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Bird’s Nest In Your Hair

Chapter Eighteen

So long as a fairly quick pace was maintained, he was confident that nobody was following him. Actually, it was because he was moving so quickly that he wouldn’t be able to spot anybody trying to keep up with him, but of course paranoia isn’t a rational emotion. The new clerk was shelving videos over in the new releases section, where he strolled over as naturally as he could, trying to think of how he could attract as little attention as possible. Unfortunately, making sure there isn’t an electronic trail brings up the more traditional problem of being spotted in public. As he was picking up various titles off the new-releases shelf, the clerk finished off the stack she’d been cradling in her left arm and returned to the front desk in order to begin working the register. He browsed his way around the corner to another set of shelves and looked up to see a number of other characters milling around his favorite corner. He looked both ways with every other step to see if someone might be watching him. He could never look hard enough.

Overhead, several video screens throughout the store were showing a movie about flying saucers in an alien invasion. Will Smith was a piloting a fighter jet, being chased by a giant UFO through a canyon where it looked as if he was about to crash into the walls. The alien seemed to be doing a little better, but then the spacecraft looked more than a little bigger.

He made his way over to the little alcove reserved for adult videos. He looked up at the signs as if he’d gotten lost and needed to find his bearings. After he ducked in behind the first shelf he began pulling one box after another down from the shelf, usually holding one in each hand and looking first from cover to cover and then from back to back in order to decide which was the better buy. Absorbed in this task, he seemed less concerned with whoever might be watching him. There were the sort you’d probably expect: Ladies of the Night and Video Vixens IV, both featuring a number of big breasted women on the front. Pretty standard fare. Others looked a little more interesting: Queen Orgasma, Conqueror of All, and Behind the Door Behind the Green Door. All pretty tame stuff, by any reasonable standard. There wasn’t anything too crazy, certainly nothing illegal or anything that would reveal an especially perverse streak. Much less reprehensible than a lot of stuff that’s out there. It seemed like a whole lot of porn for one person, but then maybe he’d just gotten tired of choosing. Everybody else seemed to be milling around closer and closer to him as he stood there and tried to make a decision.

By this time, the UFO up on the screens had crashed and flipped over onto a desert plateau. Will Smith had leaped out of the F-18 he’d parked just a short walk away. Soon he was standing on the hood of the flying saucer, or at least where the hood would have been if the spacecraft had been a car, and was banging on the cockpit – right at that point in the movie when we get our first real look at the alien.

At that point the girl had walked out from behind the counter again, so with one eye on the lookout from the porn alcove for just this changing of the guard, he decided it was a good time to make his move. Of course the other customers kept their heads down, but glanced furtively in his direction as he furtively shuffled past them. He gradually picked up the pace as he made his way over to the check-out counter, rather strategically keeping the boxes between his upper arms and his chest in order to hide their covers.

Lucky for him that the manager had come out from the back to begin working the second register, and in another minute it was his turn at the counter. The manager nodded enough for it to look like recognition, and then took the boxes without comment, very smooth and very professional. He returned to the counter one long minute later.

“Looks like we don’t have the disc for Conqueror of All. Our adult section is kind of a mess back there, but I gotcha Queen Orgasma and her Orgitastic Orgasmatron instead. We’ll go ahead and comp that for you.”

“Uh, okay …”

The clerk then opened up each plastic case and scanned the bar codes on the disc itself, waiting for the beep to let everyone know it had been registered. He took several bills from the customer, gave him his change, and then put the discs into a black plastic Videosyncracy bag.

“Enjoy,” said the clerk, holding out the bag at arm’s length.

“Uh, yeah …” said he.

“Have a nice night,” said the silence as he moved quickly (not too quickly!) towards the door.

He glanced briefly at the girl straightening up the shelves on his way out the door, and once outside zipped up his jacket against the cold. He now held the bag in his forearm again, like a football, and hustled past the barber shop next door. After crossing the corner across from Queequeg’s he began walking up the hill. It took him all of ten minutes to reach the house where he had his little attic apartment.

He let himself in and walked into the living room just far enough to set the videos on top of the television set. Taking off his jacket in transit, he walked back into the bedroom and threw his coat on the back of the chair. He went back past the kitchen area, grabbing a roll of paper towels off the back counter, and then went directly into the living room and set the disc in the loading tray of the DVD player. Then he plopped himself down on the floor, leaning back on one elbow in the relaxed anticipation of a few minutes of excitement and romance.

Comments

  1. Anonymous says

    No comment.

  2. Anonymous says

    A brief chapter, not much to say, fine, noticed one echo of a word within a line or two.

  3. Is this one of the characters or an interlude?

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