The Leisure Plaza is full of cool shit. Fruit machines, American pool (hey guys, you’re welcome), tenpin bowling and interactive squash – but it’s all off-limits to lesser mortals like me. There’s a big red ‘X’ slashed through it on the map in the orientation room. I stared at that X so freakin’ hard, I’m surprised it didn’t burst into flames.
“… the lucky ones will be those who die more quickly.” — Noam Chomsky
She’s driving away, one of the unlucky ones. The sky, brown-gold. She’s never seen it look that way—colorized, like a movie from the Forties. The Martians Return. That kind of color.
Then the sky’s dark, umbral. They drive with their lights on. An artist and writer, she thinks of ways to describe the color: Postal orange, dark tangerine, Indian yellow, gamboge, cadmium orange.
Richard cursed softly at the state of the parking lot. Piles of rubble and broken bottles covered the asphalt. Shards of glass glittered menacingly, concealing the lot striping. In no mood for punctured tires, he inched his beaten gray SUV around the edge of the lot. By some miracle, a bare spot remained near the curb. He stepped out, massaging his cramped legs, and didn’t bother to glance at the object that loomed overhead.
The dollar store’s windows had been smashed, leaving holes big enough to step through. Richard, eyeing the jagged edges, went for the door. His shoulders slumped with relief as he looked upon racks of laundry detergent, party hats, and off-brand mustard. Perhaps the vandals hadn’t found much worth taking. In any case, it was best not to linger. He hurried down the aisles.