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Friday, June 16, 2017

For Father's Day, episode 5 of Mother's Day Shopping,

Parts OneTwoThree, and four are here, please have a look,

Armed with out shopping cart, our shopping cart talisman, and god knows what my wife had stuck inside her purse we began the trip to the back of the store. It was cool, almost cold and the smell of salt water hung in the air.

The floors were buckled slightly, and unstable, with a springy feel, as if they weren't solid. There were men in the distance, really just shadows, moving slowly about their work.

"Go ask one of them for help." My wife said, pushing me in the back.

"Are you crazy?" I asked, trying to keep my voice low, and calm. It came out an octave higher than I intended, though.

"All right, I'll do it," she said. Knowing I would never send her back there alone.

"Great, I will follow you."

"Just go ask, you big baby." She shoved me with both hands. Her negotiating skills are top notch.

I trembled my way to the back, where a man was taking the items off a shelf and placing them on a cart, as another man took them off the cart and stacked them on the shelf. Their actions timed perfectly. They never touched. And the shelf and the cart were balanced, almost perfectly.

"Say, I know you guys are busy, but could you point me toward the lattice?"

Without pause they kept moving the items off the shelf and back on the shelf. It was as if they didn't know I was there. They were pale, and looked dusty, it was impossible to guess their age, Dressed in blue jeans and plain grey t-shirts, that might have been white at one time it could have been from the fifties or yesterday. There was nothing to distinguish them from each other. Or the employee who pushed a cart filled with boxes of tubes of caulk past us. His slow pace almost metronomic, unchanging, mechanically regular.

Subtly, slowly the floor was shifting, almost imperceptibly at first, but increasingly pronounced, and
still the man moved, almost in unison with the shifting, and buckling. Unchanged, steady, robotic, he moved in a graceful ballet, it looked like he had had an eternity of practice. He walked right past us, without even looking our way.

"Maybe we should go." I said, "I don't like the way this is working out."

"We have to get the lattice for the cucumber." My wife is pretty stubborn. So we set off, into the gathering gloom, a rumor of fog and the sound of bells rolled in from the loading dock, and I'm pretty sure I heard a splash.