Buffalo BEAST - Buffalo's New Best Fiend
 

Nov 2 - Nov16, 2005
Issue #87

  ..Buffalo's Best Fiend
   
All Day Suckers
Getting fooled again
Allan Uthman

The Undoucheables
Even Fitzgerald can't cleanse media pussies
Paul jones

All Eyes on Greenland
Global Warming continues to warm the globe
Alexander Zaitchik
Scalito's Way
Supreme Court loses its swing
Donnie Dobovich
Nuclear Terror goes Primetime
But who's watching?

Russ Wellen

Why 2K?
Lucky 200th dead soldier wins free autopsy
Jeff Dean

Slaving You More
A brave new world right next to the salsa
N. Sorrenti
An Evening with Malcolm McLaren
We got to hang out with him & you didn't
Paul Fallon

FAUX-TURES
Ask Kim Jong Il
Advice from the world's most colorful super-villain

LOCAL
Judy, Judy, Judy
An interview w/ Judith Einach, Buffalo's best hopeless Mayoral candidate
Vote for Helfer or He'll Kick Your Ass
The Buffalo News' Illogical Endersement

The BEAST Blog
Irresponsible vitriol on a near-daily basis

[sic] - Letters
Wide Right
Bills Football & other sports
Kino Korner: Movies
Michael Gildea
Page 3
Separated at Birth?
Beast-O-Scopes
 
 Cover Page

COMIX:
Idiot Box
Perry Bible Fellowship
Bob the Angry Flower

ISSUE #87PDF FILE
(right-click & "save target")
ARCHIVES
( Now includes classic early BEASTS!)
RSS FEED
LINKS
SUBSCRIPTIONS

MERCHANDISE

Last Issue: (86)

Slaving you more: A brave new world, right next to the salsa
A true story by N. Sorrenti

Although I’d been in Tops before, and knew what to expect, I couldn’t prepare my eyes for the shock of ten thousand fluorescent tubes beaming down from the ceiling like golden Jesus at Armageddon. Instinctively, my arm came up to block the light, but I soon realized the futility of my actions and allowed myself a chuckle. These lights were not ordinary, and even if you closed your eyes as tight as you could, and then cupped your hands over them, it would still be ten times brighter than anything you’ve ever seen.

As I staggered, blinded, past a massive pyramid of tea, I struggled to remember my objectives…milk, bread, sleeping pills, mustard greens for the tortoise, rubbers…

The store was empty. I had always preferred night shopping to day shopping. Much less bullshit, and no lines. You could spend as much time as you wanted reading the magazines in peace, without hordes of unruly kids elbowing everyone in the aisle.

Beside the drone of refrigerated cases there was no sound at all. No radio, no squeaking shoes, no price gun clicking…nothing. Normally, I would appreciate that kind of peace in a supermarket, but something about the silence was eerie and unnerving. I picked up the pace.

I can do without the bread, I thought. I’m just going to find the rubbers and get the hell out of here. My own footsteps on the cold, sterile floor thrummed in my ears. Somewhere, from many aisles over, there came a raspy, sickly cough.

I felt myself becoming unhinged. I glanced over my shoulder as I walked. Great black domes of convex Plexiglas leered down from the neon ceiling, and I knew that they were watching, though I had no idea who they might be. I wondered if they could see the beads of sweat on my forehead, if they thought I was up to no good. I silently cursed them, and kept moving.

I picked up a loaf of bread only because I passed it. It wasn’t exactly the kind of bread I would usually buy, but it would have to do. It was grayish and covered in strange foreign seeds. The loaf was more gourmet than what I was used to, and I wondered if it would be any good for sandwiches.

My attention was diverted upwards by the mechanical hum of cogwheels, as one of the dome concealed cameras pivoted above me. Those fucking bastards, I thought. Those fucking bastards are suspicious of me taking this classy bread. They know I shouldn’t be buying bread like this. Those fuckers. They probably think I’m going to stuff it in my pants, or they’re calling me a Mary for buying fancy bread. They’re probably saying I think I’m a movie star or something. Assholes…

I was almost to the registers. On the wall before me loomed four giant clocks with roman numerals; something like the clocks you’d expect to find in a train station. They showed the time in West Seneca, New York; Athens, Greece; Rome, Italy and Baghdad, Iraq. It was 3:32 P.M. in Baghdad.

As I neared the checkout, my eyes scanned the long row of registers for an open one. There was only one, with four people in the line. The first was an elderly man trying to fish change out of a little rubber bulb. He removed a coin and studied it for some time. He put it back in the pouch and continued fishing. The cashier sighed audibly and started working a rubber band into her hair.

The next three people in line I assumed to be together, for they chatted with each other as they examined the candy racks. Each had an enormous cart overflowing with food. Even the bottoms of their carts were packed with cans and potatoes and everything else. Son of a bitch, I thought. There’s no way out of this.

