You have no items in your cart. Want to get some nice things?Go shopping
It’s terrible, you see they’ve started using paper bags at the supermarket. Brown paper bags. Well it didn’t take me long to figure out that this presented an unprecedented opportunity. I confess that I am always on the lookout for subterfuge.
Avocados become carrots and pears become onions and mushrooms become potatoes. I watch myself being filmed in the tablet-sized screen which tilts over the self-checkout, and swan past the goggle-eyed man in uniform. His shirt buttons strain against his stomach.
It is not only in the supermarket but it is especially in the supermarket. Everything gets a little sharper in the supermarket; sounds get a little harder, colors a little more glowering. The soles of my shoes seem a little less adhesive, as though suddenly worn of all their tread. I pick up a wire basket on the way in; I glance at the Grab n Go counter; doughnuts assail me, fifty pence a five pack
and the world bleeds, and my eyes skid, and charily ways must be trod
and all these things in your basket, your lost hopes, the witch you never were, the bitch you never were, the child you didn’t bear, the meals you will not eat. The clothes you will not wear, the shoes you keep boxed up, the money you won’t spend, won’t spend until you spend it
no doughnuts though
won’t spend until the day when the cobra coils its snaking chest around your heart, until the day when to draw breath you have in every other way to cease to –
Yes, it’s the finest prison, to be stuck somewhere where everything’s everywhere, where in this albeit everything everywhere there is nothing you can touch. How did I get here. Yes, it’s like being Midas in a way, she thinks, no difference, every difference, what are we talking about, we are talking about domains enclosed about terrains imposed, we are talking about the petrification of your wants, of your slithering wants, we are talking about your wants
of your wants which are not permitted
that the bags are opaque is what gets me
Emilia Ong is a writer and journalist living in Margate, UK. A scholarship recipient at the Faber Academy, her current novel-in-progress was shortlisted for the Morley Prize for Writers of Colour in 2021.