Shopping zero early on Sunday morning means fewer people to deal with, so the dead man was a surprise, a shock, and for him to be standing in the meat section seemed oddly appropriate. He was among his own in this, all the dead in one place. I fled to the produce section, trying to sort out what was seen.
Of course, he is not the dead man. The dead man was named Mike, that’s the only part of his name I remember, but he was a deeply religious man at work, and like most of the deeply religious men at work, he had a problem keeping his dick in his pants. He got caught having an affair with his married secretary, he was married, but the deeply religious supervisor he had also had the same problem, so the issue was swept under the rug.
We had one conversation, about my lack of belief, the only conversation we would have, and he said I ought to change my ways and become a better person and I said, “You first.” And we never spoke again.
I had a supervisor that was cut out of the same holy cloth, that look-at-me-I-love-Jesus-but-damn-what-a-set-of-tits-on-that-bitch type of white guy with a little power over people. When he wasn’t hitting on the women under his supervision, he was trying to get people to come to his church.
The dead man died of cancer. Slow and hard, he died over a period of months, and he told people that his god was punishing him for his infidelity to both his wife and faith. I’m pretty sure any deity who would kill a person like this isn’t holy at all, but I was amazed my supervisor bought into it, or claimed to, and worried that his god would come after him one day.
I went to check out, and at zero early hours, there’s one cashier, usually bored to death, but there was the dead man, being checked out before me, and I hesitated, waited a bit, it felt weird to be that close to someone who looked just like the dead man.
“The computer just died,” the cashier said, and she had to reboot it.
The dead man was bagged up, paid, and away he went. I checked out, and left a few minutes later. He was parked beside me, loading his groceries into the trunk of his car.
“Do I know you?” he asked.
“I don’t think so,” I replied.
“You looked like someone I knew,” the dead man said, staring.
“He died back in, uh,…”
“2010.” I finished for him.
“That’s right,” the dead man says.
“I got to go,” I tell him, loading my stuff quickly and getting into the truck.
I pull away and watch in the rearview for just a few seconds.