The Cashier always looked suspicious after I bought a pack of multi-colored highlighters and a map of the city. Perhaps because my shopping trips were a bi-monthly occurrence, and on the whole, people don’t need highlighters that often. Or maps of the city.
“So, State lost last night, huh?” I say.
“Paper or plastic?” he asks.
I toss some chap stick onto the conveyor belt and a mint dark chocolate Milky Way. The Cashier puts my stuff in a plastic bag and I head out the door, but not before I tell him my greatest fear.
“Fluffy things like dust bunnies and shit” I say.
He is bagging Pop tarts and frozen burritos for a college student. I go digging for garbage.
The next day, I go shopping again. This time, I really don’t need anything except for toenail clippers for an art project I am working on. The Cashier doesn’t know that I usually go to Wally World for shit like that.
“Paper or plastic?” he asks me once I am at the checkout lane.
“Your mom,” I say.
There is a three second pause, and then he responds, “Died last week.”
I pick up five packs of beef jerky and throw them on the conveyor belt.
“Shit, man. I’m sorry. Fuck that. Death and such. Although, I’ve never been afraid of death. Fluffy things like I told you yesterday and losing my virginity, but otherwise… fearless! Bring it on, Death! Bring. It. On.”
He threw my beef jerky packages in one bag and my toenail clippers in a separate smaller bag.
So, the third day I come in and don’t even bother pretending to buy anything. Instead, I go directly to the condiments isle, open a bottle of mustard and write, “I am afraid of losing my virginity to something fluffy.”
I see the manager walk by and tell him about the mustard mess.
“Clean up in isle four!” he calls over the loud speaker and then takes The Cashier’s place at the checkout counter as The Cashier runs to get the mop and bucket.
by Sarah Freese