by Lynn Beighley
Joe's watching the the very fat lady in pink sweatpants push her shopping cart, which contains a single plastic grocery bag, out to her banged-up SUV. When he automatically adds another cart to the long line of carts he's already collected and mated together, skin on the heel of his right hand is pinched between thin metal bars and he inaudibly curses the woman for distracting him. He tries not to count the people with carts pouring out of the store before the rain, but he does, and counts thirteen, but of course doesn't count the one tall woman loaded down with bags without a cart. The rain starts to fall as the tall woman drops a bag and an orange rolls in front of the line of carts as Joe pushes them forward. Joe doesn't stop staring straight ahead, but slows in the now heavy rain, carefully pushing the line, straddling the orange between the wheels. When the orange is at his feet, he considers picking it up and handing it to the now drenched woman waiting for him to pass over it, but he doesn't.