When a trip to the store is more than shopping.
|The man is neatly dressed in khaki slacks and a beige polo shirt and stands quietly in line at the supermarket. He glances over the manager’s cubicle to his right, at a calendar on the wall. September 11, 2011. The man allows himself a small smile. Ten years.
The woman in line ahead of him completes her transaction. The man unloads his shopping cart onto the conveyer belt, then moves quickly to the end of the check stand and begins bagging his own groceries. He has brought his own bags. One is recyclable and green, the deep green on the flag of his native land. The green bag holds another smaller bag, under which nestles a brick of C-4 explosive with a detonator plunged into it, like an arrow sunk into soft flesh. The man places a triple package of bell peppers into the green bag, followed by a bulky round of country levain bread in a paper wrapper and a large, spreading head of Romaine lettuce. He grasps the bag by the strap at the top on each side and hoists the bag carefully into his shopping cart. He fills the rest of his bags, loads them into the cart, pays cash for his purchases, and wheels the cart toward the exit.
“Do you need some help out, sir?” a clerk at the door asks.
“Why?” the man asks abruptly. “Do you need to inspect my groceries?”
The clerk frowns in momentary confusion, then smiles and says, “No, no need for that. This isn’t the airport.” The man walks past the clerk, lifts the green bag from the cart and places it down behind a stack of empty grocery baskets. No, he thinks, as he walks quickly out. No, it’s not.
(Word count: 292)