Down the Hall on Your Left

This site is a blog about what has been coasting through my consciousness lately. The things I post will be reflections that I see of the world around me. You may not agree with me or like what I say. In either case – you’ll get over it and I can live with it if it makes you unhappy. Please feel free to leave comments if you wish . All postings are: copyright 2014 – 2017

Fiction Saturday – And Pull The Hole In After You – Continued

 

Fiction Saturday – And Pull The Hole In After You – Continued

Pull SafewayChapter Seven

After three days of eating from the snack machine outside of the rental office, Laura Smith made the calculated decision to risk a late-night trip to the Safeway supermarket a few blocks from her new home.  She had a small kitchenette, she knew how to cook and she couldn’t look at another peanut butter-cheese cracker without gagging.

She would have to walk. 

Just to be on the safe side, the only side worth being on, she had repeated with the Hyundai pull fillmorewhat she had done with the Lexus back in Boston.  She cleared out anything that might give a clue to her ownership, wiped it down to remove any stray  fingerprints, and then left it parked in the fog near Haight and Fillmore streets with the doors unlocked and keys in the ignition.

She walked to the nearby bus shelter to get out of the wind.  A ten-minute ride would take her up the steep hills and down to the shore of the Bay and some sunshine.

Within five minutes an orange-and-white electric bus came around the corner.  She found a seat near the rear door.  As she looked out at the street she saw her Hyundai speed past the bus and disappear over the crest of the hill.

Well, that didn’t take long, she said to herself. No one else on the bus looked at her when she laughed out loud.  After all, this was San Francisco– the world’s largest open-air asylum.

Keeping the car was not an option.  It was still registered to the dealer in Plymouth, Massachusetts and he had reported it stolen so he could make an insurance claim.  In San Francisco it would have only been a matter of time until it was ticketed or towed and identified as stolen.  If she had been pulled over everything would have fallen apart.

Sitting at her tiny kitchen table Laura made out a shopping list for her first trip to the supermarket.  She didn’t want to have to carry too much, so this trip would just be some basics.  She also decided to wait and go shopping late at night to avoid people as much as possible.

As she was soon to learn, the Safeway in the Marina District, even at 2:30 in the morning, was one of the more happening venues on the San Francisco Singles scene.

The aisles were busy with people heading home from bars and nightclubs.  Many were stoned and had a severe case of the munchies.  There were also the dot-commers, who worked incredibly odd hours, speed freaks who had been up since a week ago Thursday, and some very lonely people on the make.

This particular branch of the supermarket giant had been known for decades as a prime cruising spot for those people who were eventually tagged as Yuppies.  It was “Love Among The Prunes,” as one wag put it.

Laura took a cart and began to go up and down the well-stocked aisles.  She felt as if she had a neon sign on her back reading “On the run from my husband.  Please ignore me.”

 She was scared, but she was also very hungry.

Her mental shopping list would have fed her for six months.  Days of prepackaged, flavorless, vending machine junk food had set up a craving for something, anything, everything, fresh.

The “Make-It-Yourself” salad bar set her heart to beating fast.  She filled a large plastic container to bursting.  The in-store bakery supplied a fresh loaf of Italian bread and aisle seven, a very nice California wine.

Pull safeway ice creamHer fear of discovery faded as the pleasure of doing something familiar and satisfying grew.

“Ice cream, I need some ice cream,” she said out loud.

“Aisle fourteen, Miss.  Would you like me to show you?”

“What?”  Laura turned around to see who was speaking to her.

“You said that you needed ice cream,” said the young Hispanic looking woman in the blue apron who had been restocking a shelf with jars of imported artichoke hearts.

“I did?  Yes, aisle fourteen?  No, I can find it.”

“Let me show you where they hide the cool and delicious,” added a baritone voice.

It was coming from behind her.  Laura turned to see who it was and whether her time of freedom was over.  Her first impulse was to reach for her pistol.

“Hi, my name is Phil.  You’re new here, aren’t you?”

The baritone stood next to his cart, sipping on a cappuccino from a plastic cup.  Mirrored aviator-style sunglasses hid his eyes.

Laura said nothing.  Words were pointless right now.

“Hellooo?  I said, ‘My name is Phil, and now you say “Hello, Phil, my name is….” and fill in the blank.”

The stock clerk spoke up.

“Sir, stop annoying the customers or I’ll call security.”

She set down the jar of artichoke hearts and rested her hand on the walkie-talkie on her belt.

“I was just trying to help the lady, sorry. Forget about it,” he said.  “I’ll go over to the produce aisle.  People are friendlier there.”

“Very good, sir, and thank you for shopping at Safeway.”

Laura was still frozen in her tracks.

“Are you Okay, Miss?  I’m sorry.  This happens all the time here.  He’s really harmless, just a jerk,” said the young clerk.

“No.  Yes.  I’m fine, thank you.”

“You want me to go with you to get that ice cream?”

“No.  I have to leave–check out.”  Laura was fighting the urge to run out of the store.

“Miss, let me help you.  Are you sure that you’re alright?  You’re shaking.”

The young Hispanic stock clerk walked with Laura up to the front of the store and stayed with her until she carried her two plastic bags through the door and disappeared into the foggy darkness.

to be continued8

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6 thoughts on “Fiction Saturday – And Pull The Hole In After You – Continued

  1. Darn! I must have lost Thursday and Friday somewhere on the way to Saturday.

    Like

  2. Computer glitch. That’s not supposed to be up for several weeks!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Will she make it back home via the bus??? Another good chapter.

    Like

  4. Makes me hungry! Guess I’ll have a salad for Dinner.

    Like

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