Welcome to 2020! New year, new hopes, and all that. :)
The kids having change-in-routine nightmares has continued for this past week, meaning sleep has been disrupted to the point of any schedule for it being laughable. Cue up the band in my head for a cringe-worthy solo in anxiety... It's been a rough week. The nasty voice took advantage of having a foggy head to yell inside of. I know it's just a nasty voice, but the words still have impact. I wasn't able to get much writing done, which never helps as writing is something that shushes the nasty voice, but I got to some editing in one of my novellas and I have a couple of scenes imagined for the big manuscript. I'm looking forward to the regular routine of the school schedule almost as much as I'd been looking forward to the two week break lol.
Hopefully the first few days of 2020 have been treating you well. Have a great weekend!
1. Supply Run
The shelves and bins he could see were either empty or the few remaining products on them were in various stages of rotten. A line of people still waiting to come in and be disappointed made a tail from the soldiers and security guards at the front doors all the way around the corner and onto the next block. Only one person was allowed in the store at a time. Dally stepped inside and looked around, the view surprisingly even worse than last week.
“Well. Ain’t this just superb,” Dally muttered. The nearest security guard frowned at him. Probably he should’ve kept those words inside his head. As with most of what he did say, hindsight for what had been verbalized provided him with the knowledge that he should have remained silent.
Ah well. Nothing for it now. He just had to hope Canna would have good luck at the dock.
He hurried past the worst of the smells in the produce section, finding an onion that wasn’t too moldy to use. Surprisingly, along the otherwise empty rows of products, some flour bags small enough to fit in the rations box he’d been given were still unspoiled, hidden at the back of a high top shelf, and after taking two there was still room for the three boxes of sugar cubes from the back of another top. He moved a bag of flour and a box of sugar cubes to the front of the next shelf down. The woman who’d been in line behind him wouldn’t be able to reach these things due to her age and her cane. At least this way he knew, when her turn came to be inside the store, she’d have something more to find than the given rations at the exit.
He hurried past the dairy section – it wasn’t somewhere to spend time and everyone knew, now, not to open the magnetically sealed doors. Going past the pharmacy section, the abundance of toothbrushes and toothpaste tubes gave him pause so he grabbed four of each. Then stopped at the shelf for soaps and got a brick of six bars, each individually wrapped, and two bottles of shampoo. It was still weird going past the broken shelves for baby stuff. People had literally torn them apart out of frustration once the shelves were empty.
The butcher’s counter had a hand written list of available meats and cuts taped to the front of the glass display and a tired butcher behind it. There were only three items left on the list that weren’t crossed out yet.
“Two cuts of beef, please?” Dally asked.
She squinted at the ration card pinned to his shirt to confirm he was allowed to have two cuts and then nodded and walked into the windowed room behind the deli counter. Dally watched her as he waited for the meat. There wasn’t really anything else to do and, after the first round of riots, he still didn’t trust putting things down when whatever he’d been holding wasn’t in his line of sight. She wrapped the cuts into waxed, brown paper and wrote ‘beef’ on each package. He won half a smile when he held up the box for her to toss the packages into.
“Swish! Three points,” he said, winking at her, when the first package landed in the middle of his scavenged supplies. She was still chuckling as she tossed the second one. “Six to nothing! You win!”
She pumped her fist once. “Yes!” she said once her elbow was level with her waist.
They shared a smile and he turned away to finish up his supply run through the bakery. He’d said the right thing that time and didn’t want to ruin the moment by adding anything else.
The words ‘supply run’ got stuck in his mind. Three weeks ago (before the storm warning) he would have called it a trip for groceries, or a run to the market, or stopping off at the store. Today it was a supply run. The words got stuck in his thoughts because that terminology sounded normal. Then again, today’s normal was a four hour wait in line for the few groceries he would leave with and he didn’t even want to think about how late Canna would be getting home after going for water and – hopefully – fish.
The baker handed him the required loaf ration based on the card pinned to his shirt. Two loaves; one for him and one for Canna. Then he gave Dally the usual gift package wrapped up in whatever paper the store had once used for flowers. The gift was sometimes a cake, but usually bland muffins. It was a good thought, though, and appreciated. The baker seemed extra careful with his gift package this week, so Dally hoped for cake.
Canned goods were handed out by the soldier just before exiting. Dally’s ration card said that he could have two cans of hard beans, four cans of fruit, and four cans of vegetables. The soldier filled the card, and then lifted the two loaves of bread to hide a single, sealed cup of fruit salad under them.
“We found the case yesterday,” the soldier said with a smile. “You’re lucky, this is the last one.”
“Oh,” Dally said, his eyebrows pulling the middle of his forehead down.
“You allergic?” the soldier asked.
“No, not me. I just… behind me in the line was an old woman and then a mom and little girl. I think the little girl would like the fruit cup more than me.”
The soldier beamed a smile and took out the fruit cup, tucking it away where he’d first gotten it from.
“I think you just made someone’s day a lot more special,” the soldier said.
“I hope at least a little better,” Dally replied with a shrug.
The guards at the store’s exit confirmed his supplies, marked his ration card with today’s date and the date he’d be allowed to come back to the store, and then he was able to leave. The sunshine felt weird considering the gloom of the store and the quiet of the people on the street outside. Having bright, quiet days after the storm was weird.
After the storm might be a bit of exaggeration, Dally thought as he looked toward the horizon in all directions. The walls of wind and rain rose up to meet angry clouds towering high above any buildings in view. Since the storm had become strangely stationary two and a half weeks ago, only two emergency helicopters had managed to get through to the islands trapped in the middle. That was where the soldiers had come from. Weather all over the world was affected, now. Nobody could explain what was going on.
Why are Authors crazy? I can't answer that, but I can provide bits of my own thoughts so that you can piece together why I may be.