The Store - a short story

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

A writing about a young woman's experience in life. I'm not sure if I submitted this one already.


Helen stepped into the bright white store with this cheery elevator music playing over the speakers.




What an upbeat tune, Helen thought.


Helen walked through the store some more and realized it was a grocery store. When Helen looked for a cart to carry Helen’s food, Helen noticed Helen was already pushing one. It had a loose wheel.


Squeak Squeak


That’s annoying- maybe I can get a new one. Helen looked around and noticed the other patrons. They were all pushing carts full of meat, cheese, and bread. Their carts wheels were well oiled. Heln turned to an employee and asked for a new cart.




Heln looked back at the other patrons and noticed they all had quaint smiles. Oh so very quaint, their little smiles. They were all looking directly at Heln as they passed by.


Did That just ask for a new cart?

It doesn’t like the cart the Store gave It?


Heln kept pushing the cart.




Squeak Squeak


Hen came upon the cereal aisle. The shelves stretched up infinitely. So many choices. Which one do you pick? They come in two flavors- whole grain cheerios, or normal cheerios. Hen suddenly felt frustrated.


I don’t want cheerios… I want Life cereal.


Voice said


You want Life?




We don’t offer LIFE to your kind.


My kind?




New what?






He grabbed the whole wheat. He pushed his cart.


Squeak Squeak


He came to the meat freezer.


Hello! He said.



The Deli Man grabbed a small chunk of grisly pork, wrapped it up, and threw it into He’s cart.


How do you know I want that?


Because you do.


No, I want the chicken- the same chicken you’ve been giving to the Other Patrons.


You’re ungrateful?




You’re ungrateful.


No… I-


I gave you the pork. Are you ungrateful? I took the time to put it in there, to wrap it up. STOP HOLDING UP THE LINE! Others want food too! ARE YOU UNGRATEFUL?


No! I’m sorry- I’ll go.






He felt shame and frustration. He wanted to show gratitude to the Store that took him in, but he was frustrated because he was not seen as an equal. The pork started to stink in his cart. He eventually came upon the bread and cheese portion of the store. There were rows and rows of cheeses- they were endless.  The Store would never run out of any brand, yet there were many, many men here. All in suits and ties. They were greedily taking their arms and grabbing massive amounts of cheese and stuffing it into their overflowing carts. They fought amongst themselves and knocked each other’s carts over as they tried to fill their respective carts until they overflowed- but then it would get knocked over and they would start over again.








The sound of the Store’s music no longer seemed nice and cheery, but overwhelming and foreboding. It sounded like a million desperate souls trying to cling to the top as the STORE pulls them down.








He saw a woman rush in with a child strapped to her cart’s seat and she tried to get some of the never ending shelved cheese, but the Men In Suits immediately stopped and pushed her down and tipped over her cart and was crushed under the throng of Men grabbing more.






He then saw the rest of the women in the store. They were on their knees taking the cheese that’s been knocked out of overflowing carts then leaving- usually with not enough to sustain themselves. When one tried to get more she would just be crushed by the Men and never seen under the building pile of cheese. He felt strange. He felt like he needed to get in on this. He tried to fill his cart full, but soon after He started He felt sick.


Sick of yourself






He took a reasonable amount of cheese and left.






The Men In Suits did not bother him. He came upon the bread. There was only one kind, and there was very, very little of it. It looked welcoming and kind and when he grabbed a loaf it felt warm. There’s so little of it, He thought. He looked around. No one was going for the any of the bread. They only wanted the cold, stale cheese. When he turned around to grab more bread he saw there was none left, even though he only took one loaf.




He pushed his cart




and left the aisle.


He came to the check out line and it was long. So long. There was an electronic sign flashing numbers at a constantly changing rate.


The Wait Time Is:


30496015200 endless.  50204991 endless. 6124212 pointless.


He was in the line for months. He had to eat all the food in the cart. He never noticed the line move but he eventually got to the front of the line. There were no more People left in the store, just the cashier.


Welcome to the End.


He was old now




He thought








What is your name?


He realized He did not know the answer. He never noticed when He lost that part of Himself.


Or Herself?


He realized He did not know his-her own gender.

Of Himself.


Or Herself?’


I’ll put your name down as Unimportant. What’s your gender?


Can’t you see it? He whispered.


Your gender?






Do you know my age? He asked


We know your age.




You were here when there were people in the Store, now they’re all gone. That’s how We know.




We- the Store.


The cashier looked into the cart.


Where’s your food?


I ate it- I had to. I would’ve died waiting in line.


You used it all up?




We’ll charge you for everything you ate in line, and an inconvenience fee.


Inconvenience fee?


The inconvenience of using it all up before you left.




The Store.


I can LEAVE?


Not until you pay.


Here. He threw his wallet down at the cashier. The cashier peeked into the wallet.


Thank you sir, that covers your stay entirely.


The cart was gone.


I can LEAVE?


Yes, please leave.


All this? I gave all this, and now it’s time to leave?




I spent my Life up in this store!




The Store spent my Life on Itself!




My Life is the store!




I am part of the Store!




I am the Store.



He left. He walked into the parking lot with no cars. The car that left him there was gone, thought he does not remember it. He did not remember the Store. He remembered nothing. All He knew was back in the store, and as soon as he left he was a shell.

He was in the Parking Lot


How do I leave?






The Store sat there- in the middle of the Parking Lot.


The Reality in Limbo.


The Reality that if you Leave Reality,

You are in Limbo.


The Store takes away what you had, replaces thoughts with lies and desires incoherently.


It gives You to Limbo.


Who was he?





Submitted: January 10, 2012

© Copyright 2020 amnesiac. All rights reserved.

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Add Your Comments:


Jacob Townsend

Cool, I'm not sure if it's a metaphor of consumer driven culture and capitalism, or maybe that's just my own baggage I'm bringing to the table, but it's got a neat progression and a steady beat. The internal logic reminds me a bit of the opening to "The Trial".

Tue, January 10th, 2012 7:58pm


Thank you for reading my writing. I'm glad someone actually read it, let alone comment. Was there anything you didn't like about the writing?

Tue, January 10th, 2012 2:14pm

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