A Northwest Based Literary Journal

Excerpt: Fiction 1

Lothing and Hoes at the 48th Street Winn-Dixie

GM Palmer

The sky breaks into red and blue over the 48th Street Winn-Dixie; divided by a black column of cloud, Jacksonville hosts one of those after-the-storm sunsets no one would buy in a Dali. We’re leaving for Polk County and parts south tomorrow, and I gotta grab a few things before the trip: fruit, diapers, half and half, steaks. The parking lot is steaming in the twilight; even though it’s nearly nine o’clock, the humidity won’t let go.

I grab the driest cart from the lot and try to ignore its bum wheel. When I walk in, I wave at the same security guard and cashiers who’ve been here since we moved to North Shore back in ’01. The store’s changed hands three times since then but it hasn’t changed. I want to pretend that we know each other, but I’ve never introduced myself.

I go to the small natural food section first. Julio, the manager, told me the only customers who shop that section are us and a couple hipster kids. Most of it gets near date and they trash it or sell it to Solomon’s. I wish they’d give it away, enough folks around here need it.

I’ve seen those hipster kids before, roommates, siblings, or maybe a couple, locking eyes as we reached for the last pack of grass-fed beef or scoured the clearance shelves for organic non-perishables at blow-out prices; there’s not a lot of demand for gluten-free cookies in our neighborhood.

Usually they’re headed in different directions. He does a Sherlock on prices while she cradles fresh fruit like Saturn. They never look at each other until today, when I see them near the galas. Everything is different with them. He’s searching her for clues but she is a Zeus to his Hera. They’re setting a scene. I try not to stare, but it’s the only thing happening. Apart from “Pardon me” or “Do you think this is a good deal on kale?” I’ve never heard her talk, but it’s impossible not to hear her today.

 

 

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