Missing in Action

Abandoned grocery cart in a family neighborhood.


Missing in Action

“This fictional story began with the random sighting of an abandoned shopping cart in my neighborhood. I asked my friends via facebook, to give me some ideas. In return, I would write a story. Here it is, as promised.”

Missing in Action

Hi. I’m here to tell you a story. It is the story of how my picture got posted on Facebook by this lady and how, eventually, I got to go home. That was the BEST day of my life, ever!!! You might can tell, that I’m not very old yet and that is mostly good.

On the day I was created, it was the best day of my life–since it was my only day–it was the best so far! I was born and I even have a birth certificate to prove it. Some people say it is just a number of some sort, but it proves the day I began and that is good enough for me.

I was created for a purpose and that is to help people. When I took the big trip to meet my new family, it was so exciting. “Are we there yet?” was all I could say! I didn’t know where I was going, but I knew I was going to fulfill my destiny and that has to be good, right? What I discovered was that I got to go to a little neighborhood grocer. That was a wonderful thing because I’ve heard tales of really BIG stores that are so big that it’s scary, even for the people to go there. There’s not much sense of pride or community. I’m glad that I wasn’t designed for them.

My store makes people happy. It has great smells and fresh, really fresh stuff. People LOVE to shop here! I get to stroll the aisles with the people and help them by holding their stuff. Sometimes it is their dinner and sometimes it is their squirmy kids. I love the kids. I’m just a kid myself, in cart years. I like the moms that carry wipes and clean up the kiddos’ slobbers off my handle. Sometimes I worry that the drools are going to go to my wheels and then I’ll limp and bump around like the grandpa carts. They love to help as much as I do, but often they get someone to take them on stroll, then they get left in the middle of an aisle because their wheel got stuck or they were too noisy. They get so sad and I try to cheer them up when I roll on by.

Some tell me I feel too much for a little metal fella. I dunno. I just know that everyone has purpose, right? And, I get afraid that when I get older, my wheel will drag and I’ll get sidelined. That was when I got the idea to try some cooking spray on my grandpa’s wheels. After that, he rolled pretty good and boy-o-boy was he happy! I was too.

Maybe it was my experiences with Grandpa that made me do it, that made me break all the rules. Even though it was the scariest day of my life, it was the most meaningful, ever!

One of our regulars came in for some groceries. She picked up several of her normal items and then started putting very unusual things–for her–in the cart. Then she put so many of one item in that, I knew something was wrong. I noticed that she had slippers on instead of her walking shoes. Something was wrong and I could feel it in my grid. She paid and we went outside. It was cold and she didn’t go to a car.

She had those flimsy slippers on and she was walking. My maker installed a pop-breaker that if I needed to stop, I could trip it and it would lock up one wheel.

That is when I knew what I needed to do.

I needed to go with her. I needed to leave and I knew the rule, never, NEVER, leave the property. It was the safe zone and it was where I knew and where I belonged. It was my home. But…she wasn’t herself. She was shuffling and she had a blank look in her eyes. As long as I am with her, she will be more visible and I can stay with her and help hold her up and protect her, somehow.

We walked and we walked and crossed busy streets. People looked at her like she was a crazy woman. That made me sad. Didn’t anyone think to ask her if she needed something or where she was going with a cart?

After we got to the edge of a large subdivision, a car squealed by and turned onto the street right by us. A young lady jumped out and yelled at my friend. She said, “Mom!! Where have you been?!! We have been looking all over for you!!!” The daughter was distraught and nearly crying and yet, she looked so relieved. I know that feeling, like after Grandpa’s wheels worked better and I knew he could help people again and then he wouldn’t be so sad. I guess I felt that way when the daughter found her mom too! It felt good. They grabbed the groceries and put them in the car and drove away.

Uh-oh. Away.

Now what???! I need people to do my job and I need people to help me get around. Now, I have a couple of problems. How do I get home? And I’ll probably be in BIG trouble for leaving too.

It was getting to be late afternoon, when this lady walked by and snapped my picture. I wondered if she was going to turn me in as a runaway or something. I heard her say what a curious sight that I was, sitting alone in her neighborhood.

That is when it happened. She did think I was a curious sight. She posted MY picture on her Facebook page, wondering what my story was. All kinds of people speculated as to why I was there and there were even rumors of aliens and zombies! One of the people who posted knew where I belonged. He knew and he took me home!!

Home never felt so great!!

You might wonder if I got into trouble when I got back. Actually, I am embarrassed to tell you that they threw me a party!

They said I was brave. I said, “I was created for a purpose.”

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