his lustrous chrome.

 He was often abandoned, for days on end, confined to the harsh, unforgiving, back lot. He was rammed, knocked over, bludgeoned and pulverized by mindless, menacing motorists. Worst of all though, was the bullying and ruthless beatings, at the hands of, bored adolescents. They who punished him, with reckiess abandon, on cut-throat joyrides down, deadly, Dremel hill. 

Dents and scratches quickly made way for cancerous oxidation, and spidery cracks that fouled up, his wheel treads. Perhaps the worst, though, was an incessant, nauseating squeak that began its ceaseless eminations from, badly, corroded bearings. Then came the fatal day, when he could no longer serve a useful purpose. There he lay, by the side of the road, a pile of useless corroded junk,tossed away like yesterdays news.

some few months later, Old Jim happened along. He’d lived on the streets for as long as anyone could remember, a man of few words, but an inner calmness and a quiet wisdom, said it all. Jim’s existence, though meagre,  seemed to suit him. On the rare occasion that he actually chose to speak to people,  he referred to himself as an Urban Outdoorsman.  He might be of “No fixed address” but he was a permanent and accepted part of the neighbourhood or authorities, The most important thing to understand though, dear reader, is that, Old Jim  always had his ear to the ground.

Whilst out for his daily constitutional,  a perpetual quest for, discarded “treasure”,  He spied the cart, upturned in a road-side ditch. It looked sturdy and usable, but it had, clearly, seen better days. With a carefull glance to left and right,  seemingly not keen on alerting the powers that be, he sprang spryly into action.A cursory tug was ineffective. The cart was rooted to the spot by encompassing brambles and sundry other varieties of stubborn overgrowth that wouldn’t release their prize, without a Proper fight.

Jim grinned and shrugged, as if to say, “This was all part of the fun” and when he moved, then, it was with the vim and vigor of a man, at least, half his age. The fallen trolley was, soon, liberated from its fetted encampment.  He. dragged it out of the smelly trench, and turned it upright. 

Despite, repeated, attempts to free them, the gummed-up wheels, patently, refused to turn

He must have been sorely tempted to “throw in the towel” and move on. After all, it was only a cart. The trek home was of necessity, a slow and exceedingly laborous, one, but with much pushing, pulling, dragging coercing, he finally arrived at his tarpauline draped,  hideout,.beneath  The East King Street Bridge.

 Perhaps he’d been a craftman, long ago, or maybe he’d come by his abilities out or sheer necessity, but either way, he was great at fixing things, and got tremendous pleasure out of repurposing other people’s junk.

 Little more than a week, or so, after fishing it from the mud,  there emerged, from under the faded blue tarp, a, thoroughly, respectable looking shopping buggy. He’d, lovingly, cleaned it bit by, painstaking, bit, then he’d greased the squeaky wheels, banged out the biggest dents, and buffed up the metal to a fair sheen.

Now,  I don’t want to dupe you into believing.that the poor old cart was restored to, even a fraction of, its former glory, that is the stuff of fairy tales, but it looked much better than it had done, in a very long time.

For several weeks, thereafter, man and cart traveled together, happy companions on sojourns far and wide. They were running errands, and gathering, what to untrained eyes, would have looked, remarkably, like junk, but that would soon, by Jim’s gifted hands, become useful treasures.

 Jim,  debated whether to return the shopping cart to it’s owners at  Low-cost Foods. Was it really up to him to tell them how they should treat their own property? No, but…

Then he had an idea.

A few weeks later at, nearly, Six O’clock in the morning, Ted Willis,  Assistant manager of Low-Cost foods, stood in The parking lot scratching his head. Today marked the beginning of his biggest case lot sale of the year.  He scanned the horizon. No, his eyes weren’t decieving him. There wasn’t a single, solitary, shopping cart to be seen. How was that even possible?

He stared, for the umpteenth time, at the odd looking ransom note, then. Back at the, frighteningly, thick wad of petion sheets. The messenger, an elderly man, sporting hobo rags and outrageously untamed whiskers, had introduced himself only as “Jim. The guy had impressed upon him, vehemently, that  this petition and, an accompanying, boycott threat were, indeed,  very real. 

Despite his, very odd appearance, the old man had seemed, if not imposing, at the very least, strangely, authoritarian.Was this for real though? Should Ted be looking for hidden cameras?

Did anyone, really, care, this, much, about grocery carts? Seriously?

 That Jim guy, had threatened to go over his head if the demands weren’t met though. He seemed to have meant it, too. That was, decidedly,  not cool! 

Lot boys? Covered enclosures? Regular repair & maintenance for carts? What strange demands were these? Was this a prank? A competitor’s evil ploy?  Were the carts. Staging a revolt????

He knew only one thing, if head office caught wind of this, He could wave goodbye, to his job, his promotion, and any dreams of a company pension.

He’d had no choice but to comply, right???

Well, comply he had, he’d written a public notice stating that he was agreeing to every one of the cart-nappers demands. It was written in block letters and covered nearly two thirds of the stores available window space.

  Twenty minutes until opening time, yet still not a single, solitary, cart in sight! He could still report it to the police, but what chance, was there, that he’d, actually,  be taken seriously? Heck, he didn’t quite believe it himself! Worst still, if his customers boycotted, who was gonna buy all this merchandise?

He was planning in his head, what he would say to head office. How did you, explain something like that, without looking like an idiot? Then he started making mental revisions to the resume he would, assuredly, be needing, very, soon.

Could he shave his head, move to Tebet and become a monk?

Do they have Grocery Carts in Tebet, he wondered?

At that precise instant, his thoughts were interrupted by, what sounded like, a thousand, angry, troops advancing on Dremel Hill! 

 Willis Shivered as ripples  of ice cold sweat trickled down his spine.Was any job, truly, worth this kind of stress, he wondered?

Customer complaints he could ignore, but angry mobs? No way!

Yet here he was, and the greatest threat, of all time, was beating a frenzied path, up the hill, toward him.

Should he run?  Should he hide?  Hmmm… he looked, anxiously around. Where could he hide though?

The angry mob was closing in!

He sighed resignedly. Then a nervous giggle erupted from somewhere deep inside.The fear in his eyes was eclipsed by puzzlement, then bewiderment and then finally the dawning of vague comprehension.

With every heartbeat, the marchers drew nearer.

As they crested the hill, the first wave, had finally come clearly into view.

Angry mob? Not quite.

Suddenly, there he was, at the head of the pack. Strutting like a peacock and grinning from ear to ear,  behind that unkempt mass of silvery whiskers…

It was that, blasted,  Jim guy!

The Township.had won the day.

People were waving, cheering and celebrating, with gleeful abandon. Still, though, thoughout it all, that incessant rattle that omnipresent rumble droned on.

 Ted Willis gazed, again at the happy throng, and noticed something else,  something that brought a dazzling smile to his whole face.

. Each and every one of them, were, clinging to the handle of  a  Low-Cost Foods’ grocery cart, and the store was about to open for business.


Comments on: "Accomplished Cart" (3)

  1. Interesting and sometimes humorous story

    • Thanks, very , much Terry, it’s an odd one, isn’t it? I started with a sketchy idea. To personify the plight of a beleaguered grocery cart, but then the human characters kept forcing their way in. It was a fun write.☺

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