Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Chosen - Chapter 3e by Nova

"What do you think?" I asked Sharon. Shall we go see what he is talking about?"

"Sure. You first."

As we walked towards the check out counters I asked her "Hey. You're the General. Aren't you supposed to lead?" I was only half joking too.

 Her answer? "You're right. I will next time."

It didn't matter because we were already standing at the end of the aisle looking at the checkout counters. All twelve of them. Every single one of them except for one had been converted to self service. No more cashier jobs.  The guy who had walked past us was helping a customer with her machine. I saw another Safeway person standing there in the last human run checkout. He was ignoring an old lady who trying to get his attention. She was having problems with her automated check out too. Two other machines were busy. All of this was being watched by an unarmed security guard who looked sound asleep while still managing to stand upright.

I looked at the machines and saw the hand of the DEVIL working through Safeway.  The DEVIL...oh yes. I sniffed the air for any tell tale scents of his passing. All I smelled was produce gone bad and floor wax. No matter. He had been here. I walked towards the machine in front of me. No one was using it.  I looked around. Didn't they understand?  I jumped up on top of it and balanced myself. "Scan this Devil!" I thought and raised my arms in the air. Below me I heard Sharon asking me "What the fuck are you doing?"  I ignored her. It was time. Yes it was time. HE was coming. HE was coming into ME!  HE KNEW!  I threw my head back and screamed! The power was intense. The feeling HE generated lit up my nervous system like the Fourth of July.

I had everyone's attention. This I knew without looking. I looked up at the sky, well, actually the ceiling and screamed "The LORD knows! Then I gazed directly into the eyes of the woman who had been trying to get someone to help her. Well, I was here to do exactly that.  I thrust my arm out, my finger pointing directly at her, and said "You!  You're having problems aren't you?" She nodded her head. "Why? Because it's a machine not a PERSON! Why isn't it a person? Because THEY want to replace us with MACHINES!  WHY? Because they want more money to stuff into their already over flowing wallets. Do THEY care about us? Hell no. They are the DEVILS spawn. THEY want us to be slaves to their machines. THEY want us to worship them! THEY want everything we have and when we give it to them they throw us into the streets!  THEY are evil. Their machines are EVIL. What THEY have done is wrong! Wrong!" I lowered my voice and looked around. One of the people who had been checking their groceries had a camera out and was filming me. Probably one of HIS agents.  I didn't have time to deal with it.

I lowered my voice. I looked them and asked "You know this isn't right don't you." I saw a couple of heads nod including the woman I had focused on.  "Then go out of here and think about it. Think about how we can smash the machine together in the name of the LORD!" Then I jumped off my perch and pulled GUN. I had to do that because the security guard was standing at the end of the scanner telling me "Sir! Sir! You need to get down now please." He stepped back after I jumped. Probably because I almost landed on him. GUN probably helped too.  I told him "Go stand against the wall and don't move or reach for your cell." He said "Yes Sir" and walked backwards to the wall his hands up. I told him irritably  "Put your hands down you fool. This isn't a robbery." 

I looked around for Sharon. She was standing there looking stunned. "Get out SWORD Sharon!"  I thought "Damn. Maybe she needs to start over at Private and work her way up."  I look at GUN. I looked at the scanner screen. I felt the weight of GUN in my hand. GUN was heavy and made out of iron or something ironish looking. I lashed out with it into the screen. It didn't shatter like I expected. It wasn't glass as much as fake glass. "That figures" I thought. So I smashed it again an again.  Then I moved on to the next one. As I did I yelled "KILL a machine! Save a job!" I began repeating it. It felt good. Especially when I shouted  the "KILL" part. When I finished the fourth one I looked around. Sharon was hacking away at one of the scanners and laughing like crazy. I beginning to think she was a little off. Everyone else was gone. Everyone except the guy at the only human register.  He was watching and he looked like he was enjoying it. At least he was smiling which my guess was something he didn't do a lot of lately.

He told me "You two best haul ass. Abdul is out there talking on his cell and I doubt if it's his Mom."  Sure enough I looked out the big glass windows and saw Abdul staring back in, talking and waving his free hand around like he was excited about something.

"Sharon!" I had to yell it twice to get her attention. "Time to go!'"

I told Check Out Man "Thanks. May the Lord bless you."  I thought about making some kind of hand gesture as a blessing but I didn't want to look like one of the Devils boy humpers.  He grinned and said "Go out the back door. Just go straight back through the double swinging doors."

"Come on Sharon." She had quit hacking but was still laughing as she joined me. We started running towards the back. Behind us I heard Check Out Man yell "Thanks for shopping at Safeway!" I could still hear his laughter as went through the double doors.


  1. ummmmmmmmm I think you foooowed big time. He gave GUN to Sharon in a previous installment and she put it in her purse. He has SWORD, not her.
    Iam N.

  2. installment 3EEEEEEEE?

  3. Gotta love SlaveWay. I was a minor clerk there for a few months about 25 years ago. The big boss leans on your boss and promises that he will keep his job if production/sales increases next quarter, so asst. mngrs are "meetinged" (more like hypnotized) to attempt to make helper clrks work faster/harder and jr. clrks (underage) work off the clock (even if it's just for 15 minutes before/after work) to reduce "labor hours". Checkers are the only "real people" who get paid a real wage (but only if they are Tier1, meaning with the union before 1985) and had some union support against overwork, but the robot-checkouts have their jobs now. Once everything is RFID, you will just wave your card, punch id-code and basket will check itself out. Only shoplifting seems to keep the company staffing people in grocery stores. "Security" is a funny joke at Safeway. They hire the low-bid-co who hire overweight/out-of-shape/low-awareness losers who can't seem to wash their black polyester monkey suits. Someone has to guard the cigarette carton case and do perimeter checks.

    The future of groceries is suburban mass-volume wholesalers like MegaCostCo and little high-security/high-price urban stores with a cage between you and the clerk/groceries. Think Korean-Mart in Central Los Angeles, but with variety of ethnicities. In Portland, we have a new grocery chain that doesn't stock cigarettes or beer/wine and no brands that advertise. I wouldn't be surprised if a big church owned them. Betcha they have less loss and less security cost without booze and smokes. As taxes on smokes make a pack $10, gangs will target stores for a trunkload of cartons at gunpoint. How long would it take to sell a trunkload of brand name cartons to smokers at $10/carton? (as fast as you could count the money).


  4. pdxr13,

    Yeah. That was my impression too. If they could find a way to get rid of everyone they would. Most grocery stores, the chains, only have one FT employee now. The manager.

    At $10 a carton? I think you would be mobbed now. It wasn't all that uncommon for trucks to get jacked once upon a time who had cigs as cargo.

  5. Well Nova, this one is slowly growing on me. :-)
    "thanks for shopping safeway" made me smile.

  6. maybe it could read 'pulled GUN out of Sharon's purse' just so that it fits the backstory.

    - and, they forgot to grab some food in all the excitement. Winning hearts and minds is all good but keeping the hole in the middle filled is priority one.