2. Your Convenience

A Document Extracted From The Portal. Possibly The Second Chapter Of A Book.

“Ok. What the hell?” I thought as I pushed the hazy glass door of the convenience store open and walked inside.

My carefree stroll and my presence in the present were no more. I now thought to myself, “Where am I? Is the fruit not edible here? Do I look dirty? What has happened?”

Confused by the current situation, I took the man’s advice. I grabbed a donut, a candy bar and headed to the soda section. Before making it five steps, I tripped quickly catching my balance. I looked back to see that the corner of one of the tannish brown vinyl floor tiles had folded over on itself grabbing at my toe as I passed.

I squinted trying to see into the refrigerator. The dull florescent light above the display hissed and flickered. This, coupled with the dew on the inside of the refrigerator door, made it difficult to see the labels on the beverages. “Um. Green,” I thought, only being able to distinguish colors. I opened the door and grabbed a lukewarm, “Green drink,” out of the room temperature refrigerator, catching a whiff of what can only be described as sour milk. The soda bottle stuck to my hand. I looked and saw brown syrupy drip lines running down the side of the bottle.

I walked to the counter. “Good Morning,” I said to the woman on the other side. She was a black woman about 30 years old. She had beautiful brown braids with tints of either silver or white weaved in. They were tight on her head and were pulled back in a pony tail. She chewed gum. She raised her eyebrows and nodded her head forward once in acknowledgment of my comment, never once looking at me. Instead she moved her gaze from her phone, to the counter, to my products.

“Should I tell her that her hair is beautiful,” I wondered. “No. Don’t do that. She doesn’t want to be bothered.”

She said something to me. I couldn’t make it out through the half inch thick glass between us. “What was that?” I asked, moving my ear closer to the small communication hole. At least I assumed that’s what it was, even though it appeared to be clogged up with some sort of round metal device with paper thin slits.

“Maybe the slits help project the volume?” I thought, but probably not.

“Bag.” She said.

I looked at her. “What?” I quickly asked, before turning my ear to the hole thinking I had misheard.

“Bag.” She said again.

I looked at her. She finally looked up at me. “Come on! You want a bag or what man?” She snapped at me.

“Oh. Uh sure. Thanks,” I said. Thinking she must be having a bad day, I added, “I love your braids. They’re beautiful.”

“You trying to flirt with me? Why don’t you just pay for your things. Eight dollars.” I only had three and some change.

“Eight? I only have three.” She just stared at me. After about six seconds of awkward silence and staring, I said, “I’ll just take the donut.”

We exchanged money. She gave me a large plastic bag, which I placed my donut, which was already in a much more appropriately sized small plastic bag, inside of.

“Maybe don’t forget your credit card next time fancy man. Who do you think is gonna put this all back,” She added as I made my way out. For some reason, that comment made it through the metal filter hole much clearer than the previous.

“Thank you,” I remarked and pushed out the door.

Note: It Is Possible That This Document Is Related Chronologically To, “1. A Walk In The Park,” A Document Extracted From The Portal.

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