Shopping in strange times (creative writing group)

I hauled on my yellow Hazchem overalls with integrated wellies, my trusty old scuba helmet, and black rubber gauntlets and headed for Morrison’s. Quiet. ‘A bit too quiet…’ as they used to say in old adventure movies. I sidled in, hugging the wall, keeping two metres away from the other scattered shoppers, some of them in similar Hazchem outfits, one with integrated high heels, which I thought looked rather fetching. But most shoppers had chosen to go commando in their usual jeans and slippers, undoubtedly leaving huge shoals of poisonous biological detritus in their wake. When will they learn? I wondered.

I grabbed what I had come for: three tubes of coriander paste and a decorative corkscrew, both on offer, and moved to the till.

The man behind me had a scarf across his face. ‘You poor fool’ I thought. ‘Don’t you watch the news?’ He also seemed to be inappropriately cheerful and tried to engage me in unnecessary conversation. I felt it was my civic duty to play along with him. ‘Lovely day!’ he said. I nodded. ‘Nice to see the sun for a change’. I nodded again. When would this fool stop? I stared hard at him. He looked away, then said ‘This virus business is awful, isn’t it? But, you know… It’ll take its course and then it will, you know, pass over’.

‘Pass over’? What unfortunate phrasing. Probably deliberate to upset me. I glowered my ¬†disapproval.

The cashier smiled nicely and told me that I could have the corkscrew, but only two tubes of coriander. ‘Sorry dear. Store policy. Nice to see the sun though, eh?’

Chas Griffin, Carmarthen U3A creative writing group