A Possibility of Whales by Karen Rivers

A Possibility of Whales by Karen Rivers

Author:Karen Rivers
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Algonquin Books
Published: 2018-02-07T16:23:41+00:00


The door was the push-open kind, not automatic like grocery stores at home, and inside it was the exact same temperature as it was outside, only not at all dusty. It smelled like pine-scented cleaner. “The air-conditioner is broken,” the girl behind the counter said, without looking up from the book she was reading. She was sitting on a high stool and her feet were on the counter.

“Thank you,” said Nat.

Harry nudged her. “Should we whisper?” he whispered. “She’s reading.”

“Don’t be dumb,” said Nat. She rolled her eyes.

Nat and Harry started walking up and down the aisles. In aisle three, there was one other person. She was an old lady, wearing a bright pink, off-the-shoulder blouse. The blouse, and the pinkness of it, gave Nat the impression that the old lady was a dancer. Nat smiled at her. The lady was slowly putting things into her cart and taking them out again, inspecting each item carefully. When she noticed Nat, she gave her the stink-eye. Then, in slow motion, she put a tin of something back on the shelf and slapped it so hard it fell off and rolled a few feet, landing at Nat’s feet.

“Oh!” said Nat. “Sorry.”

The old lady looked like the next thing that she wanted to slap was Nat.

“Harry.” Nat touched his arm. “Let’s go.”

“No way! We can’t go now! This place is awesome!” Harry whisper-shouted. “This stuff is seriously cool. Check it out.”

He pointed. There were all the regular kinds of cereal, but the packaging looked different. It looked old-fashioned.

“This cereal box looks like it’s from 1977,” said Harry. “Vintage. Do you think it’s stale?”

“That cereal is made from sugar and sugar and more sugar and some sugar,” Nat told him. “Sugar doesn’t really go bad.”

“I’m going to buy this. This is amazing. I could probably sell it on eBay for a hundred dollars. How much is it?”

Nat shrugged. She could clearly see the price marked on the shelf that said 52 pesos, but if she could see it, so could he. Harry’s mom had given him Mexican money when they left, as well as some American dollars, “Just in case!”

Nat’s dad always forgot that people have to pay for things. He was above money. He existed on another plane.

“I’m sure I have enough,” said Harry. “How expensive could cereal be, anyway?”

“Look!” Nat pointed to a small fridge that was stocked with Coke. She picked out a Diet Coke for herself and a regular Coke for Harry. “Mexican Coke is different from American Coke. And Canadian Coke, for that matter,” she explained. “In Mexico they use cane sugar.” She traded her Diet Coke for a bottle of water. Fake sugar gave her just as bad a feeling as real sugar, cane or otherwise.

“Water bottles are bad for the environment,” said Harry.

“So are Coke bottles,” she said.

“Are they?”

“I don’t know,” she admitted. “Maybe. Probably.”

“They’re glass,” he said. “It’s better. Different, anyway.” But he put the bottle back and picked up a can instead. “Cans are the best.


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