Voices on the Wind Voices on Waiting
At Kroger Plaza by Kathy Lohrum Cotton A customer waits for the bag boy who waits for the cashier who waits for a produce price-check as other shoppers cease shopping and quietly queue their silver carts in the stalled line. Lethargy oozes out the automatic doors, creeps across damp black asphalt, absorbs the glitter of carnival lights in the southwest corner of Kroger Plaza. At the H&H ticket booth a tattooed man drums fingers on a metal change box. Empty kiddy cars stall between light beams, and the steel arms of The Tempest droop near a Ferris wheel’s stiff circle, the undisturbed boxes of Malone’s taffy, rows of teddy bears in silent vigil over deflating balloons, ducks guarding their pond. Back at the check-out, a customer remarks what a pity that the cold drizzle ruined the carnival. But in the Winner-Every-Time booth a carny squints and curses the spirits. He knows: right there, on an April night at the Kroger parking lot, the fiery Spirit of Frenzy fiercely battled the Spirit of Waiting. Waiting won.