Kirk Novak: Sidewalk Noir #1

Based on a true story.

I walked out of my house and turned right. Then I realized I was walking the wrong way to get to Walgreens and turned around to head the other direction. I hit the intersection and turned left again, walking at a fast clip up the sidewalk. The sun burned brightly in the cloudless sky above, rays of light bouncing off the concrete, sparkling like diamonds. I had to slow down as I came up behind a drag queen that was smoking a long, thin cigarette. The trail of smoke was polluting the air with its acrid stench, but she had a really nice ass, so everything kind of evened out.

I hit the Walgreens and sitting out front were two paraplegics sitting next to the automatic doors in motorized wheelchairs begging for change. At least, I think they were begging for change. They’re paraplegics so it is kind of hard to understand what they’re saying to you. The sensors on the doors kept picking up the movement from the wheelchairs and each time one would close it would pop back open. I stood back and waited for an opening and slid into the store without saying a word.

I fumbled through the aisles, perspiring whiskey and beer, and stinking of stale second hand smoke, until I found the box of tampons that I was there to purchase. As I walked up to the checkout lane a grade A piece of white trash with a faded blue flower tattoo on her forearm was buying a dozen bags of Vitner’s potato chips. She was so wasted she was slurring and swaying. It was just after noon.

She was arguing with the clerk because the chips weren’t ringing up at the price she said she saw on a sign in some aisle somewhere in the store. She was wielding the word “honey” with a versatility that told me she was a professional. Eventually it all worked out and everyone was happy. Except for the large queue of people standing in line behind her in the checkout lane. They were unhappy.

I stepped up and the clerk rang up the tampons. I thought about getting cash back, but decided, “Fuck it.” That would have to wait. I had to go to the bathroom pretty bad. As I was getting my receipt from the clerk the automatic door popped open and a loud DONG sound rang throughout the front of the store. I saw who it was, and grabbed my bag of tampons. I didn’t know them.

I slipped through the open doors before they closed again. As I passed under the doorway I tried to clandestinely relieve some of the gaseous pressure building in my bowels. It didn’t work out. I put my head down and shuffled home to change my pants.


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