'Diversionary Purchases' by Gary Duncan

The security guard nods at her on her way in. She imagines him spread-eagled on her bed, whimpering, but he's big, probably too big for her, so she keeps her head down and moves on.

There's a CCTV camera on her right, in Paints. There's another one in the next aisle and another in the garden-tool section at the far end of the store. Probably lots more she isn't even aware of. She tries to ignore them, to go about her business like a normal person.

She picks up a few things she doesn't need, what she likes to call diversionary purchases — a light-bulb, a new brush-head — and makes her way to Tapes and Packaging. She feels that little flutter in her chest when she gets to Tiles and Flooring: almost there. And then she sees it, all that tape laid out in front of her. A whole shelf, newly stocked, like they'd been expecting her.

She reaches for a roll of heavy-duty, low-noise PVC. The good stuff: 50 microns, 50 mils. She resists the temptation to sniff it. She takes another roll, and a roll of Economy Brown. She's not sure about the Economy: it may very well be versatile and cost-effective, as it says on the label, but it's only 40 microns and she thinks tear-resistance might be an issue, not to mention tangle-free unwinding. She turns it over in her hand and gives it a gentle squeeze. It's a little on the squishy side, so she puts it back on the shelf. Versatile and cost-effective are all fine and well, she thinks, but the last thing she needs are untangling issues when she's got some angry fucking brute thrashing around underneath her.


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