i like when you’re in the grocery store and you see people buying eggs because they always pick up the carton and then open it like it’s a metal briefcase full of cash involved in a drug deal and they’re confirming it’s money. “don’t bother counting it, it’s all there. 12.” then they always pick one up and inspect it like, “yeah, it’s grade A alright…the real deal.” 

People are checking to see if any of the eggs are cracked you walnut

You get home with a case full of cracked eggs once and have to deal with the resulting mess in your grocery bags, and, trust me, you’ll start checking the eggs every time too. 

“Sure you say it’s all there, but I been taken by a case of cracked eggs before.  I don’t hand over the cash before I get a good look at the merchandise.”

new genre: grocery noir

Now you’ve done it. You invoked the words.

“I knew there was trouble as soon as I hit the floor. On a good day, the market is a thin veneer of friendliness concealing a pit of darkness. The dairy section is full of spoiled brats. The produce tries hard, but it’s impossible to eliminate the rot…and you know what they say about one bad apple. The eggs are cracked and broken, and all the King’s horses and all the King’s men couldn’t fix them.

I’ve been here a long time. I’ve learned to read the market as I walk the aisles. Smell the mood in the bakery section, feel the little things in the way the cookies crumble. The deli is a bellwether for the whole prepared foods section, if you know how to separate the good stuff from the gristle. But today, everything was silent.

The only thing worse than the market in full swing was the market in no swing. Something big was coming down.

I turned to my partner. Fresh out of Academy training, still wet behind the ears –or maybe he just walked too close to the misting sprays. ‘Trouble, kid,’ I said, taking a bite of the carrot stick dangling in my mouth.”

The Malted-Milk Falcon, or Double Coupon Indemnity, or The Big Sale.


i feel like i just opened a carton of eggs and found eleven eggs and one bullet casing


Sure enough, there was trouble.  “Cleanup in Aisle 12,” said an anonymous female voice barely discernible through the grotesque flattening of the PA system, the sort of voice you instinctively try not to listen not just because it screeches, but because it requires too much attention to make out the words.

“That’s it,” I told the kid, “trouble.”

“What’s it?”

“That. The voice. That was code.”

“Maybe someone dropped a jar of salsa?”

I just shook my head and chuckled. They’re so innocent, these kids. Some day they’ll wake up and smell the fresh-baked sourdough, and know it’s neither fresh nor sour.  But today was not that day.

“How do you know?  Maybe you just didn’t hear the glass cracking?”

“Kid, this is what you got to understand – there is no Aisle 12.”

We’d have to hurry now.  They’d be covering up their own mistake. Probably an overlooked pricing error, the kind of discount that comes around once in a blue moon. I hoped it was on the high-end hummus. I was hungry. Hungry for the good stuff. Hungry for more.


This is SO what I’m about.