Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Discount Store

A large warehouse space is dimly lit. The overall space is submerged in a grayish hue, though sparse yellow bulbs hang from single black wires clinging to the ceiling every fifteen feet. They hang like the stars, thirty feet from the ground, their light flickering like distant voices from eons past. Gray comes from the high cinderblock walls without windows and the cement floor that breaths a cold, unrelenting truth.
The space is divided into thirty long aisles by twelve-foot tall metal shelves. They shelves are heavy and solid, built for industry and the test of time. Each shelving unit has ten individual shelves packed with old cans of vegetables and beans, fruit cocktail, and dusty sacks of rice and dried lentils. Thirty rows fill the warehouse space, each one thirty feet long.
The discount store is empty of people, though full of old dented goods that await use, to have just one more moment of life. A refrigerated section hums in the far left corner, it alone emitting bright white florescent light, like the opening of a tunnel to another plane of reality. The cold section is stocked with several varieties of packaged tofu, still within their expiration date. There are cartons of milk and large chunks of yellow cheese packaged in cellophane. The light radiates out a few dozen steps from the cold section, illuminating a few hand-made ceramic sinks that sit on the ground beside a tall metal shelf propped against the wall.
In the first aisle from the wall, a magical knife rests on the floor below the first shelf of the unit. It stands out like a giant phallus in the store of mass production, one of only two things made with human hands and careful attention. It is large and mostly flat, curved like a bow, with a long dragon-like head at one point. It is made of silvery-black clay and a small careful sigil is carved into the forehead of the creature. It sits without a speck of dust in the shadow of the tall shelves piled high with cans of black garbanzo beans and peas.
A lone worker stands in the front of the store, behind a row of elevated cash registers, like silent players on a stage. The young man stands ready for a store of empty customers. His black hair manages to shine in the dim yellow light, somehow coming alive despite the gray of the walls and floor and absence of fresh new life. His tan skin pops out of his thin, tight white t-shirt, a testament to sun and melanin and vigor. He is comfortable here in his place, a king in this square castle of old goods and their hidden treasures.

No comments: