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Attention K Mart Shoppers

By H.G. Miller

So, this is what it's come to…

My minimal salary, depleted savings and lack of any true cash assets have forced me to do something I would consider unfathomable under any other circumstances.

I am shopping at K Mart.

What can I say, they have the mirror I need for my room at a price nearly half that of the local Target store. Now, while the true sadness comes from the fact that my credit cart cringes at even five dollars and ninety nine cents worth of extra debt, I still cannot come to terms with the fact that I am here.

The Big K. A big, bright red “K.” A beacon for the ghetto folk who call this part of town home. And they come in droves, dragging upwards of five screaming children with them. All fighting to ride in the cart. I think I see one of them pull a knife.

Dear God, help me.

I've seen billboards claiming that “the blue light is back,” but to be perfectly honest, everything has this sort of green tint to it. I think it's a fungus. I am afraid to touch anything I do not need.

I step over floor graphics claiming the arrival of a powerful new 8-bit Nintendo system, and head for the home furnishing department, where my sources have told me the inexpensive mirrors are. A gruff man quickly shoves a pen in my face -

“Sign up today and get a free pen,” he breathes on me.

“I already have a pen,” I try to fend him off.

“Then, how about this beautiful miniature photo album,” he pulls out the next gift item. “Put pictures of your girlfriend in here.”

With this statement, he winks at me, not realizing that he has touched upon a subject laden with embarrassing pick up attempts, long lonely nights, and close to two years worth of painful personal failures.

I punch him in the gut and run away from his K Mart credit card.

Unfortunately, I run out of breath somewhere near the women's clothing section. My yearly visits to the gym are not keeping me as fit as I'd hoped.

I dab my face with a nearby bra, receiving curious glances from the elderly women working the nearby changing room. I smile sheepishly and put the undergarment away. One of the women winks at me and flashes a little tongue.

Nausea sets in, and I look for the restroom.

There is a line. It's three o'clock on a workday, how can there be a line?!?!

I figure it's just as well. Given the current state of cleanliness around the store (aren't you supposed to keep dead rats out of customer view?), I shudder to think that the organisms clinging to the toilet stalls probably make them more virile than my eigth-grade shop teacher who salivated excessively whenever the cheerleaders pranced into class on a game day.

I finally find my way to the Home Improvement and Furniture section. The shelves along each aisle are stacked to capacity with box fans, paint supplies and circular table saws. All the kinds of things I can imagine burying me forever should the next earthquake decide to hit.

I see my mirror tucked away in a back corner. There is one left on the shelf. An indecisive man looks at the piece of reflective glass in much the same way I imagine Michelangelo looked at the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. He understands the general concept of the mirror, but is unsure of how valuable it's addition to his home will really be. He awaits a divine signal.

Not wanting to come back later, or even worse, try to get some assistance from any of the comatose individuals roaming the sales floor with Big K branded vests, I decided to act quickly and decisively.

I yell "immigration," and when he ducks behind his cart, I grab the mirror, skirt to the front of the store, swipe my card through the machine, pray for it's approval, forgo the offer of a bag, and burst into the daylight of the world outside of K Mart.

I need to get a raise.