microfiction: Behind Glass

The first time he shoplifted condoms was in 1992, when the Kroger was still a Fred Meyer (but long after it stopped being a Tidyman’s after it stopped being a Waremart) and the video rental store across the parking was named after Howard Hughes.  It was also the first grocery store he frequented that stayed open 24-hours; in fact, he had applied for a graveyard job there his first full summer in town, and was offered said job, but quickly turned it down after discovering there would be a piss test.

The last time he stole condoms was just a few minutes ago, but it wasn’t from a KrogerMeyerTidyWare.  Nor was it from one of Joe Albertson’s supermarkets (the ones getting shuttered up all over the area that still have in-store VHS rental business ((oddly enough, right next to Red Box DVD vending machines)), the ones where the produce pricetags are still drawn with thick black markers on slick white posterboard ((instead of chalk on chalkboard)), the ones where the condoms are kept locked in a glass cabinet in the pharmacy, high above the multivitamin supplements, antacid tablets and chocolate-covered laxative pills), or one of dozen or so gas stations in the 5-mile stretch of highway between his whatever job and nightmare house.


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