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Original stories by Shmolnick that humorously explore the dark side of humanity.

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Welcome to Wal-Mart

And so it was a bitter old Shmolnick who slowly dragged himself out of bed that morning to prepare for another four-hour shift as a Wal-Mart greeter.

It took the old man longer to get ready these days. There were all the prescriptions he had to take for a variety of ailments; the paltry medical benefits he received from his employer were the main reason he had to keep working. Then there were all the aches and pains that plagued him each morning: the lower back, the shoulder, the knee, the hip. Depending on the weather pattern, any one or more of these symptoms helped Shmolnick greet the day.

The old man looked at himself in the mirror expressionless. “Shoulda definitely eaten a gun decades ago,” he said, dispirited.

In truth, old Shmolnick really didn’t look all that bad for his seventy-four years. He still had all his hair, now turned thin and silver by age, and his face was reasonably unwrinkled. He had the familiar paunch, which despite his best efforts, he’d never been able to eliminate. His teeth were his own as well, another lucky break. But he felt old and went through this last part of his life without much hope.

“One foot in front of the other, Shmolnick,” he told himself, and forced himself to shower, shave and clean up. A bowl of Tastee Bran for Seniors served as a filling but unsatisfying meal as the Computavision blared the morning White House briefing that served as news. More war, more job cuts, more tax cuts for the wealthy, a pattern established long ago under the second of four Bush presidents.

He knew well enough to turn the annoying box off though, before he felt his blood pressure rise to dangerous levels. In truth, old Shmolnick no longer cared. He was just going through the motions. He farted several times as he painfully dressed, frowning with dissatisfaction at the homely blue Wal-Mart vest he was forced to wear.

“So this is what I’ve come to,” he thought.

His sense of impatience, always strong, had grown stronger with the bitterness of old age. At the bus stop, the old man checked his watch several times and paced back and forth muttering angrily at the failure of public transportation to meet even the simplest of scheduling requirements, much to the amusement of the younger passengers.

The late bus deposited Shmolnick at Wal-Mart, his place of employment these last two years. Of course, he clocked in five minutes late. Carmelita Lopez, the pretty but abrasive twenty-two year old assistant manager who was his immediate supervisor, watched the old man clock in.

“Yo Shmolnick, you’re late again. I’m goeen to have to dock your pay,” she said, secretly delighting in harrassing the old white man. Carmelita hated white people and frequently took her anger out on the old fools who worked as store greeters. Carmelita could get away with this abusive style of management because she’d been sleeping with Todd, the store manager, for six months now. She was protected.

And anyway, store greeters were a dime a dozen. “Remember old man,” she said quietly with a sneer, “I could get a fuckeen monkey to do your job.” She jabbed a painted nail at the old man for emphasis.

“Yes Ms. Lopez,” replied Shmolnick, gritting his teeth to keep his own anger in check. He needed this job. “Sorry about being late, it won’t happen again.”

“It better not, you stupit ol’ man.” She laughed and walked away, off to start a conversation about the latest party she’d attended with a female co-worker.
Shmolnick frowned and reported to his post at the front of the store. Five minutes to opening time. “God I hate this job,” he thought, smoothing his blue vest.

He took up his familiar station at the front of the giant retail store and waited for the doors to open to the throngs of shoppers looking to save twenty-five cents on some useless household item.

“Welcome to Wal-Mart,” he muttered to himself bitterly.


© 2006 Michael S. Cohen

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The material in this section is intended for adults only, and even then, not for the faint-hearted. You can expect extreme weirdness, excessive sex, violence, and a host of horrors, albeit presented for humorous effect.

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