PATRICK STEPHENSON

Earthbound concerns of an ascendant adult

“Supermarket”

by Patrick Stephenson,
devout, imitative carverite

G.K. // Last night, I drove to the supermarket. I go there when I’m hungry and need a bite or two. I don’t like driving all that much, to tell the truth, but I like driving there. SupermarketMy favorite aisle is the one with the goddamn bread. I stood there, looking for some bread. Goddamn, the supermarket light was blinding. I felt like a prune. The Wonder Bread looked good, but there was some fancy breads, too.

Whole Wheat, Cinnamon Swirl. I thought maybe I should buy those. One loaf, two? My wife likes fancy breads, but I never know what to buy her. I don’t understand women, that’s for damn sure. My wife’s a large one, which means she eats more than me usually. I worry about her going off with other men, sometimes, ones with more to say than me. I don’t talk much, that’s true. I’m what’s called a Man of Few Words. Anyway, I bought the Wonder Bread, for a helluva good price. To hell with it.

Goddamn.

After I’d bought bread, I walked out into the parking lot. There, I leaned against my car and smoked the J the supermarket teller had passed me. “You’re a man of few words,” he’d said, “and I like that in a man.” All of a sudden, I’d got sorta nervy about what this guy wanted, but I’d accepted his gift and moved on. Accepting a queer’s gift doesn’t make you a sissy, and I wasn’t about to join his underground culture. I wanted a smoke, that’s all. Anyway. In the parking lot, leaning against my car, I admired the supermarket. It was big and glimmery, beautiful like something you’d see in your dreams. Thinking that made me think of a blind guy I’d once known. A supermarket is like a cathedral, if you ponder it. I thought about that blind guy for a minute or two and then I got into my car. As I drove home, the first song the radio played was an Elton John ditty. That, I turned off quick. I’m no Elton John fan.

I wish I weren’t such an inarticulate sumbitch. As I walked into my house, I heard my wife snoring. Her snore is loud, like a jet engine almost. She goes to bed without me, most nights. I stay up and watch the television. Usually, I can find a good infomercial, about hair care or zit creams. Had I told her I was leaving? I couldn’t remember. My wife’s father had died a few days earlier. At least that’s what she’d said, and she was pretty sad there for a while. She’d been too mopey to make me breakfast that morning. In fact, she hadn’t left bed till 10:00am. “Get out of bed, woman!” I’d said to her. Anyway, I had some hashish left and I prepared it as two of the Three Stooges poked each other in the eyes on TV. Sitting there, on the couch, I thought about my blind friend again. A train hit him last year.

Goddamn. Hell. Damn.

My wife and the blind man had once exchanged tapes. The blind man had decided to visit, and he did. He rode the train here and sat on the right side. I didn’t know how to speak to him, because he — his name was Robert — was blind. We ate dinner. We talked, and ate, and drank. We talked about the blind man’s stories: he worked for Amway, his wife had cancer (his wife was Black!) and she had died from it. We ate too much, and my wife fell asleep in front of the television. Alone with the blind man, I was unsure of how to act, and so we watched tv and smoked some HASH. We watched a show about cathedrals — how do ya like that? — and the blind man wanted to draw one. We did. On a sheet of paper we drew one, with the blind man’s hands guiding mine. My wife woke up. She asked us, what are you doing?

Drawing, goddamnit

Written by patiomensch

February 28, 2007 at 2:02 am

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