The Last Friday
Phil is a five year veteran when it comes to dealing with the Black Friday event. Luckily, this will be the last year he has to deal with this stupid tradition. At the start of the new year Phil will take a position with a non-retail company far away from the ever-growing mass of consumers.
During his stint at the Mega Mart, Phil learned how to deal with Black Friday and pretty much anything it could throw at him. But this year feels different somehow. Phil thinks it might be due to the increase of “must have” items this year. When you put together the half-off 75 inch flat screen televisions, the annoying new toy every kid wants, and the general greediness of customers, you get the perfect mixture for a category one shit-storm.
As soon as the hands on the clock hit five a huge swarm of bodies barreled through the entrance doors towards the defenseless employees. The frenzied mass moved with surprising speed—especially considering the majority of them can’t even see their feet over the enormity of their guts. But with the momentum of a runaway big rig, the horde tore through the displays and discounted movie bins at the front of the store. Among the electronic wreckage lay the first line of store employees―battered and broken like palm trees after a hurricane.
Witnessing the oncoming destruction, Phil darted behind a clothing rack just in time to avoid the stampede. Unfortunately, an elderly coworker wasn’t so lucky and got knocked off balance—falling to the floor with a heavy limpness. Phil watched in horror as a cascade of obese limbs and fat feet stomped the pitiful old man like he was a welcome mat. His head was thoroughly crushed after a few hefty stomps. The crowd never noticed.
Thinking quickly, Phil made a break for the pet supply aisle—it was the first place he could think of that didn’t have any sales going on. What’s normally a two-minute walk felt like an hour-long journey; the herd had broken off into smaller packs and headed in all directions, blocking the quickest paths.
“The frenzied mass moved with surprising speed…”
The fight to get to the pet supplies was filled with many instances of bodily harm, if not death. But Phil managed to persevere and made it to his destination relatively unscathed. Unfortunately, the pet supply section wasn’t faring any better than the rest of the store. Knowing he had to do something before he ended up like the old man, Phil spotted a pallet of dog food against the wall and decided to climb to safety.
Perching on top of the dog food would only give him a brief moment to devise a better plan for escape, so he couldn’t falter; he had to think on his toes. Only a few seconds passed before the bags of dog food under his feet started to wiggle and shift dramatically. The mindless consumers were shoving and bumping each other into the pallet! Phil did his best to balance himself, but a sudden whirlwind of violence toppled the side of the pallet. He couldn’t even brace himself before crashing onto the rock-hard tile floor.
Hours passed. Phil finally came to, splayed out on the floor like a deflated parade balloon with bags of dog food piled on top of him. The store was in shambles—looking like the aftermath of a war zone. Regaining some strength, he stood up and made his way toward the exit, but a sharp pain shot up his right ankle and stalled his progress. He leaned against a collapsing shelf and steadied himself.
“How did I survive?” he said under his breath.
Thinking on what had happened, he figured the bags of dog food must have protected him from the stampede. Looking around, it became painfully clear others weren’t so fortunate. A sea of broken bodies—employees and customers alike—were speckled all throughout the ransacked store.
Phil finally limped his way to the nearest exit where he saw an unfamiliar sight: an empty parking lot. But in the distance he could hear the blaring of police sirens. He only hoped ambulances would be among them.
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