Tuesday, October 17, 2017

THE SUPERMARKET CLERK by Eric Suhem

“Well Oscar, your qualifications are a good fit for this position. Welcome to the supermarket team!” says the hiring manager at the conclusion of the interview. Oscar is just happy to have a job.  
Day 1

On his first day of work, Oscar is stacking apples in the produce section, when he is called into the dried noodle aisle for a cleanup. “He was such a nice boy,” says an elderly woman of the fallen Mafioso, sprawled in a pool of blood, a knife in his back and a box of lasagna noodles in his hand. Oscar cleans up the aisle with an extra-large mop.
Day 2

Oscar is informed that a technician will be repairing the cooling system beneath the meat section of the supermarket. During the process, the technician sticks his arm out amidst the packages of hamburger and chicken, attempting to connect a thermostat. A couple with cannibalistic tendencies and a shopping cart full of limbs, appears and quickly severs the arm. They toss it into the shopping cart, mumbling purposefully about coupons. Oscar is called in to clean up the blood that is obscuring the price labels on the hamburger packages.

Day 3

Oscar observes the customer Mrs. Seed immediately. She seems to have a strange power about her. Mrs. Seed moves quickly to the produce section of the supermarket, flower seeds falling out of her hair. “I could relate to Mrs. Seed more effectively if she didn’t have an apricot lung,” thinks the manager of the produce section, who has a peach pit for a heart, and a ripe cantaloupe brain. As he tends to a stack of kumquats, the manager slips on a seed and falls, cracking his head open on the linoleum floor of the supermarket, blood mixing with the cantaloupe rind. Mrs. Seed takes an apricot breath, and moves to the next aisle.
“Oscar, cleanup in aisle 6,” says the intercom speaker.
Day 4

A customer named Hugo walks the supermarket aisles in a black cape, leaving vibrations of evil in each aisle, causing lettuce to wilt and milk to curdle. The recently deceased produce section manager has been replaced by a new manager of the produce section. He approaches Hugo, and tells him to stop making the lettuce wilt. Hugo stares in response, inflicting dark rays of menace, causing the new produce section manager to explode.

After cleaning up the detonated produce section manager, Oscar smokes a cigarette outside with a coworker. “You know, this is a strange supermarket filled with death,” says Oscar.
“Yes, but the pay is good,” says the co-worker, who has just cleaned up a double homicide in aisle 3.

After work, Oscar goes home to a small chaotic apartment. “Oscar, can you help me catch the bird and return it to its cage?” asks Oscar’s endearingly misshapen wife Oona, who is chasing the frantic escaped bird around the living room. Oona is constantly bringing home new pets, and the bird has been a recent addition to the household. Before that she brought home cats, hamsters, and turtles. Oscar chases the bird around the apartment in joyous pursuit, feeling a heightened appreciation for all the life swirling around him at home, after being around so much death at work.
Day 5

Oscar arrives at work to find another produce section manager is dead, lying in a pool of blood near the eggplants. Before he can clean up the gore, Oscar is called into the office of the store manager, who says, “Oscar, I just wanted to let you know that you’re doing a great job, and we’re considering you for promotion to the position of produce section manager. Keep up the good work!”


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