(3) I Am The Protagonist
I keep a toothbrush in my pocket and press my thumb against the bristles. It is a kind of sweet, secret release, like cracking knuckles. I was walking up and down the dalmatian scum floors of Safeway, matching my breathing with my footsteps because I was bored and tired of working and set on Them paying me for doing nothing. There was a girl swimming in my head. She had shifting features, in my head, not in real life, because I was sleepy and the backs of my heels burned. Someone mumbled like a ghost in a echo tube that customer something-or-other needed something blah blah on grumble grumble 3 thanks. I walked, shuffled out of the aisle and started walking faster and faster, almost running, hoping that maybe they would see me freaking out and send me home because I was moving so fast no one could talk to me. I was moving so fast, I went backwards in time. There is me as a baby. Here are the dinosaurs. I helped a woman take her groceries outside. She kept apologizing, "Normally I don't ever need help out, but I thought since it was such a nice day." I pictured what it would be like to kill my co-workers with machetes. Then I felt really gross, like a really terrible human being with super low self-esteem. A picture of cut up orange tangerines circled on top of a blue shifting background, played in my head, and I hummed a Spoon song low in my throat, so customers didn't I was talking to myself. It kept getting later. I was still working. My hands were dry and cracked and hurt and looked like pictures of deserts cut like hands. A woman with a dark dress looked down at a bag of beef jerky and said quietly to her friend with ugly braids, "I don't why I just don't kill myself." The store felt stale and I thought about saying something nice, but I just went back to work.