NEW Story: Naval Commando
⚠️ This article is archived, and should be considered non-canon.
A fluorescent light burst on Thursday. She was stacking cans for a display. The girl was working alone that evening and leaving her mark everywhere — happy apple drawings, new posters, displays — she liked the job.
The light burst like a gunshot and she leapt to her feet. Down the aisle she saw herself, at the lowest point in her life, standing over an old friend. To say she had shot him would be misleading — she had executed him, point-blank. He was bleeding into the sandwiches with flaps of skin stirring weakly on the back of his head.
The store evaporated and the girl was back in Cherry, Nevada. He was trying to leave in the middle of the night. She’d followed him and confronted him. She’d asked the same question over and over as she had held the gun out. ‘Are you going to the Soviets?’
He told her he was hoping to secure armaments for the Wolves, and that with clean clothes and Soviet support they could launch bigger things — better things. Ambushes, bombings, even assist the Militias in real rebellion.
He was lying, of course. He was going to the Soviets because the anarchists were all dead, and he would be too if he didn’t run. That was enough for her. She didn’t shoot him for lying. She shot him for desertion.
The memory had ruined her life, and here it was, triggered by one of so many things that reminded her of that time in the desert. When she was back in the supermarket, sweating like a pig, she picked up the can she’d dropped and went back to work.
It was all exaggerated in her head. The boy had covered half the aisle in blood! That wasn’t how the whole thing went down. In the desert she’d shot him from a few feet back, and there had been a red mist but it didn’t touch her. He didn’t splatter none. He went into the ground and bounced off it, kicking as his whole body went haywire, before he went still on the ground. The back of his head spurted once, like a man pissing nervous, and then it bubbled and trickled out of the hole in his head like a drinking fountain as he set to work emptying as many of his litres as he could manage before his organs died. The blood didn’t fucking shine on tiled floors, either. It soaked into the desert. When they moved him, a sweet rose of colour was in the heart of it, red in the sand, but the wide stain was damp and grey and innocent.
She didn’t sleep much that week, goes without saying.
The following concerns Vekllei’s domestic economy, fair warning.
Supermarkets are relatively rare in Vekllei, especially compared to the States. Like many command economies, Vekllei’s internal economy requires total employment. Supermarkets are too automated, and so distribution is usually decentralised among many smaller grocers that can be found on nearly every street. These are what we would consider private enterprises, although Vekllei does not make a distinction between public and private.
Senrouive types of workplaces are distinct from Venrouiva as private or personal business. This is not the same as ‘private’ property, as we understand it. Vekllei does not actually make any distinction of property — everything belongs to the land, including the country. Vekllei does not use money, either. Instead, anything self-operating and nonessential to the operation of the country is Senrouive. Restaurants, cinemas, department stores, etc.
So despite the fact that Vekllei does not use money, grocers benefit from having first pick of goods. There are no real shortages of essential foods in Vekllei, but seasonal and otherwise special produce — like that made for festivals or imported from abroad — are often in short supply. If you like your food, being a grocer is a good place to start. Occasionally it can also be difficult to obtain special types of ordinary produce — flavoured ham or fruit yogurts, for example.
‘First pick’ is less a gift of the economy to Grocers than it is just a natural conclusion of Vekllei’s moneyless system. Tzipora works at only fourteen, not because she needs spending money or because she wants to climb a food-prep or managerial ladder, but because she’s bored and wearing an apron and badge gives her a small sense of importance, even if she only impresses the handful of regulars that stop by. There is no real value in professionalism in Vekllei, so work hours are very casual and many business close frequently for lunch, afternoon tea, and pre-closing celebration. Most shopkeeps will only give you a passing nod from behind from their paperback when you enter a store.
At first glance, Vekllei’s shelves look like that of any other Western country, but the actual purpose of advertising and posters are pure theatrics — they are superficial imitations of an American supermarket with all its colour and splendour — the entire purpose of advertising goods it so soak up work-hours of some marketing graduate on his way to bigger and better things. The labels on the cans are just labels.
If you have any questions, please ask! Back to effortposts for me.