August 5, 2009

IMGP2728They sang in harmony, those inanimate objects clustered and swanning in front of me, as I stocked the shelves. But I stopped after a few minutes and began swatting the useless objects off of the shelf and onto the tiled floor. Their placid inevitability filled me with complete contempt, and knocking them away was vomiting them out of my psyche. Naturally they rose and began trying to claw their way up my legs and onto the lacquered shelving. Fuck that, I thought as I grabbed a plastic squeegee and beat them away from my pants legs. 

 “You don’t get to stay,” I told them in the most authoritative tones I could claw from within my chest. 

The sugar bowl detached one half of its right handle and bent the frilly nub into something resembling a fist with an extended middle finger. “Fuck you, too,” I growled with my best Clint Eastwood snarl as I balanced the squeegee like a nine-iron and took a porcelain-shattering swing at the insulting party. It flew across the stockroom, shattering against the wall. The vermillion interior of the bowl made the fragments look like chunks of freshly-filleted meat. 

A set of tongs and a spatula hopped towards me, tethered to one another by a leather strap. Clutter IIThe tong set twirled and swung its flat-bottomed mate by the tether until the spatula’s end bit into my shin painfully. But damned if they’d get me. Or scale this structure that I’d vowed to keep clear of clutter and extraneous weight and pain. No more. I kicked them and they, too, soared through the air and into the nearby utility sink with a chorus of metallic clattering.

They kept coming; crawling, dragging, rolling, and slithering their way towards me when it occurred to me that the definitive way to escape their influence—my one route to sanity, clarity, and happiness—lay outside the stockroom door. Salvation loomed about twelve feet beyond, but between the egress and me several dozen things swarmed and scurried like metal, plastic, wood, and clay ants.

 My shin blood snaked its way down my trouser leg, and a can opener flipped its handle outward at the wound. The rubber-coated metal implement roused heavy pain at shin level. I ran as fast as my wounded and bruised legs would permit, turned the knob, and limped out into the main showroom.


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