Wendy patted the right back pocket of her shorts.
Finally, have the payment ready and make a quick exit. Here we go.
She stepped through the automatic sliding doors. Straight away a burst of air conditioning froze the sheen of perspiration on her skin. She sighed in relief.
And then groaned.
People. Little kids racing around the shopping trolleys of bad driver parents, packs of teens loitering around trying to look cool and above it all, adults in work clothes, casual, and even active wear moved at various paces in and out of shops and down the hallway. So many people… but the shopping centre was huge, how could they fill all of that space?
And the noise from them talking and shuffling, it obliterated the background music.
I’m getting a headache.
Wendy thought seriously about aborting the mission.
I can live without milk for a couple of hours. Yeah, it’ll be better to wait for dark then all of these people will be gone to eat dinner and the nasty heat will be a lot less making the transportation of the target less perils of spoiling. I can resume the mission later. Or even send mother in to buy milk.
Oh no. That wasn’t part of the game plan.
She swallowed hard.
Mother was the one who sent her to acquire the target, if she failed it could result in disciplinary action. “She could hide the coffee… she’s done it before.” Hid it so Wendy couldn’t get the bitter sweet hit she needed in the morn to be able to function as a human, that had not been a nice day.
Determined, she strode forward.
Don’t make eye contact.
She quick stepped left to dodge a crazed trolley. Two steps forward and she was shuffling behind a couple. Gap! She ducked right and slipped back to the left in front of the shufflers.
All the way to the grocery store she danced.
Inside she hurried down the aisle, ignoring the fresh fruit and veg on display, two stepping in and out of the obstacles so rudely blocking the way.
There! Milk, oh sweet and glorious milk! Come to me so you can be used to temper my coffee and abused with flavouring if I so choose to make a milkshake for afternoon tea.
She snatched up a two litre and began the march to the checkout. Glide through the terminator machines (self-service) where she spoke to no-one and kept her head down. Pay with the change. She added a new step to the game plan; bag and tag the target. This meant her fingers were protected from the storage cold and she wasn’t spoiling the target with her body heat.
Time to go.
As she stepped outside of the store she came face to face with an old school mate who grinned and started to talk.
Damn. She smiled and added to the conversation. I only wanted to buy milk and go home.