Latex Broads, the Kmart, and Other Things
KMART, is more than any store you have known before. KMART, means you get quality...
A distant jingle played over unseen loudspeakers greeted Eddie Miltz as he emerged from a little blue Corvair, the infectious tune serving as an insincere and artificial welcome to the retail center's boundless parking lot.
How long had he searched?
Over two hours out of the Philadelphia/Tri-State District, 107 miles between I-95, State Highway 1, US Route 13, and a full tank in his little blue Corvair brought him to the Maryland-Delaware border. To the largest Kmart existing outside of the Districts: the Delmarva Kmart.
KMART, is all the things a great store should be. Quality at discount prices- satisfaction always, you'll see!
It should be noted that "The Largest Kmart Outside of the Districts" is not just claim-to-fame marketing. Such is an entirely literal title used to describe the Salisbury store, which, as with many considered "Outland" Kmart locations, is comparatively larger to its already-massive relatives within the metropolitan districts. This particular location spanned congruent dimensions of one mile long, one mile wide, and two stories high, with the front wall of the store constructed entirely of panoramic windows beneath an extensive storefront. Against the early evening sky, the marquee's enormous red "K" radiated with increasing brilliance- plainly visible to even the automobiles that traveled Route 13.
In the distance, towards the top of the lot, a long vehicle made a turn down Eddie's lane. The unidentifiable vehicle became a bright-red parking lot tram, with a train of several empty carriages in tow. Eddie attempted to flag down the approaching tram, but its pilot, a crotchety-looking Colored man, seemed to ignore the signals. Eddie's frantic waving and flailing was no to avail.
"Excuse me, sir? SIR?"
Upon command, the tram braked abruptly, coming to a stop but several feet past the little blue Corvair. The pilot turned in the direction of the call, addressing the new Kmart guest with a white, toothy grin.
"Lookin' for a lift, Boss?"
"Yes, yes I am. Going my way?"
The pilot wiped his wrinkled forehead. "I's off to dah commutah station, suh. Part o' mah route. But I don' think I got nobody to pick up dere, so's I don' see no harm in getting' ya up to dah storefront right quick."
"Thank you," Eddie replied with a smile, climbing onto the bench closest behind the pilot's seat. "And if you don't mind me asking, why didn't you stop for me at first?"
"Sorry, Boss- I din' hear ya."
"But you did see me waving my arms, right?"
The pilot turned his head, giving Eddie a better look at the pair of round, dark glasses he wore. "N'suh, I din' see nobody at all."
"Yessuh," the pilot said with a raspy laugh. "Blind in one eye, cain't see out dah otha."
Eddie found this unbelievable. "How can you manage driving this tram when you can't see?"
"Ain' always been blind, Boss. When ya've been doin' dis as long as I's been doin' dis, ya learns ya way about. Local know ya've gotta holler to get ol' Bertram's attention, though. I tells ya, dese out-o-town folks'll chase me halfways down to Norfolk before I even notice dem, yessuh. Speakin' of, I don' think I's heard ya voice in dese parts. Where ya out from, suh?"
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Lords & Ladies of the M'Verse: An Ooorah AnthologyScience Fiction
Each of the 100 stories featured herein will be set within a Universe of the writer's creation, all being a part of a larger, shared Multiverse. Writers have free reign to tell the story they wanna' tell and providing...