What are we doing here
fighting over things we don’t want,
things we don’t care about?
I’ve seen kids rip each other to
shreds over a video game
which I doubt they’ll play in a week.
A meaningless fight compared to the
forty others raging on in a sea of
goading chants and primal growls.
And who thought it was a good idea
to let loose several hundred kids
in a store where weapons are freely available?
Is this some grand experiment
to see when we’ll all come to our senses,
declaring that enough is enough
and that we’ll do better?
We want what we want
and we want it all.
Who the fuck authorized this anyway?
So I was back in high school and we were going on a field trip. To Walmart. Perhaps it was in the wake of coronavirus fears or something legitimate. But dreams don’t have to make sense. Whatever. We were there. At Walmart. Not sure who had the bright idea to send us to Walmart, but there was virtually no plan set out for us.
We get off the buses and everyone scrambles throughout the store with abandon. Keep in mind, this wasn’t just my class or even just my grade. This was the entire high school (which, granted, wasn’t exactly the most populated school to begin with). So let’s call it roughly 600 kids.
From the get-go, a handful of kids, myself included, crowded around this dude up front who was selling frozen chicken in various forms (breasts, nuggets, tenders, etc.) in various packaging. But you couldn’t just grab a bag and throw it in your cart. He wanted payment up front. Hard to say what I was even doing there. I didn’t necessarily want anything, let alone this. I think the only reason I was there was because my best friend wanted some chicken. I dunno. After a minute, he bought his chicken and we bounced. That was the last time I saw him. And that was the only adult I saw in the entire store. No teachers. No chaperones. The bus drivers had even left. No adults whatsoever except this one guy selling frozen chicken.
That was the sanest moment of the dream, paying for the one and only thing in the store that you couldn’t just walk off with. The one bit of order that, really, could’ve easily been squashed by our far superior numbers. The rest of the store was pure anarchy. Sorta like Daybreak on Netflix. Without the zombies. Cliques and posses had already started to form throughout the grocery aisles. There were kids pretending to be cops strafing through the store front to back, not actually doing anything, just patrolling. Party kids ravaged the snack aisle. Goths had taken over the beverage section and were selling drinks to other kids. Then you had some girls who had found cheap track suits, put them on, and started power walking through the store in a line. I’m sure there were more cliques, but, ya know, it’s a dream.
It didn’t take me long to make a full round through the store. The grocery section at least. There were multiple fights going on everywhere else, clearly visible from just about anywhere. And if you couldn’t see the fights, you could almost certainly hear them. But I needed to buy something. Well, obtain something one way or another. Something that would make me, who didn’t belong to a clique and didn’t want to fight for a video game or two, look cool. Something that no one, at least to my knowledge, would think of. Then it hit me. Dr. Enuf*! Even though I’m not the biggest fan of soda, all I could think about was “I never had this in high school so naturally no one else had either. I’ll look super cool with a bottle or three!”
Of course, being a beverage, it was undoubtedly the property of the goths. And if it wasn’t there, it would be on the snack aisle. Dealing with the goths was infinitely less stressful, so I headed there. Luckily, I happened to be friends with most of them so they let me in at no charge. Shockingly, they had done very well for themselves. All the sixteen ounce sodas were gone and the two liters sodas were scarce. Naturally, the Dr. Enuf section had been picked clean. Except for these limited edition, oversized bottles. The kind that you don’t want to be carrying through a store for longer than five minutes. Risky. Either it was really cool or absolutely, without question, uncool. Judging from the fact that there were still so many, I was leaning toward uncool.
Defeated, I headed to the front to wait for this whole thing to play out. Out of a random aisle, the track suit girls nearly ran me over. Almost fell on my ass. That’s when I noticed one of them was taking a break near the produce area, where I was headed anyway. She was sipping on something. As I got closer, it became clear it was a Dr. Enuf. I hurried over to her, only to find that her six pack had already been completely exhausted. So I just waited at the front of the store for this all to end. Not one adult in sight.
*Dr. Enuf is a soda distributed mainly in the Tri-Cities Area of Northeast Tennessee and in parts of southwestern Virginia and western North Carolina. It’s great.