Some people are always happy to see me. Take this dude, for example. He’s a Wal-Mart greeter, just loves me right tight, wants me to camp out in the aisles, maybe play some Guitar Hero so my eyes glaze over while I hemorrhage pay cheques.
“Greetings, Paul,” he says, smiling even as I and a thousand others throw open the front doors and trample him into cracked ribs while George Romero flies by on a camera dolly and a fistful of maggots tumbles out of some lady’s eye socket. “Enjoy your shopping experience.”
Oh, I will. See, I am legion, for we are many. And this, people of the Earth, is the Two Quarter Shuffle. When the economy recedes, the retailers bleed — and their blood is my milk.
The Waltons are here. They’re covered in bruises and are bandaged in portraits of Andrew Jackson. It’s crazy, man. Buy a camera; take a picture.
“Ladies and gentlemen,” shouts Christy through a megaphone, her curly blond hair just a chaos springing from her scalp, “we are not digging this paradigm shift. In fact, we are resisting it. Everything must go. We are falling from the amazing grace of $81 billion. Can you even understand a number like that? You idiots. We are falling.” She pauses, thinks, speaks: “Freefalling. Know what I mean?”
She starts singing Tom Petty. I forgot how much I like that song because I need external suggestions to arrive at such conclusions. Bummer, though, because Particular Ones is sold out by the time I dance my way into the electronics department. It was three bucks off — nothing to gag about, but a deal’s a deal.
“Anything in the warehouse?”
I weep softly.
Back at the front of the store, the Waltons scoop up the smashed greeter and stick a Rollback sign in the mess of his chest. He’s only five bucks. I buy him, don’t know why, just do. An insanely happy yellow ball swoops down from the ceiling and congratulates me on my purchase. Then, rising again, it explodes in a ceiling fan, price cards raining down like confetti. Thinking my greeter may become lonely in the vast expanse of my backyard that, along with others like it, got us into this whole mess, I buy the yellow ball’s remains for 20 cents. See? One good purchase informs another.
Jim throws down a small child he was feeding on and approaches me. He’s trying his hardest to look like a pauper with tape on the arms of his glasses, and I’m instantly fooled. Poor Jim. Life must be crazy tough for the wildly rich in the advent of a colossal credit crisis.