Night #3

I’m in a big box store, like Walmart, except it isn’t Walmart.

I contemplate office supplies. While diving into a box of tapes, I pull out packages of washi. Silly designs. So much pastel and iconography. I’m trying to find something geometric and/or monochromatic. A woman named Anita approaches me and talks about cookie recipes, asking if I have any suggestions for an upcoming bake sale at her (our) school. I give her suggestions and reach my hand down into the box again. I pull out a monochromatic and geometric package of washi, and then I smile. After shuffling the top layer, I find three more packages. They enlarge when I put them in my cart.

The sticky notes give me trouble. Their shades are slightly different between two brands.

“Do I want the more pastel one, or the one with a better colour display?”

I get neither and settle for faded-urine yellow. While I meander past more aisles, their shelves towering high above me, I make my way into one labelled for vacuum supplies. The far end, on one side of the aisle, houses the sewing supplies.

I run into an acquaintance named Jordan as she hunts through needles displayed in wooden slots like a “What can you feel?” trap. She seeks a #12 needle and there is one left in the slot. I pull it out.


“Oh my god.”

She leaves.

For some reason, I return to the front of the store and find myself in a section called “Finger Protection.” Gloves and gloves and gloves and gloves.

The next aisle has full displays of pyjamas, lain out like samples on a slanted, white shelf. I prod at a Cat In The Hat onesie and it squirms. Someone is inside it, their face not visible—or their head not present—and I think, “It isn’t thick and plush enough for my tastes.” I move to the next aisle. I gaze at large, IKEA-dispenser-like containers for boxer shorts. One has an old 8-bit video game design on it, but it’s kitsch. The design isn’t emblematic of any specific video game. A farce.

There is a seasonal aisle with cookie displays. Behind a white tablecloth, I find an old two-building gingerbread house display my friends and I built with friends farther north. They appear near me and we talk about smashing it. We wonder when is the right time, the right place?


I reach for the dry assemblage of cookies.


We scamper away like vandals until we find a back door to the parking lot. We leave and smash the gingerbread to the pavement. I jump on it, my friends kick it, we mutilate it—and then I see security guards ambling nearer to us. They aren’t intentionally making their way to us, so I move to my friends to guide them behind a car and back to the door. They disappear. I turn back to the wreckage. The gingerbread house turns into a dead dog.

The security guards look at me and hasten their pace. One grabs me by the arm and the other, in hyperspeed, grabs my friend and pushes him inside. I try to open the back door, but only the security guard can do that. She seems more annoyed than disciplinary. They push us inside and my friend disappears again.

I try to find my shopping cart, laden with potted plants, office supplies, and too heavy for me to look reasonable while pushing it. I can’t find it. I get a box of 500 pencils and check out.

I’m at home. I’ve ordered a pizza. A woman with an accent calls me 30 minutes after I place the order. I, too, was wondering where the fuck the pizza was.

“Karren Alay?”

Butchered name. The standard.

“Yeah, that’s me.” (It isn’t, but I know it is.)

She asks me if I ordered a pepperoni pizza (yes) to 1120 Islington Tower, Toronto (no).

“Um, no.”

“Oh, I’m so sorry.”

“I live in Windsor.”

A sudden movement and noise against wooden boards. My eyes are open. Fuck. It’s 8am. I do not want to be awake at this time on a Saturday.

Night #3