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The World is Ending and I Forgot My Grocery List by

I knew I shouldn’t have come here.

Two women pummel each other over the last box of whole-grain spaghetti, and a handful of men wrestle over scraps of meat. There’s a puddle of blood by the Redbox near the storefront.

Now, what did my wife need for her apocalypse dish? It was something Mexican, something sizzling. Tomorrow is Day of the Dead, so in a weird way, it’s rather fitting.

Did she need Sriracha? Jalapenos? Avocado? I can’t remember – wish I’d listened to her.

As I stroll towards the International Foods aisle, I think that’s what I would have done differently.

The shelves are nearly depleted. I settle for a can of black beans, a mangled bag of flour tortillas, and a jar of salsa. Hopefully we’ll have the rest at home to concoct something.

Most of the customers dash around the store, arms flailing, shopping carts crashing into everything. The workers have either all gone home or abandoned their posts. It’s just wolves now – and only a few tame ones.

“Good luck to you, son,” an elderly man says to me as he zips past on his scooter. According to the basket strapped to its front, his last supper will consist of Diet Coke and some homemade mac and cheese from the deli. Can’t blame him – those guys do it right.

I pay for my food at a self-checkout kiosk and place the items in my reusable bag.

And then I step outside to the blare of sirens, fires in the street, the ever-darkening skies.

Luckily, someone’s home waiting for me.

 

Justin Deming lives and teaches in the Hudson Valley region of New York. His fiction has appeared in Fifty-Word Stories, Flash Fiction Magazine, Spelk, and elsewhere.

 

He can be found on Twitter @j_deming_  or at his website, jdemingwriting.com.

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3 thoughts on “The World is Ending and I Forgot My Grocery List”

  1. It’s just wolves now – and only a few tame ones.–My favorite line! I love how you take an objectively terrifying situation–our own Covid created food desert or whatever apocalyptic nightmare–and your tone plays against it in a spellbinding way. Your tone is ironic, funny, charming. Love the inclusion of certain images like the Redbox up front and the older guy on the scooter (faster than your character!). This juxtaposition invites us in to look, to take a somewhat languid walk with you down the aisle to grab some random beans and torn up tortillas. Great stuff!

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