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Ann Lewis Hamilton

“They were in my cart. I saw them. Right there, I swear.”

She nods at him. “I believe you.”

“I hadn’t seen them in weeks. It’s bad enough going to Ralph’s and the cleaning product shelves are empty, but it seems to me if Amazon Fresh lets you put something in your cart, it ought to stay in your cart, doesn’t that make sense?”

He taps at his laptop keys, harder than necessary. “Why do people take all the sanitizing wipes? One per family, fuck, society is falling apart. It’s anarchy.” He sighs.

“Anarchy,” she says, crushing peppercorns with her knife.

He stares at the computer screen. “What good is paying for Amazon Prime if they can’t get you what you want? They never have Cottonelle toilet paper. I gave in and got that shitty toilet paper that has five sheets to a roll. Sure, it’s soft, but it lasts a day, especially if you’re crapping all the time because you’re anxious about surviving a pandemic.”

He closes the computer.

“I made hand sanitizer,” she says. “We have plenty.”

“It’s not the same.” He opens the computer. Takes a deep breath. “Let me see what’s in the cart. So. Zero sanitizing wipes. But we’ve got enchilada sauce, Imodium, Sleepytime tea.”

“You could add rice vinegar.” She puts the peppercorns in the bowl and reaches for the fresh ginger. “We’re almost out.”

“Rice vinegar.” Click click click. “Nakano Seasoned Rice Vinegar.”

“No. Unseasoned.”

Click click. “There isn’t any. Of course.” He slaps the computer. “Fuck.”

“It’ll turn up. Keep refreshing. Why don’t you pour yourself a glass of wine?”

“I don’t want to drink it all. Suppose we run out?”

“We’ll call BevMo. They deliver.”

He grumbles. Looks at his order. “Reduced fat Triscuits. We might as well eat full fat Triscuits, what’s the point?”

“Why don’t you order some lard? We don’t have to eat my chicken adobo for dinner. We’ll just have giant mounds of lard. Yum.”

“Funny. I probably couldn’t find lard anyway. The same people hoarding sanitizing wipes and Cottonelle toilet paper and unseasoned rice vinegar are also hoarding lard.” He looks at her. “The ginger smells good.”

“It does, doesn’t it?”

He hits refresh. “Still no unseasoned rice vinegar. They don’t have Salt and Vinegar Pringles. Or bleach. Or Kleenex with lotion. Is this the way it’s always going to be?”

“The new normal. For now.”

“Forever?” he says.

She doesn’t answer. Rubs the ginger across the Microplane and inhales the scent.

Ann Lewis Hamilton is a writer living in California.

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