If you’re reading this, that means that someone has found the bottle of strawberry flavored Ramune Marble Pop soda I stuffed this letter into. Before I go any further, I’d like my family to be told that I am alive and that I’m only two blocks from Carman.
It all started about eight hours ago. Walking on Broadway, I had a sudden urge for a Peach Tea Snapple. I knew Starbucks would have given me actual tea, which didn’t sound appetizing, so I went into what I thought was the nearest typical convenience store: a place called Morning to Midnight, or M2M.
Immediately, I had a feeling in my gut that something wasn’t right. Sure, there was a preponderance of East Asians in the store, but I had been alone with the staff of Cafe East before, so that usually would not have made me uncomfortable. I tried to find any signage indicating where the refrigerated beverages might be, but none presented itself. Somehow I had ended up in the foreign foods aisle, because everything around me was written in characters with anthropomorphized shooting stars as the brand icons.
I sought out the closest employee, an ageless man wearing a green apron. I caught his attention, and inquired as to the location of the Snapple teas. I guess I was mumbling (I tend to do that) because he took me by the wrist and led me to the cashier. They conversed briefly in a tongue I could not comprehend, as the woman at the cash register looked me up and down while smiling. In English, she asked, “What is it you would like to find?”. I said, “Snapple.” She said, “I see” and I was transferred by the wrist to her, and now followed her back into the storage rooms.
At this point, a sensible person would have cut their losses and settled for a Nantucket Nectar. But I was interested to see what kind of glorious Snapple selections awaited me, perhaps even the elusive Diet Trop-A-Rocka Tea. Instead, I was brought to an office, where an older gentleman in a white button down asked me a number of questions that I, once again, failed to understand. All of my answers were the same: “Snapple.” After ten minutes, he smiled, stood up, shook my hand, and brought me to an adjacent room with lockers.
Next thing I know, I’ve got an apron on, I’m handed a clipboard, and told by the cashier “Good night, Mr. Manager.” This was at 3 pm. I believe it is now closing in on 11. I’m scared, I’m lonely, and if I have to tell someone that I don’t know where the dried seaweed is one more time, I think I’m going to lose my mind. Shit, someone is coming over. I think they said rice cake, but I don’t know. I’m so alone.
Longing for Home,
Night Manager at M2M