Four aisles of emptiness, except for Lori who stacks the beans in sockless shoes and drives me crazy by not tying her hair back. When the bosses take her to the front of the store tills, to shout at her unkempt appearance, I get the urge to grab a nearby tin-opener and gouge out their eyes. Watching, hunched over frozen pies and pastries, I look at my managers and grind my teeth together to the drum solos of metal bands. Under weak eyebrows, I dream of removing the manager’s intestines around a winch whilst wearing a mask.
On a quiet Sunday, Lori beckons me upstairs. At the top of the landing I await her instructions but she beckons me to go further. There’s two ways to go, realistically. The warehouse or the canteen. The third way, another set of steps, is out of bounds. She’s halfway up already, demanding I follow.
I creep up behind her. Lori is invincible so I get close, hoping her forcefield will envelope me, but I sense I am too close at times – like when I kiss her elbow.
Up to the abandoned offices, untouched in twenty years. Notepads and lunchboxes still sit on desks like gravestones. Everything is covered in dust, and yet no one ever comes up here – apparently. I ask her, and she says, it’s the dead cells of aliens, ghosts and memories. I’m not sure what I believe in less. Collecting dust on my fingertips, I drag them over my cheeks.