[in which I type for five straight minutes until the timer goes ding]

Oh, I’ve been to the Beyond.

I’ve seen what’s there.

Lots and lots of lint rollers.

Pillowcases.

Feather-touch trash cans.

Toasters.

Microfiber towels.

Teak shower accessories.

The one on Olympic. The huge, ginormous one.

You know the one I mean. It’s two, gigantor stories of things you either will never need, or you can’t live without. Some things fall into both categories.

I go into a kind of lunatic shock when I first enter. You descend via escalator and it feels like a home goods cotillion. If C is with me, I insist on being “on his arm.”

So that I may be presented.

I hear stringed instruments as I pull a shopping cart gently from the line. The shopping carts get their own escalators, too. This is how it is in the Beyond. Everything is special and cared for.

We purchased our Roomba here, and even though its demise was a tragic one, I look back on that time with fondness. Here’s where we first stood and looked at it, I whisper.

But C has wandered off to lie down in the bedding section. Shopping often makes him tired.

So I continue through the Beyond, clutching my stack of blue and white coupons. Those things are like Monopoly money, man. You can bring in freaking 30 of those things, and they’ll take ’em.

I like saving 20% of $1.99. I’ll take a sense of accomplishment wherever I can get it.

In the end, I always end up feeling like I’ve just barely escaped the Beyond and its siren call of

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