Rooting for the Apocalypse — Chapter 5: Don't forget your credit card

The mushrooms are starting to kick in. I moonwalk into the service line at the Acme thinking it will be faster, but the woman in front of me is three hundred years old, nine hundred pounds, and eighty-three cents short on her carton of menthols. The frozen pizza clutched in my hand is started to melt. Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck. What a funny word. I’m getting to the point where checking out will become impossible. The woman in front of me swells and sags. Flight scenarios carousel through my melting brain.

I fumble for a dollar in my wallet.

“Here,” I say to the woman, holding out the dollar. My hand wavers. I wonder if it’s as steady as it looks, or if I’m waving the dollar around like a flag. I want to slap her in the face with it.

“Thank you so much, sweetie,” the woman says.

“Here,” I say again.

She pays and tries to give me the change. I just shake my head, batting away her words with the shaking of my head, harder now, faster now, am I bobbing and thrashing? She shuffles away. I shuffle forwards.

“Just this?” the clerk asks.

“Don’t forget your credit card,” I say to myself and also outloud. Distantly I wonder how big my irises are. I’m worried if they get too big the clerk will try and crawl inside them.



***



Damn, Acme makes a good pizza.

“Acme,” I say. “You’re my only friend.”

“I know that,” the pizza box says in reply, in an accent that sounds so racist I’m surprised by myself. I grab Mr. Pizza Box and tap out a beat with one of the empty paper towel rolls on the counter.

“Pizza, pizza, pizza from the Acme. Buy it all cuz I ain’t got no money.”

To get some high hats, I tap against the cans of refried beans Felipe leaves stacked on top of each other. A four-can tower falls and crashes to the floor in a crescendo.

“Fuck,” I say. “That’s still not funny, dude.”

I kick the cans out of the way. I smack Charlie’s food bag for some bass. A pitter-patter of perfidious paws...prances...down the stairs, and Charlie dances next to me, fore-paws yogad to God.

“Yeah, cat, get into it! Pizza, pizza, pizza from the Ac-me. Buy it all cuz I ain’t got no mo-ney. I have a cat, and his name is Char-lie.”

The front door opens. Zak strides in shirtless, hefting his fixie. His abs glisten with sweat.

“Oh, I see what’s going on,” he bellows. He puts down the bike and creeps forward, clapping his hands in rhythm.

“Pizza, pizza—”

“—pizza from the Acme.”

“Buy it all—”

“—cuz I ain’t-got-no money.”

“I have a cat—”

“—and his name is Charlie.”

“Meeeeooooww!”