05:49:40 am on
Thursday 25 Jul 2024

Pickup at the Mall
AJ Robinson

The other day, my wife and I received a text message; it a very valuable commodity was available. A friend of a friend found a supply of a high demand item. It meant taking the long drive, as the address was far away, but we had to have our fix, soon.

Off on a quest.

Off we went. Jo Ann, my wife, had the address in her phone, which directed me. I kept a sharp lookout to insure no one followed. This was our connection, ours alone, I hoped.

Despite having directions, we couldn’t find the location for the pickup. I took this as a good sign. Few other people could find it, either.

Ideally, the dealer could fix us up with a good supply. So, we kept driving and driving. I was beginning to think we were going to leave the state or at least the county, at the rate we were going, but we persevered and kept right on driving.

Jo Ann suggested we give up and head home. I was about to agree when we found the place we were after. I zipped into the parking lot, without using my blinker.

If anyone followed us, maybe they wouldn’t be able to turn quick enough to make it. It was a close burn. We made it.

I parked, we headed inside the building, without looking around. I stepped up to the counter. I was careful to not look the lady there in the eye, as no one wanted to know anyone.

“I understand you’ve got some …?” I said.

“In the back,” she replied, focusing on what she was doing and not me.

I sort of pointed in the correct direction, with a nod of my head to Jo Ann. She nodded back and we hiked to the back. A man stood by large double doors. He was our fixer.

“Can we get some of the … stuff?” I said.

“You after a touch of the Angel?” he said.

Jo Ann shook her head. “No, I prefer Cotton, so much better.”

He nodded. “I got what you want. Wait here.”

He moved through the doors just as a couple of women drew near. A moment later, he rolled out a cart piled high with boxes and tore into them. Finally, we had our fix.

He handed us two bundles. “Here you go, Cottonelle Toilet Paper, two packs.” We were grateful, but said nothing as we left him, quickly.

I tossed packages into a nearby grocery cart. “Thanks, and don’t worry, we won’t say a word, as to our supplier. We want to come back.”

He laughed. The ladies giggled. Jo Ann rolled her eyes as does Penny on The Big Bang Theory.

It seemed my attempt at lightening the mood, with levity, fell on deaf ears. These days, ever since the first major outbreak of the coronavirus, people have, for some unknown reason, been hoarding toilet paper. I don’t know why.

Fortunately, we already had a good supply laid in, but even so, we wanted to have a little emergency backup. No stores have had any such product for weeks. Well, finally, we heard via a neighborhood app that the Dollar General in Apopka had just gotten a shipment and we decided to try and get some.

It was a bit of a drive for us. I did have to keep an eye on traffic as it was hard to watch for the building and stay safe on the road, but we eventually found the store. I have to say, I was impressed; it had many, many cases of toilet paper and so we were able to take our pick of brands.

Also, I will never understand this aspect of the pandemic. That is, people hoarding toilet tissue, emptying stores of it and other cleaning products. Oh well, this is America, who said we think logically in a crisis? One look at who the president is should tell you he’s light in the intellect department!

This is another aspect of this crisis that we are surviving. Now, if we can just get some decent cuts of meat. Ah, but that’s another story.

What meat were those steaks?

I seem to recall a nice piece of steak being quite the prize in the movie Soylent Green. I won’t spoil the movie or make you sick, but what kind of steak were those. Let’s hope we don’t get to things being that bad.

Combining the gimlet-eye of Philip Roth with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Working, again, as an engineeer, after years out of the field due to 2009 recession and slow recovery, Robinson finds time to write. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true. His teen vampire adventure novel, "Vampire Vendetta," will publish in 2020. Robinson continues to write books, screenplays and teleplays and keeps hoping for that big break.

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