Diluvium: In which Noah has a Battle with his Conscience
This Monday I bring you Diluvium Post 8: In which Noah has a Battle with his Conscience. Thanks for your feedback, and for stopping by! You always make my Monday.
Excerpt from where we left off:
“Beetles,” I emphasized, over-enunciating just in case the message was still unclear. “I’m looking for beetles. Striped … tiger … beetles.”
“Oh,” he said, blinking. “That’s disgusting.”
I explained to him that I would be leaving now, and then I did.
And none of this helped me to acquire striped tiger beetles, so as far as I’m concerned the Malaysian bush frog can eat it, and good riddance. (The endangered species list hadn’t been invented yet at that point in time, but this is where you might say that the Malaysian bush frog first became seriously endangered.)
◊ Installment 8 ◊
But to return to my conscience, and how the blasted thing made me feel it might be my responsibility to warn people about the flood, and how this led me back to the grocery store for approximately the 901st time that week, let me proceed.
I arrived at the grocery store, and as soon as they saw me all the cashiers, bagboys and checkout girls edged away, with an expression of trepidation and loathing in their eyes. I suppose I can’t blame them. I had been what you might call a “problem shopper” for most of the week. I had visited the store about two or three dozen times a day, harassing the help staff when I couldn’t find things like elephant supplements, or other vital necessities, and purchasing all my ark supplies in alphabetical order. (I like to be methodical about these things.) The conversations went something like this:
I walk up to the scrawny, pimply teenage produce clerk reading a comic book behind the counter, and clear my throat loudly. He looks up from his comic book.
“Can I help you?” he says.
“Yes, I’d like to buy your potatoes,” I say.
“How many?” he replies.
“All of them,” I say.
“All of them?” he demands, “but sir! You can’t possibly eat that many potatoes on your own.”
“Don’t tell me how many potatoes I can and cannot eat, on my own,” I tell him. “If I wanted a lecture on carbohydrate intake, I’d consult a fitness trainer, not a teenage produce clerk with the lowest possible standards of personal hygiene. When I say I want all your potatoes, I mean all of them. Now put down that comic book and bring me a shopping bag.”
He ended up having to bring 500 shopping bags.
I had similar conversations in the bread, meat, and deli departments. In fact, I pretty much cleaned out the entire grocery store, and people around town were starting to give me dirty looks because there was no food left for anyone else. But I was about to have a hungry pair of hyenas on my hands (not to mention the hippopotamuses), and a man can only take so much responsibility on his own shoulders before he cracks. Let everyone else plant a vegetable garden, was what I decided.
So I go back to the grocery store and the manager comes running out of his office with the veins in his neck standing out like guitar strings, and sweat streaming down his forehead.
“I’ve told you a hundred times,” he says, twitching nervously, “we really don’t have any more canned sardines. We’re not stockpiling them in the back room, and we’re not hiding them under a floorboard in the basement. When I say we’re out of sardines, I mean we’re out of sardines, and I can’t make them materialize out of-”
I waved my hand to stop him.
“I’m not here about sardines this time,” I tell him casually. “Actually, I have a public service announcement to make, and I was wondering if you have a community bulletin board I could post it on.”
The guy looks at me.
“You want to make a public service announcement,” he says.
“That’s right,” I say.
“I don’t think you’re very popular with the public right now,” he says.
“Consider everything you know about me,” I tell him. “Does it appear that I’m trying to win a popularity contest?”
The guy thinks it over.
“No,” he admits.
Finally he tells me that they don’t have a community bulletin board, but if I want, I’m welcome to write my public service announcement on a sign, and stand out in front of the grocery store holding it up, for everyone to see.
So I borrow a piece of thick cardboard and write, “The end of the world is coming” (I wanted to be concise) on it with a Magic Marker, and then I stood in front of the grocery store for several hours, holding it up.
Overall I would say that it did not go over well. People walked by and read my sign, and jeered, and some of them made rude hand gestures, and some of them threw eggs. And since I was completely stocked up on eggs (and didn’t really need that many in the first place, because I was bringing every type of bird in the world on the ark with me, and surely they’d be able to produce an egg or two during the journey), this was totally unhelpful. ♦
(To be continued…)