(2PM EST – promoted by Nightprowlkitty)
So I made the mistake of going into a Walmart today. First off, I ask God for special dispensation when I go through the doors. Let’s face it, the company is built on slave labor. Shopping there is morally abhorrent. The conditions of its Chinese laborers alone is a sufficient abuse of human rights to have the whole fucking Walton family and their heirs imprisoned for life. Then there’s the abuse of American Walmart employees who are paid so little that they can’t afford the cheap crap they sell. They don’t get health care. They’re taught how to sign up for Medicare. Food stamps. Fuel assistance.
Anyway, it was on the way home, it was late and the only food store open. As I’m parking my car I’m noticing all the security cameras – light poles, on the building, going through the door, in the store in each aisle. I had enough cameras on me to produce a 3D documentary of one man’s quick stop to get some late dinner fixings.
Being the techie I am I wander to the back of the store to check geek and LCD prices. There at the back of the store is a wall of screens with the same loop running over and over…
The Department of Homeland Security this week stepped up its “If You See Something, Say Something” campaign, but you won’t be seeing more ads in New York City subway cars. No, the public service announcements will be featured in a far different location: Walmart.
DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano recorded a video clip that will be looped over and over again at a total of 588 Wal-Mart stores nationwide.
“Homeland security begins with hometown security,” Napolitano says in the clip. “That’s why I’m pleased Walmart is helping to make our communities more safe and secure. If you see something suspicious in the parking lot or in the store, say something immediately.”
I stood there in shock and awe. As in “Awe, fuck!”
Orwellian? Orwellianissimo? The hairs on the back of my neck are going up by now. The Walmart wage slaves are eyeing me suspiciously. Did I do something threatening in the parking lot? Is it the look on my face? Is it my beard? Oh shit! Muslim men wear beards! I’m fucked! I’m standing there with my jacket open and my sweatshirt exposed. Now I know I’m fucked. I never go into a Walmart without wearing a t-shirt or sweatshirt that has big block letters on the front: EFCA. Several of the TV screens now show me and my sweatshirt. The rest still have Janet looping away. Doom awaits.
I notice the Walmart slaves watching me and getting more agitated and then I can see the alpha slaves moving in. Management has been notified. I head for the checkout with my food followed by three managers. As I move toward the front of the store two more pop out of side aisles in front of me.
“Excuse me sir, we’ve noticed some extremely strange behavior on your part. You’ll have to put down that basket and leave the store immediately.” No problem. I just lost my appetite anyway. I’ll just cook some rice for dinner. Thanks. Good-bye.
So I made it back to the car. What a relief. I thought they were going to take me into custody. I sit back, close my eyes and take a few deep breaths. I’m wondering if I took too much acid in the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s and this is just one of those flashbacks that I never ever had. Put the key in the ignition, start her up, turn on the lights and check behind me before I put it in reverse.
There’s a humongous black Suburban behind me. So I wait for it to move. Interesting. The windows are as black as the paint on it. It’s still not moving but the car parked head on to me is backing out now. I can just do a pull-through and be on my way. Silly paranoia. I crack the window open for some fresh air to help with the nerves.
Whoppa-whoppa-whoppa. Familiar sound. I grew up a mile from a naval air station. It’s also the same sound in my head when I’ve done three or four balloons of parking lot nitrous outside a Dead show. Whoppa-whoppa-whoppa. I look up, no lights. The car in front of me finally pulls out. I’m right behind it, out of the space and a quick right. A few more turns in the parking lot maze and I’ll be on the way home. Not.
There’s another Suburban coming my way and now I see the other one has ripped around the corner and has me blocked from behind. I whip out the iPhone to call for help. No bars. Hey, it’s ATT but the parking lot here is always five bars – even with the upgrade patch. Now I know I’m trapped.
What was it? What did I do? Was it the beard? Was it the EFCA on my sweatshirt? Was there some law I broke?
I remember coming to in a windowless room. I was soaked from head to toe and my sinuses were full of water. Some one was shaking my head pretty hard. As I slowly came to this huge guy with all black sweats and shades to match asks “Have you ever used the internet?” “Yes.” “OK, sign here and you can go”. I come to again in my driveway with no idea of how I got there. Must have been a bad dream. After all, this is still America.
I go in, flop on the couch, grab the remote, turn to CNN and there I am again. EFCA sweatshirt and all. I’m watching and hearing myself say on network news that “Julian Assange is a high level member of Al Qaeda and has been using the internet to subliminally recruit innocent Americans as sleeper members.”
The good news is that explained everything to me. I was still in America. It was still 2010. Obama was still president. Sort of. Nothing unusual here. Turn to ESPN, catch the late scores and call it a day. Another 24 hours in the land of the free and the home of the brave.