The Wolf of Walmart by Mary Crosbie
In the exciting future, Walmart rolls back their prices so low, that every other store closes its doors forever. Walmart’s slogan becomes: “Prices so low, you don’t want know how we do it.”
Flat-screen TV’s, retail value $799.99: They sell them for five bucks.
Laundry detergent, regularly $8.99: At Walmart? A nickel!
It’s a huge game-changer. So huge, in fact, schools also close forever because everyone has to shop all the time.
Barbie Dream House and Car: Just thirteen dirty pennies!
Dyson vacuum: a buck fifty!
Everyone shopping, shopping. But everyone dying a lot, too.
There are daily stampedes.
Ambulances can’t get through the garbage piles, and the hospitals are abandoned because the doctors are playing the Xbox 720 with real guns, only $9.99!
Most of my family died in the freezer aisle last Autumn. Frozen entrees, as much as you can carry, one dollar. My Aunt sure loved creamy shrimp gumbo, and asked us to help her carry her load. My job was to stay home and eat out some room in our industrial-sized freezer. Lot of Hungrymans, fifty for a dime, that I had to clear out. My parents, my Aunt, and my little deformed cousins queued up, arms clutching the gumbo so tightly, that they all died of exposure in the long line to checkout.
Walmart handled their funerals. Coffins were just twelve bucks a head. Candles were free with purchase of Sunny Delight seventy-two pack. It was a really tasteful affair. They didn’t gouge me.
So, it’s just me now. I got a boat for twenty bucks. I haven’t taken her out yet but the GPS tells me open water is five Walmarts away.
Helicopters woke me up this morning, loudspeaker screaming about the massive sale on hot dogs. I had a seizure! Hot dogs? HOT DOGS? Three hundred hot dogs for ninety-nine cents! I only had two dozen hot dogs left in my second fridge, which had been really bothering me.
But the thing was, there’s a wolf at my Walmart now. And it’s been killing people. I saw the wolf descend on a family of twelve yesterday in patio furniture, whole set, $5.99, umbrella included. Wolf tore the trachea out of the Granny. Then he snapped the Daddy’s head clean off. He laid out amid the carnage, on the chaise longue, lapping blood off his paws while the remaining family wept, and the Walmart staff had to mop it up, so nobody slipped.
Walmart has tried to kill the wolf, but it’s fast and people are slower in the future and can’t walk because of the all the diabetes. Diabetes is big in the future. I had to buy a self-amputation foot spa kit for $29.99 with replaceable blades included, and a stylish tote bag. My left leg is completely gone. I use a Swiffer WetJet to hold myself up. I was no match for that wolf. But damn it if I could resist three hundred hot dogs. And I always needed toilet paper, 1200 rolls, a dime! How do they do it? I don’t want to know.
I ate a box of popsicles for breakfast, and headed out on my Swiffer, clearing a path, collecting debris as I went. It was fifty feet to the Walmart entrance. It was going to take hours to get there. The sun burned my flesh until it cracked and bled. I could see the doors. I could also see floaters in my eyes. I needed an Insulin Twinkie. Why did that take so long to invent?
I could hear people screaming. I wondered if they were running out of hot dogs. I felt an emotion well up inside me. Say I didn’t get any hot dogs today? Why did bad things happen to me? Tears stung my eyes.
But then I could see that it was the wolf making people scream. The wolf was at the front doors, like a Walmart greeter. “Welcome to Walmart”, but he was biting everyone.
“Good,” I said. “While the wolf bites everyone, I will use the side entrance and get hot dogs. No one used the side entrance anymore because it was an extra twenty Swiffs away. But I’ll take a heart attack brought on by exertion over a wolf any day. No brainer!”
And, right on cue, the wolf bit these teenagers brains out, cracking their skulls like walnuts, then scooping out their brains like he was digging a hole.
I Swiffed away, leaving the wolf to gorge on teens.
I got to the side entrance about an hour later. I had to push really hard to open the door. The wolf had left some disemboweled businessmen lying around, blocking my way.
I Swiffed over to aisle seven, graceful as the lady in the Swiffer commercial. And right before me, standing ten-feet high, were my hot dogs! You didn’t even have to refrigerate these ones! I grabbed a pack and sprung one loose right away, biting into that hot dog, feeling the delicious snap of intestinal lining, sinking my teeth into meaty mystery. What is in a hot dog? I don’t want to know, but I think it’s Jesus!
Swiffing and chewing, I got to the checkout. The cashier had blood spatter on her blue apron, but she was smiling. That’s the law.
“Is this all you’re getting?” she asked with serious concern.
“What did I miss?” I asked, suddenly so scared and empty inside.
“Pineapple rings,” she whispered. “One penny.”
I couldn’t even remember what a pineapple ring was, but one penny?
“Where?” I screamed, spitting hot dog particles into the still-smiling cashier’s face.
“Aisle 5,” she smiled, her tongue licking a bit of hot dog away, discretely.
I Swiffed as fast as I could to aisle 5 and filled my arms with pineapple rings. They were yellow and sweet and I bit into them, and was filled with tropical joy.
And the wolf was there waiting for me, eyes glowing red, tail wagging.
The wolf had me by the throat in seconds. He shook me.
And that’s when I saw the batteries on sale for negative five cents.
How do they do it?
© Mary Crosbie, 2018
Mary Crosbie has so many cats, she suspects her cats control her mind. Cats probably wrote this story! Cats are so happy to be part of another Liar's League event! To see cats, and other stuff they made Mary write, visit www.marycrosbie.com
The Wolf of Walmart was read by Michaela Morton with music by Travis Tench on 11th September 2018 for The Liars’ League Songbook at the Brooklyn Book Festival.