“I can take the next customer at this register.” Refrain of the dully indifferent check-out girl, in faded apron and overtight jeans, her muffin top unmasked. The lives of seven shoppers brighten as she says so, and saunters over with her rubber coil of keys. She works whatever highly special function she’s been trained at to bring the mechanism back online—to smash oapen, smash shut the cash drawer—to illuminate the square that advertises number 6 is open now. Seven shoppers’ killer instincts are engaged. Their knuckles white with tension on their gallon jugs of milk.
The first to move is not the first in line; he is the most tenacious. He is the fleetest on his feet. And he veers his compact cart in her direction, a swift diagonal. And he leaves behind the dimwits and the dopes, the saps, the sows, the sluggish also-rans. Nevermind the honor codes, he says, and goes for glory. No, I say. I shake my head. I do not love New York.