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People of Walmart

by Epiphany Ferrell

I could be a werewolf. I could be, you don’t know that I’m not, you can’t prove it. I could be dangerous, secretly. I could be wild inside, fierce, deadly. You look at me with that contemptuous smirk while I’m here in Walmart dressed in sweats and house slippers, sloppy, a bit fat, trying to figure out which electric toothbrush to buy. You think you are better than me because my hair is in curlers and yours is blown out, because your blouse probably cost more than my whole outfit, maybe more than my whole week’s wages.

I know you. You don’t know me, but I know you. You sleep on a satin pillowcase; you put a scented sachet under your pillow at night to help you dream beautiful dreams. You think I don’t know that about you? I can smell it. What does a person like you dream, anyway? Do you dream at night about the momentous rite of passage for you when you move up from a Chrysler to a Jaguar?

Last night, I howled in a meadow at the moon; I ran down dark and twisty paths in the forest with the scent of pine and dirt in my nostrils; the wind brushed my fur, bringing me storied scents.

I heard you last night, your voice shrill and your laughter brittle as you crossed your arms across your cashmered chest, a crystal flute of bubbling liquid in your graceful hand, while you noticed the way your husband lingered his fingers on his lovely co-worker’s wrist, the way he quickly looked away when his boss eyed your cleavage. From the shadows I saw how you shivered in the light, unable to see past the window into the starlit night. You saw only yourself, reflected back in the glass, and what is beyond the night window doesn’t want you.

Our eyes meet, here in the no-man’s land between gift-wrap and groceries. Mine glint, yours look down and away.

Epiphany Ferrell lives at Resurrection Mule Farm in Southern Illinois, so-named after an incident involving a lightning strike and a mule that came back to life. Her stories appear in the Potomac – A Journal of Poetry & Politics, Clamor 2015, Ghost Parachute, Cooper Street, Paper Tape Magazine, Prairie Wolf Press Review, Dark Fire, Seven Hills Review, Helix Literary Magazine, Corvus Review, and other places. She reads for Flash Fiction Magazine and is an editor at Mojave River Review.

Lead image: “shopping cart harmonic convergence II” (via Flickr user Paul L Dineen)