Author : Clint Wilson, Staff Writer
I lowered my huv from the sky and dropped into the garbage-strewn parking lot of Building World.
Parking next to a contractor’s huv-truck I made my way inside and stood there in front of the directory. Behind the digital sign was a sixteen kilometers square super warehouse filled with building and construction supplies of every imaginable type and design.
I spoke to the sign. “I need a gasket for my toilet.”
The sign blinked for a moment, scanning through departments, then an artificial female voice chimed, “Plumbing department, three hundred meters to the northeast. Aisles forty-seven through fifty, section G7.” Then the voice added, “Please feel free to use one of our complimentary personal scooters for a mere five-dollar donation to the Corpamerica 2050 Bailout Extravaganza to take place next month in…”
I cut the machine off mid-spiel, “No thanks I’ll walk.” I passed by the lame row of ill-maintained, beat up looking electric scooters. Then I wove through pale faced wandering souls with their shopping baskets full of paint rollers and light bulbs, every one of them looking unsure of where they were or where they were supposed to be. I had barely made my way one hundred meters when I was nearly run over by a massive rolling automate pulling a train of pallets full of roofing shingles down one of the cavernous aisles. Keeping my head up from then on I plowed ahead.
Finally I reached G7 and made my way over to the aforementioned aisles, only to be greeted by a large section of aluminum siding. Finally I spotted a crooked yellow sign that read, “Plumbing Has Moved To Section J10, Aisles Sixty Through Sixty-three.” I looked around in bewilderment.
An old man in a bathrobe came shuffling by clutching a hose nozzle and a three-pack of 60 grit sandpaper. “Say mister, do you know where one of those scooter stations is?” The curmudgeon only clutched his wares tighter and gave me a wide birth, mumbling something incomprehensible as he passed.
“Geez, does anybody work here?”
I was shocked to hear an answer from behind me. “Work here? Ha! Aint nobody worked here for years Sunny Jim!” Apparently the old fellow wasn’t quite so ready to move on. He gave me a stern look and pointed at me. “Do yourself a favor friend, just get what you came for and get out… if you can.”
I looked around for any excuse to move on, then I spotted a sign, “Personal Scooters This Way”. “Thanks for the tip pops, gotta run!” And with that I made off for the scooters.
After a forty second jog and a couple of left turns I came to the scooter station, with not a scooter in sight. There hanging from a rack, another crooked yellow sign. “Sorry, All Scooters In Use. Next Scooter Station, One Half Kilometer Due North.” The only problem was, there was no arrow saying which way this was.
And half a kilometer? Was I even half a kilometer from the new plumbing section? Come to think of it, I had gotten turned around. Which way was I heading? Mad at myself I started to backtrack. I pushed past more and more lost souls. I was starting to panic. Section F5? How had I suddenly gotten here?
It was then I decided that I would let my toilet leak. I could keep throwing down towels. I had a built in laundry station. But where was the exit? My panic grew. Then suddenly, there was the old man in the bathrobe again. I called out, “Hey mister, wait!
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