Checked Out

Bub takes three minutes to get to the store.

Bungs on his double pluggers and trots in.

Grabs a trolley on the way.

Five minutes to close.

Darl waits for Bub in the Mazda.

Slaps down the passenger mirror and carefully applies cherry Lipsmacker.

Her eyes slide to the boy leaning on the metal railings of the trolley bay.

(His shift ain’t over ‘til the last silver chariot is put to bed)

He’s picking at a scab on his knee.

Three minutes to close.

Bub grabs some milk and a pack of Tim Tams.

Double Coats.

The ones Darl likes.

Two minutes to close.

Bub starts to panic.

Legs it to Aisle 6.

Sticks out an arm to the kid in the high-vis vest packing boxes of Supers with Wings.

“Oi, where’s the frangers mate?”

“Excuse me sir?”

The kid stares blank as paper.

A baby in Aisle 7 squeals.

(A warning siren)

Bub breaks into a sweat, shuts his eyes.

He thinks of Darl, waiting.

“Fer fucks sake mate – the frangers. Dingers.”

“Umm…”

“Fuckin’ cock socks. The old rubber johnny.”

“You’re looking for condoms, sir?”

The kid stares at Bub.

(Bub stares right back)

One minute to close.

“Yeah mate, the condoms.”

The kid grins.

“Big weekend planned?”

“C’mon mate, just show me where they are.”

The kid points to the rows of boxes further down the aisle.

“On the right, next to the Metamucil”.

Bub gives two thumbs up.

Musses the kid’s hair on his way past.

Scans the shelves and grabs a pack of Ultra Thins.

Hesitates.

Snatches up a Party Box.

(Big weekend planned)

A tinny voice over the loudspeaker –

The store is now closing. Please make your way to the registers to finalise your purchase.

Bub fumbles with his debit card at the checkouts.

Forgets to scan his Flybuys.

In the carpark, Darl steps back into the Mazda.

Slams the door shut.

Bub throws the bag in the back.

Clicks the boot shut.

Wheels the trolley back to the bay.

Bends down.

Picks up something off the ground nearby.

“Hey Darl, this your lip balm?”

He hands it back through the passenger window.

The trolley boy whistles in the shadows.

Darl can’t look Bub in the eye.   

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