wormwood, pt. 4

Winston left the following morning, after sending Rosalind an email saying where he'd be, and that she should come looking for him if he wasn't back by Saturday night. She read it and said, "That boy has no sense of adventure even when he's going on adventures." Nicole was asleep and didn't respond, so Rosalind soon forgot about the email entirely.

When Nicole woke up that afternoon, they went out for a walk while the weather was still nice. The streets were mostly empty, which seemed weird, but neither of them commented on it until they went to the store. It had been picked clean.

They both paused in the doorway. Nicole said, "Well, fuck."

A thin, pale boy at one of the checkout aisles laughed--or cackled, really--when he noticed them. "Can I help you ladies find anything?"

Nicole said, "Yeah, actually. What the hell happened here?"

"You partied pretty hard last night, huh? Big ol' emergency broadcast, on the TV and the radio. They even had government cars driving down the streets telling everyone about it. You heard about the whole poison water thing in the Midwest, right?" As he talked, Rosalind started pacing around the edge of the store looking for something that was missed. She stopped at the cigarette cases and got the lockpicks out from her bag.


"Well, they figured maybe that would poison the crops, you know? So they mobilized everyone for this big recall of all the poisoned food. And then after they announced that there's this megaswarm of locusts or something on the east coast. It's heading west. They had experts on the TV saying that it was going to reach here in a few days, maybe. Eating everything in sight. They reckoned they could save some of the crops, but there's just not enough people, especially if they're trying to recall all the poison foods." Rosalind had the lock open now, and was shoveling packs of cigarettes into her bag.


"You're looking at a genuine food crisis. We're talking government rations, the wonderful management of FEMA. So everyone's stocking up. Or was. That's capitalism, that is. Emergency measures don't go in until tomorrow morning."

"Jesus. I just wanted some fucking ice cream."

"Tell you what. Working at the store's got its advantages. Couple of lovely ladies like you, I'll let you check out my stash. I salvaged some ramen, some coffee. Anything suits your fancy and I'm sure we could work something out."

"Yeah, no thanks." Nicole took out a cigarette and started lighting it.

"Hey, you can't smoke that in here!"

"Why not? Am I going to upset the customers?" She gestured around the store theatrically finished lighting up. "Come on, Rose."

"Coming." Rosalind buttoned up her bag and waved at the cashier. "See you next plague of locusts!"

1 comment:

Semicolons said...

Not much to say on this one. Good flow, and good use of a flat character for the clerk; once you said "pasty" and "clerk" in the same sentence, i had that image clear in my head. The first paragraph was a bit awkward, but only because it didn't quite transition well from the previous post. I can't fault you too much there because its a fault of the format.

I also just realized i misspelled "vagina" as "vangina" in my previous comment. My dyslexia has given birth to yet another horrible image i can't get out of my head.