Fragment Friday: Dystopian Shopping Edition

shopping trolleyThis started off as a bit of a joke, the title came from a friend (Thanks CH), it was purely a writing exercise initially, but i keep adding to it. Who knows where it will lead, but I’m enjoying it for the moment. I hope you can too.

The scaffolding the man stood on towered over both the line of people and the waiting crowds. He was short, perhaps five six or seven. He carried no gun, but he was clearly in charge. The clipboard he wielded carried as much firepower as did the soldier’s gun. He ran a finger down the list that he held, and as he did, the crowd lulled into an expectant silence. When his finger had found its mark, he tapped the clipboard twice with his finger and bent down to pick up his megaphone.

As he looked over the crowd, he saw the upturned faces; hopeful that it was their name he’d settled on. Savouring his moment in the spotlight, he raised the megaphone to his lips.

“Well now, wasn’t that silly?” The soldier beneath him nodded. “I’m not sure of what he said to you Corporal Teague, but I’m sure he wishes he hadn’t said it.” Down on the ground corporal Teague nodded again. “That’s left an opportunity for one of you lovely people.” He swept his hand over the watching crowd. “This tells me who is going to get lucky. It also tells me that an awful lot of you won’t get lucky, so I’m going to need you all to stay calm.” He nodded to Teague who beckoned some of the other soldiers, who trotted over to him and spread out, facing the crowd. They each unslung a rifle; Teague his pistol. “Thank you boys,” said megaphone man. “If anyone comes over the barrier, please put them down.”

Several of the soldiers looked across to Teague, uncertain. They had trained for this, but none of them had been actually put in this situation before. Teague thrust his pistol towards them, ushering them back into line.

“Right. I’m looking for,” Megaphone played his part out for a few more seconds, pretending to glance at his list again. “Charlie Bollsover. I think that’s how you pronounce it. I’m sorry if I got it wrong Charlie.”

The crowd let out a collective sigh. The combination of armed soldiers and not having their names called had taken the fight out of the mob.

From deep within the crowd, there was a rustling, rippling movement, which made its way towards the front where a young woman pushed herself up against the barrier.

“I’m Charlie Bollsover,” she shouted.

“Bring her out, boys,” shouted megaphone.

The soldiers pulled Charlie over the barrier and away from the crowd. They led her across the open space towards the line. They allowed her to jump the barrier restraining the queue and join the queue at the point that had just been vacated. There were some muttered comments, which were silenced by Teague, passing his pistol from one hand to the other. With the woman safely installed into the queue, Teague re-holstered his pistol and stepped back to join his men.

“Right. I think everyone’s here.” Megaphone spoke to the queue of people beneath him; some young, some old; a roughly equal split of men and women. All looked in need of a good meal. “Everyone ready to shop?” There was a muted cheer from below. “I can’t hear you.” Megaphone man spoke as if hosting a game show. The crowd cheered again. “Okay then. The time is,” He glanced at his watch. “eight fifty nine and thirty, thirty one, thirty two seconds. Good luck to everyone.”

Maybe we’ll get into the actual shop next time!

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