A Certified Organic Murder
March 11, 2009 in Wordsmoker Short Fiction
Dave Groak had barely turned on the opening lights at Spirit ‘n’ Save when he saw it: a plume of steam, rising from the top of the organic frozen foods cooler. The white cloud floated briefly above the soy candles and the eco friendly potato chips, then dissipated into the air.
Too much food is crammed into that thing again.
He attached a BUDDHA-FUL BARGAINS? ASK ME flair on his apron’s right strap, rubbing his own balding head in contemplation.
One day the entire refrigeration unit is going to explode, and it will take customers down with it.
He smiled at the thought of death, spreading like a shadow above the ungrateful consumers of macrobiotic-to-go dinners and total colon cleanses. Not that he was one of those psychos that shoot up the workplace; no, Dave was a real American, and therefore strived to be a decent citizen. But he believed fear, or at least shame, might do these customers some good. All of the men with their uncombed hair who spent hundreds of dollars on massage oil but never a simple, black barber’s comb. All of those women who went to the yoga classes held in the back of the store, wearing skimpy shorts and carrying their mats around like magic carpets, waiting to commune with Oough! The store yoga instructor. Dave had secretly checked employee records. Oough!’s real name was Steve White.
His mother didn’t give him that name. Just stupid.
Fifteen years ago Oough! was a marketing major at Cal Northridge. Now he was Spirit n’ Save’s full-time yoga instructor, teaching the hot and lonely stay-at-home Moms in the neighborhood how to downward dog. Dave’s latest encounter with Oough! was typical.
“Hey, Dude. Where’s the horny goat weed?”
A wave of Oough’s bad morning breath hit Dave right in the face.
“Check the herbal counter,” Dave replied, returning to an angry customer who was trying to return calendula cellulite cream. No, man, of course don’t give me a thank you, just that half-assed nod and stoned permagrin.
Dave remembered watching as the herbalist on duty, Willow, gave Oough! a smile and laughed at something stupid that he said. The recollection made Dave slam the change rolls into the opening drawers.
This is such a crock. Why am I actually WORKING here when that faker doesn’t do anything but show up stoned at noon, then bend over in public?
In his favorite game of all time, Overlord III, Dave had named his female Helpmeet Willow. Dave wanted to clamber up Willow’s guardgate in real life. He already had countless times in Level 12. The Helpmeet’s on screen image had large pointy breasts and a chain around her neck-details which Dave found very disrespectful. If he knew how to modify Willow’s avatar he would make her breasts smaller and not so pointy. Willow the Helpmeet would wear a loose fitting organic cotton wrap, like she did in real life, and of course there would be no chains around her neck. Her real life wouldn’t consist of being trapped in an organic grocery forty hours a week, answering questions about herb concoctions for the genitalia. Willow would be free!
Suddenly screams echoed from the end aisle. Spiralchaser, the opening cashier, was on her knees in front of the cooler. Soggy organic spelt crust pizzas littered the floor.
“Oh my Goddess-he’s-he’s–”
That’s when Dave saw Oough!’s dead body stuffed inside the freezer, his legs carefully folded into the lotus position.
TO BE CONTINUED…