The parking lot was packed. When I got inside, I almost couldn’t believe my eyes. I’d never seen a store so crowded.
The place was a madhouse. People were pushing bulging carts up and down aisles whose shelves were nearly bare.
I heard someone yell “Toilet paper!” A can of soup rolled toward me, but then a woman swept it up like a hockey puck and scurried away. In the candy aisle, an unattended little boy was pouring Skittles into his mouth. His face looked like a rainbow.
A middle-aged man, waddling like a penguin, was somehow carrying six gallon jugs of water under his arms. An old man pushed a gigantic canister of Metamucil down the aisle with his foot. A Husky had bitten open a 40-pound bag of dog food and was wolfing down kibbles, growling at shoppers who got too close.
“Clean up in aisle four!” someone cried over the loudspeaker. The overhead lights flickered. Someone ran past me dressed like a chicken.
By the time I reached the dairy case, it was empty except for a single half pint of chocolate milk. Staring at it, I was mesmerized. I could have sworn the cartoon cow on the package winked at me.
Then I remembered why I was there. Looking around anxiously, I grabbed the tiny carton and made my way through a throng of puffy-coated bodies toward the checkout, where I stood in line for 45 minutes. Shoppers jealously eyed my container of pasteurized goodness, as if they sensed it was the last milk in the store. I tucked it under my arm lest someone snatch it away.
As I pulled out of the parking lot, snowflakes began to pelt my windshield. Instinctively, like a bear preparing for hibernation, I grabbed the milk carton, tore it open and chugged it. It was sublime.