(Continue the sound of suction from automated doors. Cash register registering. The low hum of elevator music.)
(A narrow aisle, appearing all the more narrow due to the height of the shelves and the high fluorescent lighting, emanating from an unseen source. A middle-aged man, with an average yearly income of average proportions, of median intelligence and physical attribute, is standing nearly still and staring nearly straight up, craning his neck to see what there is to see in the upper reaches of the fully stocked toothbrush section.)
(A skinny side-burned clerk carrying a mop ambles by, whispering first into one of the man’s ears, then the other.)
(The man tries to adhere for a moment but is forced by the oddity to turn his head toward the clerk, who is mopping, or feigning mopping.)
Okay. It’s okay. Totally cool, man. Everything’s totally cool.
The situation, man, the situation. Cucumber, capisci?
Um, yes. Okay. Yes. Um, thanks.
(The clerk turns suddenly toward the man, pulls right up to his ear, whispering harshly.)
Yeah, it is okay. That’s what I’m trying to tell you, Sarge. Eyes straight forward. Wait for my mark.
What are we talking about?
Like you don’t know. I saw the way you were looking at the toothbrushes. You know the deal.
Listen, we both know. The whole thing’s a…
What? Who’s that now? (Steps away, looks around, eyes darting every which way, then sidles back, whispers more harshly)l
(A moment passes)
Listen, why do you think there are 87 varieties of toothbrush here? Keep in mind, each and every one approved by the American Dental Association. It’s a SCAM!
(A moment passes)
I’m not sure I understand.
I’m sure you do. Here, take my card. (Hands a man a business card – it reads Leonard Njordian, Unlicensed Dentist.) I’m on break in fifteen for fifteen – meet me in books in twenty and I’ll lay it all out for you in ten. You’ll never look at a toothbrush or your teeth for that matter the same ever again.
(Leonard begins walking back down the aisle from whence he came. The customer watches him go.)
But I only came in for a toothbrush!
(Leonard speaking without turning around.)
So did I.