From the Issue: Guardians of the Gouda
Written by Sylvie Krekow
If you didn’t get a chance to pick up a copy of the May issue of The Blue & White on campus, you can still peruse the highlights on Bwog. The interview with Brian Greene and musings on metabolism are only the beginning, there’s much more to come! This month, senior editor Sylvie Krekow recounts her shockingly fictional run-in with the elite forces at a local grocery store—sampling cheese at Westside will never be the same.
“It’s something you have to train for,” said Nick. His dark, hard eyes were fixed on me from under his hat. Beneath his chiseled chin was a uniform that seemed just a little too crisp. I nodded, puzzled by the seriousness—I was just there to ask him a few questions about supermarket security. It’s not like I was asking about CIA secrets.
“Uh huh,” I replied, jotting down notes. “So… you have to train your employees? Is it a big problem?”
Nick’s eyes narrowed. “Shoplifting is a $30 billion a year business, and kids will take anything and everything. A girl once tried to walk out with $350 worth of cheese samples. Unbelievable. Westside is a family place,” he growled. This was turning from a Food Network special into a Sopranos episode. I ogled the bank of security camera monitors out of the corner of my eye. Cameras are a normal part of supermarkets, right?
“About this training process—what happens?” I stammered. “I heard about this kid—he got really drunk, and I heard he came here and used the same puffed rice cake to sample two cracker spreads. And, my point is, he got tackled and arrested 20 seconds later. That must take some serious training!”
Nick didn’t flinch. “We’re no different from any other store. We protect our merchandise. We watch it carefully, but that’s all. We’re a family place. Any more questions?”
“Err… no. Thanks so much!” I squealed. Nick turned and crossed his thick arms. I caught a glimpse of a tribal band tattoo around his biceps. Figuring the interview was over, I headed out the door. I was relieved to be outside—I had felt on edge the whole time I was with Nick. It was something I never noticed before, but I put my finger on it. Ambling past the fruit displays, I noticed the Milano kitty purring at my feet. “Hey kitty!” I reached down to pet her, but she slunk towards the open Westside basement hatch and leapt into it. Being a bit of a pussy chaser, I followed.
Before my eyes adjusted, I heard loud grunts and whacks. Hiding behind a crate of cookies, I peered into the room. I couldn’t believe my eyes—the center was cleared out and covered with large mats. Men were practicing hand-to-hand combat, and two people sparred with wooden staffs. At the edges, others squat-lifted kegs of beer and benchpressed watermelons. Oldies music emanated from a boombox (I remembered hearing it faintly during my conversation with Nick). Suddenly, I noticed their uniforms; these were Westside employees. This was the training ground of the Westside elite defense force!
To my left, I noticed the Milano kitty pawing at an unreasonably large cockroach. “Eeeaack!” I shrieked. The room briefly fell silent and then I heard the swift patter of feet racing towards me. Scooping up the Milano kitty, I booked it towards the stairs. As I saw the light filtering into the basement from above ground, I knew that I was running for my life. I felt the pack of employees closing in, but with two giant leaps I catapulted myself up the stairs and into the outside world.
Gasping for breath, I turned around and locked eyes with Nick, who had left his post to investigate. He made a slow cutting motion across his neck with his finger, and I knew that he knew that I knew. Since that fateful day, I’ve been getting my groceries at Morton Williams—it might be low quality for a high price, but at least I know I’ll leave the store with my skull intact.
Tags: fiction...on bwog!, from the issue, it's hard out here for a shopper, May 2011, security, the blue and white, there's one line in here we really love-can you guess which one it is?, westside market