I found my place at the back of the line, hoping that the three women would see my paltry few groceries and let me go ahead, but that never had the chance to happen. “The self checkout is open,” the cashier informed me.

“The what?” I asked.

“Down at the end. The self checkout.”

I peered down the seemingly endless row of registers to see if I could see what she was talking about.

“The other end!” She snapped. “Next to the carpet cleaning machines!”

The self checkout was an area roughly the size of a living room, with eight stainless steel registers in neat rows. Each had a series of cameras fixed on them at every angle, with a larger sinister dome camera above it all. Like the unblinking eye of God, it bore down on the registers, and while it was certainly powerful enough to read the date on a dime which had fallen to the floor and rolled into a shadow, that was not its purpose.

The camera made me believe that it could see through my clothes, through my flesh, and into my very soul. Every indiscretion, every immoral thought I’d ever had was exposed. It compelled me to confess all of my sins, to beg forgiveness for things I hadn’t done, but merely thought about. The camera could see through the folds of my brain to the seat of my consciousness. I felt a stabbing pain in my stomach. I approached one of the registers and my eyes were diverted to a thin LCD Screen. A green arrow pointed down to a glass scanner flush with the steel. A bright rotating laser cast threads of red light across my chest.

“Please scan your first item!” howled the machine.

The booming female voice had taken me aback. I wanted to resist. I yearned to lean close to the machine, to contemplate the technology, but I was compelled to do what the voice commanded. I was no longer in control.

I fumbled with the mustard greens, turning them round and round, trying to find the bar code.

“Please scan your first item!” Roared the voice again.

The incredible volume made me flinch. Why does it have to be so goddamn loud? I thought, but at once I remembered the great black eye and diverted my attention back to the mustard greens, hoping that it hadn’t heard me.

I slid the bag across the laser beam and there came an audible “boing” from the machine

“Please scan your next item!” yelled the voice.

I quickly obliged, and ran the remaining items across the laser. Each prompted a futuristic-sounding “boing” until all the items were scanned. Sweating, I stood nervously, waiting for my next order from the voice, not wanting to do anything sudden or unexpected beneath the terrible eye.

“Place your items in the bag!” The machine commanded. The green arrow changed directions, and led my eyes to a block of plastic bags hanging from a rack. I thought for a moment about how I didn’t really need a bag because I only had a few things, but I realized that I could not defy the will of the machine. I swiftly loaded my things into a bag and awaited further instructions.

What the voice said next I didn’t fully understand, for even as it spoke I noticed that the classy bread was at the bottom of the bag, with other items lying atop it, mashing it down. I started to panic. It’s going to fucking know! I thought. It’s going to find out that the bread is on the bottom getting mashed and that I’m not doing it right. Shit! What was that last thing it told me to do? I didn’t hear it, shit! I think it said put the money in the hole.

I mashed some bills into the hole. Several agonizing seconds went by as the machine tried to compute my money. The gentle whirring of the laser relaxed me somewhat. It was like the heartbeat of your mother from when you were in the womb, a comfort you cant really remember if you try, but is always somewhere inside you. The pulsating arrow on the LCD had changed into the visage of a lovely woman holding a white board. It read $0.63. There was a sound like someone getting hit in the head with an iron, and sixty-three cents came down a plastic chute.

“Goodbye!” Boomed the voice.

I took the change and the bag and hurriedly moved toward the exit, not daring to look up at the eye. I had done it. I had pleased the voice…and the lights and the domes, the men in suits and the machine had let me through. I had done well, and my reward would soon be a fancy sandwich. I could see the inviting darkness of the parking lot through the doors just yards ahead. The beautiful, forgiving darkness. I stepped through an arch of metal and plastic and suddenly, as if the fist of God had come down and crushed me into the concrete, a siren the likes of which I had never known rang out, piercing my eardrums as colored lights sprang to life around me, bathing me in a horrible blood-red glow.

 It knows…it fucking knows about the bread! I thought.

Before I had time to react, a man in a white shirt and tie appeared behind me. “Can I see that bag?” he snarled. I handed him the bag and held my breath, awaiting whatever fate the place was preparing to deal me. I knew that I had no recourse. There were no options. The eyes had seen. The secret ears had heard. I hadn’t followed my orders and now this was it. I had angered mother technology, the future all around. The wires and thin cogs and beams and panels which control everybody and everything and cannot be resisted were onto me. Tops had used her technology to turn me into a nerve-wracked bitch consumer slave and I knew it.

“Go ahead,” Said the man, handing the bag back to me. “It was the rubbers. You’re all set.”

“Of course…” I answered. “The rubbers…”


N. Sorrenti usually shops at Wegman’s, but because of bad luck and forces beyond his control, he was forced to go to Tops for some things. Needless to say, he has not been back nor is he planning to return to Tops ever, and has since gone without sandwiches on occasion because there was no Wegman’s around and the only thing close was a Tops and fuck those bastards.

© Copyright 2002-2005, The Beast. All rights reserved.