Entry Ninety-one: Adam Mahoney, You Just Won!

[The next many entries are the current story I am working on. This is twenty-one of who knows how many will be posted. Enjoy it while it lasts...]

Adam steered the Volvo toward the hardware store, turning left at the end of his street, the opposite way he’d traveled earlier in the week to find groceries. Gus Phelps had owned the only hardware store in town until a few years ago, before Lowe’s had deemed his small Georgia town worthy of a Superstore. He wanted to explore the Phelps store first because it was closer and he was more familiar with the location of the stock. Whether out of loyalty to Gus or lack of need for much in the way of hardware, he had shopped very little at Lowe’s. Gus had an older gentleman that worked for him who was a master at mixing paint and that was all Adam ever needed besides a few nails or screws for hanging pictures; Phelps Hardware filled his needs just fine. He was thinking about how he was going to break into the store when he passed a small strip mall, relatively new, still with a few empty storefronts. What caught Adam’s eye was the store on the far end, the contents of which relegated all of his goodwill and plans for home repair to the trash pile. The local Blockbuster video store, lit up and almost glowing, suddenly reminded him he could use his television for more than just watching long gone broadcast shows; he could play rented movies on his DVD player. He engaged his turn signal and made a right into the strip mall parking lot, making a beeline for the video store. There were a couple of cars scattered throughout the parking lot—probably belonging to the employees, former employees—but overall it was desolate. He parked at the front door and walked right into the store, a benefit of visiting a store that had never closed. He began circulating through the aisles, trying not to succumb to what usually happened to him when he attempted to rent movies, which was forgetting what he had been wanting to see once inundated with all the choices in the store. To try and avoid that happening he had taken to writing the names of the movies down on a piece of paper he kept in his wallet but, after digging around and not finding it, he was on his own. He took a deep breath and decided to start with the section full of new releases. After five minutes of looking he had only found a couple of movies he wanted to see and was carrying them as he walked and scanned for more. Unsuccessful, he decided his two selections would suffice and he turned to leave. As he was about to walk through the door he realized how short-sighted he was being by only taking two movies. “Why limit myself? No minimum, no late fees and if I start watching a movie and it’s terrible, so what? I pop in another!” He leaned over the counter and found a box of plastic bags and grabbed several. He started walking the aisles, taking a movie off the shelf and bagging it if he was even remotely interested in watching it. He acted like a contestant in a game show with only 35 seconds to grab as many items as he could hold, barely looking at titles, his main motivation driven by the design and photograph on the front of the case more than the content. It didn’t take long for him to fill up 15 bags with movies and, although he could have taken everything in the store home that day, he decided he had enough to entertain him for several days. He could always come back and “rent” more.

The prospect of watching movies, being entertained, excited him so much he cancelled his trip to the hardware store and drove straight home. He dumped the contents of all the bags onto the living room floor, forming one large pile, and began to sort them by levels of importance. He cleared a space along one of the walls and began lining up the cases, titles facing out for easy reference. The ones he most wanted to see were first and then he lined up the rest in order of descending relevance. He laughed at some of the selections, weird choices that in normal circumstances he would not have even glanced at in the store. “But these are not normal circumstances, far from it, so it’s good to expand my taste a bit, at least when it comes to what I watch.” When he was finished organizing, he put some popcorn in the microwave, poured a glass of sweet tea and made sure he had a full supply of cigarettes stacked on the coffee table. “It’s liable to be a long night.” And he laughed.

All words and images ©2006/J. Colle

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