Ohlone College
Creative Writing Stories

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A Living Hell

Page 1

A bear and a rabbit are taking a shit in the woods. The bear turns to the rabbit and asks,
"Do you have a problem with shit sticking to your fur?"
The rabbit thinks for a second, then says, "No, not really. Why do you ask?"
Without saying a word, the bear grabs the rabbit and wipes his ass with him.

Sam Smalls chuckled gently to himself. He had read this joke many times before, but still found it amusing. In fact, he almost turned to the person next to him, who was reading the latest issue of Handguns Quarterly , to offer a retelling of the joke, but opted not to in the end. Instead, Sam put down 101 Dirty Jokes for Blokes and checked his immediate surrounds for any sign of his girlfriend who had wandered off unannounced. She often got lost in these kinds of stores, big superstores that imported cheap goods and undercut the competition with their low prices. Sam's girlfriend was no stranger to this emporium. She walked around head first into the various departments like a kid in a candy store, inspecting the goods and feeling with her hands, her eyes big and docile, as though they were getting sucked out of her head by a large tractor beam. She could be anywhere, Sam thought. No use panicking about it.

Before Sam was finished perusing the periodicals, he was stricken with an overwhelming need to find the men's room. Shopping often did that to him; it was a defense mechanism that he developed while on shopping excursions with his girlfriend, or on the rare and unlucky occasion that his girlfriend's mother came along. Additionally, Sam was weary of the two grande lattes he had drank in a row, both with extra foam. He walked quickly towards the buildings entrance where the men's and women's bathrooms were tucked neatly into the corner. Sam exhaled a sign of relief when he found the bathroom unoccupied, especially the large stall for handicapped people. It's not that Sam needed the extra room or had difficulty getting up from the toilet, he simply like the comfort of "The Bar". The Bar was shiny and silver, and had an infinite depth that Sam could meditate upon. It was strong and absolute, sterile and plain, a pillar of human engineering that was so simple it was beyond comprehension. When available, Sam used the big stall and The Bar to calm himself and restore the Zen-like state of mind he required in order to get out of these shopping excursions with his sanity intact.

Sam knew in the back of his mind that locating his girlfriend within the 10,000 square feet of D.I.Y. consumer-whoring would be difficult. He checked for his cell phone, but had idiotically left it at home. He walked from the foyer down the Women's Apparel isle, toward the Northwest corner of the store. Sam was gifted at orienting himself with the cardinal directions, and spent a minute or so every morning positioning in his mind the points of the compass. As he walked, he looked for any sign of his girlfriend, exposing his eyes to the dry air-conditioning and the bright florescent light--all of which made his eyes tear and lose focus.

As he rounded the first corner, Sam searched his short-term memory for a picture of his girlfriend. Tall, around 5'8", blond, but kinda brown, like golden, maybe red? She was wearing a jacket, or a sweater, blackish grayish blue, jeans or a jean skirt, with flip-flops...or were they sandals? A bead of sweat drew on Sam's upper lip. Scanning the perimeter of the store, Sam swayed his head from left to right, hoping that his girlfriend would catch his attention. To his left, Sam saw several young girls trying on pairs of shoes, and then discarding them carelessly on the floor. Two little boys were sitting on the ground, attacking each other with women's shoes--one with a clog, the other with an open-toe wedge. To his right was a vacant Men's Apparel department, looking very neat and tidy. Sam scooted by the electronics department, never deviating from his course, as he was impenetrable to the lure of the merchandise on the wall. He stayed focused on the task at hand.