Burnt Toast
by Courtenay S. Gray, 3.49am March 10th 2022

The cashier gave me the bullets with my change.

 

“Happy death day!”

 

“Excuse me?”

 

She looked at me quizzically.

 

“I said, ‘have a good day’.”

 

One of the employees came over with a gun as I left the store.

 

“Don’t lose your head!”

 

I looked at him.

“Sorry?”

 

“Was it something we said?”

I pushed my trolley to the taxi waiting at the front, piles of bleach clumped together. The driver exited the car and walked around to my side. His hand was full of round yellow pills.

“Overdose.”

 

“Huh?!”

 

“Would you like some toast?”

 

There was a plate with buttered toast resting on the boot of his car. Blobs of grease licked his lips as he chewed on slice after slice. It seemed to replenish itself. My jeans started to stick like shrink wrap, and I could feel my heart dancing. I took a bottle of bleach, opened it, and started drinking it as though I hadn’t had anything to drink in weeks. Taxi man didn’t seem to notice. But, the homeless man certainly did.

 

“You got rope?”

 

Again, I gave out another incredulous look.

 

“Rope?!”

 

“No, have you got hope? Damn, girl. You got a death wish?”

 

I giggled.

 

Lifting my head, I stared straight at the sun. A fellow shopper dropped her bags on the floor, sending bottles of ketchup and vodka across the car park. She ran over to me with a camping chair.

 

“Do you need a chair?”

 

I sat down as I watched her small children smash open a ketchup bottle and make finger paintings on the tarmac.

 

“A chair would be nice, thank you.”

 

“No, sweetheart. Do you need a fair?”

 

She nodded towards the taxi driver licking the butter off his fingers. I shook my head, and she ripped the chair out from underneath me, sending me flat on my ass into the shards of glass. Her children cried as I had just ruined their artwork. Suddenly, the entire supermarket came running out of the store with first aid kits and mobile phones. My head felt like it had been caved in, and my legs weren’t working. I looked up to see a man screaming with his hands clasped behind his neck. A tub of butter lay upside down on my chest.

 

“She just ran out! I couldn’t stop!”