The Isles of Wal

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic
A traveler's guide to Wal-Mart! All in good fun; there's nothing more entertaining than watching the denizens of Wal-Mart. I hope you enjoy!

Submitted: December 24, 2013

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Submitted: December 24, 2013

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Wal-Mart is, in many ways, much like ancient Greece. It is dotted with aisles filled with strange and wondrous artifacts and populated by fantastic creatures, along with the occasional bandit. Wars of love are fought within its borders, and epic tales of adventure are always emerging from the wilds of its interior. This is a traveler’s guide to the strange and wonderful land known to many only as “the store”.

Upon arriving, you may be alarmed by the parking lot. This craggy, desolate, and arid desert can be intimidating, but take heart; you are nearly within the borders of a strange, backwards paradise. The tall, shadowy figures who haul long lines of carts around in circles are not to be feared. They have had the life sucked from their bones long ago, and will do you no harm. That being said, you will need to put your own cart away when you leave, as these parking lot zombies only move them from one place to another, bound never to enter the realm of Wal-Mart itself. They are the only creatures able to communicate with the flocks of shopping carts. Much like the Bedouins of North Africa, they live nomadic lives with only their flocks of carts for companionship.

After passing through the doors, you will be faced with a trial that you must overcome before entering. A great wind issues from the floor and blocks the way in. These powerful gusts are a security measure imposed to blow any shoplifted items off of escaping criminals before they can get away. There is then a strange creature that watches you as you cross into his domain. He is part Wal-Mart fairy and part parking lot zombie. Although he is not to be feared, pulling his waist length beard is a mistake, as it will wake him from his eternal slumber. Probably. He has never actually been witnessed to stir, but given the length of his beard, it is suspected that he could be roused, were enough force applied to it.

You are now inside Wal-Mart.

As you make your way through the rest of the store, take note of the smells. While on the aisle of laundry supplies, you’ll be assaulted by the floral scents of grapefruit, kiwi fruit, star fruit, jackfruit, breadfruit, eggfruit, fruity fruit, yellow fruit, green fruit, red fruit, blue fruit, fish fruit, and sparkly tropical juice fruit. The profusion of plant life on this sterile aisle is overwhelming, and you will certainly want to pause to take it in. Although very few of the scents in the laundry aisle actually exist in nature, they are often delightful to smell. Beware, however, for if you eat of the laundry detergent, you will never leave the aisle again. Do not tarry; you must move on and continue your quest for the elusive grocery items.

In most stores, things are highly organized. Everything goes exactly where it should, and there are little fairies with name tags reading “K-K”, “Bo”, “Raphaeldo”, and “Queenie” that keep the neat rows of items straight. If anything is moved out of its place, they swoop down out of nowhere, and return the offending items to their appropriate places. In many regions, these fairies grow quite defensive if their young are threatened. Any signs of aggression will warrant a distress call, and soon a pack of customer service fairies descend on the intruder to expel him or her from the store with salvos of niceties and discounts.

In Wal-Mart, however, the fairies are of an entirely different genus, perhaps because they are of an entirely different pay grade, as well. They go to great lengths to avoid bothering customers with passing touches, eye contact, and verbal interaction. Ideally, they stay out of sight, entirely, but that is not always possible, given the unfortunate number of travelers in the store. When forced to engage ornery customers, they spook easily, and will flee at the slightest hint danger. If interrupted while tending to their shelves, they will wander away, slowly, in search of a safe place to sleep, or eat. They can generally be trusted not to cause trouble, though, for it is uncommon to see them doing anything of consequence.

In any case, when wandering the sprawling aisles of Wal-Mart, one can’t help but notice that, while most items are in their places, some seem to have escaped their natal shores. There are some areas that attract wandering items with unusual frequency, like bins of Teddy Grahams. Bins of anything, really, can’t help but look like trash cans. Besides, let’s be honest. If you’ve picked something out at Wal-Mart, and decided it’s not worth buying, by the time you get to the register, you’re ready to throw it away. For that reason, many lost souls are trapped in the haunted forest of Teddy Grahams, forever.

Some have not come far, like the Nike shorts from across the aisle. Others have made long treks across the store, like the tired, old stress ball that was long ago discarded near the checkout line. Even a bottle of Gatorade, young, and in its prime, has been ensnared in the dark forest of the Teddy Grahams. The origins of these items vary widely, and one can only guess as to the far off lands from which they hail. Perhaps the pair of panties and extra large jar of Nutella are parts of a long lost civilization, sunk beneath the waves like Atlantis. Maybe the monolith in the center, a large butterfly net, was constructed by aliens in ages past. Regardless of where they come from, all will remain there for eternity, or until someone buys a bin of Teddy Grahams. Whichever comes first.

The stuff of legends, there are some items that manage to move themselves without the help of a roving shopper. For instance, you might see a shoe hanging from a clearance rack of shirts. The rascally escapee has already abandoned its barcode, and left its mate for dead. Alone, unmarked, and worn out from its journey, it lies defeated on a lonely aisle, far from home. Its tragic tale will be remembered through the ages, and the struggle it survived to reach the aisle of shirts could well earn it a place there, forever. The Wal-Mart fairies often leave misplaced items where they lie, in order to memorialize them.

Sometimes, there may even be an outsider hiding in the store, spying on its enslaved brethren. Brought in and left by thoughtless humans, they drift about and confuse items for sale, shoppers, and even the Wal-Mart fairies, themselves. The dreaded “opened bottle of Coke” is one such menace. Feared by shoppers, and avoided by unmotivated staff, they can remain untouched for ages. They are often set down behind large items on shelves, so as not to be noticed, and abandoned. There they sit, peeking out at passersby. The travelers who do notice them simply give them a look, and push them further out of sight. To those who know their true purpose, however, the mysterious bottles of Coke hold far more than flat soda. Perhaps a secret message is to be found under the cap lying nearby, or maybe the stains from the spilled liquid are a form of ancient cave art. For the truly observant, there may be a map hidden in the placement of the many bottles spread throughout the store. Why they are not thrown in the trash bin of Teddy Grahams, we will never know, but by some mysterious power, they remain untouched on the shelves for some secret society to glean messages from.

I can only wish you the best of luck in finding what you’re actually looking for.

When, at long last, you are ready to leave, you must brave the final trial of Wal-Mart. Whether or not you choose to answer the riddles of the self checkout machine is your choice, but there is no easy way to leave. You could attempt to wake the sleeping cashier dragon, but then you risk disaster if you’ve found a fruit that the he or she can’t identify. It is comforting to know, however, that if you’ve forgotten to buy a tabloid magazine, an eight foot strip of beef jerky, or a bunch of bananas, you can just take them from the shelf next to the register. Finally, with your cart loaded, you will be propelled by the wind at the door, and sail out into the blistering heat of the parking lot. Thus, your journey is complete, and your quest to master the aisles of ancient Wal-Mart at an end.


© Copyright 2020 Dionisio. All rights reserved.

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