I smiled politely at all the faceless entities, but my heart just wasn’t
in it, and as I wove my way slowly through the crowded aisles, no
spontaneity remained. Every thing was automatic. “ Frozen
Entres? Aisle two. Coffee? Aisle seven, next to the tea bags.” To
the regulars an automatic “How are you? Nice day isn’t it, how’s
the wife, kids, dog, cat, guppy etc etc.” I’ve been working at the
Buy and Save too darned long, I needed a challenge, a little excitement.
I guess. What had begun as a summer job, four years ago, had
somehow, without provocation turned into a career.
I was living a joyless existence, with just a pale glimmer of hope,
when the weekend arrived, or when it was payday. I ran the gamut
from brief elation, to dumpsterville; in a downward spiral of gut
wrenching depression upon the realization that my paycheck would
scarcely cover half of my bills.
Not even weekends could cheer me up always, I’d make plans, only
to find a last minute Saturday, and or Sunday, shift added to my
schedule, yet again.
I was tired and restless. A volatile combination, even at the best
of times, and you can rest assured this wasn’t even close to being
the best of times.
I perused the first invoice on my clipboard, and then I looked at
the overloaded paper product shelves, and I sighed heavily. Where
could I possibly fit another full shipment of paper towel?
It’s a well-known fact, that the guys in shipping are first class
morons, but this was just ridiculous, even for them. The store was
not equipped with a large stockroom, everything they sent me, had
to go straight out on the shelves.
I looked around me for a little divine inspiration. It didn’t come. I
was heading up aisle thirteen, to broach this subject with Arnie,
the stock supervisor, when I heard the commotion. Two men were
talking very loudly. I couldn’t hear what was being said, but from
their tone, I could tell that things weren’t quite as they should be.
I made my way quickly to the end of the aisle.
I knew, from past experience, that I would have an unobstructed
view of all eight-checkout counters from there, while at the same
time remaining unseen. I’m not a pervert or anything, but some of
the cashiers especially on evening shift, are nice to look at.
At the far end of the candy aisle, I moved a box of chips to one
side and peered out. The late afternoon rush was over, and only two
girls, Shana and Becky, were on duty. Both were staring wide-eyed
at a tall man with a stocking over his head. As he yelled he waved
his arm menacingly at the frightened pair, and I saw the metallic
glint of his gun.
A second less statuesque man, also stocking-headed, was hovering
near the doorway, and suddenly, from where I stood, I could hear
every word he said. He was swearing at the cashiers his words an
unprintable stream of abuse.
I couldn’t care less about the money they were grabbing; they
could take that with my blessing, for all I cared, but their words
angered me, and spurred me into action. I inched my way back
along the aisle, to where my palette jack, piled high with paper
towel was parked.
My jacket was draped over the handle, where I always keep it. I
reached inside my jacket pocket, and pulled out my trusty cell
phone. I dialed 911. It took me several minutes to finally convince
the person on the other end that I wasn’t goofing around. I
realized that the crooks could be long gone before the police could
make an appearance, so, I decided, it was up to me to do something.
I ran to the back of the store, and out through the loading bay,
still not sure that what I was about to do, would actually work.
I made my way gingerly to the front lot, and by crouching low
behind a row of shopping carts, was just able to make them out,
through the store window by the checkouts.
The shorter robber, who had been hovering by the door earlier,
was busy now; he’d joined his partner, and It looked like they were
emptying the other cash draws, into their paper sacks.
There were only a few vehicles in the parking lot, one was mine, another one, was a Dodge Mini Van with a ” baby-on-board” sticker in it’s back window I recognized my bosses blue skylark
, and then I spotted the beaten up old Trans Am,
with it’s engine still running, and no driver in sight. There was little
doubt, in my mind, that this was their get-away car.
Luckily, having spent a good many high school days goofing off in Shop class, I
knew what to do, to disable a car.
With one eye on the store
front, I set to work on my plan. One by one, I deflated the Trans
Am’s tires. I shut off the engine, and for good
measure, popped the hood, removed a handful of spark-plug leads,
the rotor and the distributor cap.
I waited in the shadows for the two hoodlums to put in an
appearance. I didn’t have to wait long. I I ducked down behind the van, and
just watched events unfold.
The short guy got in first and tried the ignition. He cranked the starter a dozen times then thumped the steering wheel with his fist, in frustration.
Big Guy popped the hood and stared in disbelief
at the condition of their vehicle. The two guys were
hopping mad. It was fun to watch it all unfurl.
The big guy yelled something , the little guy yelled back, then they started tussling, shoving and poking at each other.
They froze in their tracks as they heard the approaching sirens. Then panicked and took off on foot.
I threw a diving tackle at the tall guy’s legs, he came down like a ton of bricks. The shorter dude was pretty fast and headed for the main road. He didn’t get far, because, just then, two police cruisers arrived.
The thieves were cuffed and arrested in short order.
The cashiers were all standing there like groupies hanging on my every word, and I could tell Shana and Becky especially were totally into me.
The uniformed officer that took down my statement, nodded and
smiled in all the right places, and when I’d concluded my account of events, he said,
“You should be very proud of what you did tonight, son”
“Yeah, I guess so.” I said, I was grinning from ear to ear.
“Hey,” I said, “maybe I’ll even get a raise for this!”
I could hear someone calling my name, but in the suddenly soupy
haze I couldn’t quite make out whom.
“Simmons! Simmons! What do you think your doing?”
I woke up with a jolt my boss was standing over me, and there was
a murderous look in his beady eyes.
“Simmons!” he growled, “You’ve been sleeping on the job again! Get
your sorry butt out of here! You’re fired!”
In the background, I could hear Shana and Becky giggling
nervously. I yawned, picked up the roll of paper towel that had
been nestling under my head, and smiled sheepishly. It was always
that same dream, I mused.
Then it suddenly occurred to me,
I was free at last!!”