A voice said ‘Welcome shoppers. You may find
me in a translucent longneck shampoo bottle. Or
in that fancy new and improved can. Or maybe
in that organic chicken by the redder than red
ruby tomato stand. It’s a great day to pursue
Happiness. So many possibilities. Happy hunting.’
Turning to the woman who was fingering a Clairol,
I said, ‘Yes, I believe he’s in there. You’ve found
him.’ But she just stared at my raincoat like I was
someone homeless or crazy or both. ‘No, no. I’m
an actor. I’ve just come from the set. I’m playing
Peter Falk.’ And before I could say one more thing…
she headed straight for the Manager, who was saying
‘Spill on Aisle 12’ and sure enough that’s where I
was. Quickly, I decided maybe they hadn’t heard
what I had coming from the loudspeaker and made
my way out of there. I found myself in the drive-thru
at Starbucks. ‘Yes, I would like a large Café Latte.’
When suddenly there was a hush, all the mixers
stopped grinding, the noise in the background
came to a halt, as if I had committed some large
invisible Violation that only a fool would do.
I could see the Pigs roll across the bottom of
the screen of mind just like they used to do
when I was kid watching Hee Haw.
‘Sir, we do not carry Large.’
‘Oh ok, I said. How about a small?’
‘Sir, we do not carry Small.’
‘How bout an extra large?’
‘Sir, we have Tall, Grande and Venti.
I’m afraid you only get three chances.
And now I’m gonna have to ask you to leave.’
Having struck out at both Kroger and Starbucks,
I was now feeling rather dejected when I saw
a Chinese fellow walking in circles by the side
of the road, passing out free fortune cookies,
looking rather lost. ‘Get in,’ I said. He did.
And began to tell me how he had spent a whole
week’s earnings so that he could be in line
to go through the first Golden Arches in Shanghai
but somehow ended up here. ‘Kind Sir, can
you help me? I’d really like a Happy Meal.’
Just then a voice says: ‘You’re free to move
about the country.’ ‘Oh, yes,’ I reply.
‘Buckle up. Hold on.’