As my day ended I reached around to my pack’s side pocket and pulled out my water bottle. Empty. I smacked my lips, which were dry, flaking and cracked. My mouth was as hot as an oven. As the evening sun radiated against my face, I tried to clear my throat but it turned into a raspy dry cough. I looked over to a small strip mall off the side of the road and saw a line of small businesses crammed in next to each other, ranging from a cellular phone dealer, a minute gym, a gold for cash shop and at the end a small frozen yogurt shop. Its red neon light was ablaze and suddenly a creature inside of me stirred, then sniffed the air. I was hungry. And I wanted yogurt.
I crossed the black sea of a parking lot and came up to the little shop. A few small tables with chairs sat neatly on either side of the entrance and a flower-pot wafted a strong scent of pollen, intensified by the afternoon heat. Though the store’s name and logo was printed across the door, the shop didn’t show any indications whether it was open or closed. I tried peering in through the windows, but they were tinted black and I couldn’t see through them. I cautiously opened the door and an electronic chime sounded far off in the back of the shop. I peered inside and saw that the whole place was empty, including behind the register. I walked in and looked around. There were a dozen small metal tables with matching chairs scattered about and each ones surface was spotless. The floor was that annoying black and white checkered patterned and I suddenly felt a little warped. I glanced up over the counter and began to read the different flavors of yogurt they offered, their prices and all the different candy assortments I could add… the more expensive the more unhealthy. I shuffled over to the counter and yogurt freezer and peered at where normally big metal bins of different flavored yogurt would be held.
Instead, the bins were completely empty and I looked over at the register and saw that the drawer wasn’t even in it. Right when I started putting two and two together I heard someone humming in the backroom. Their footsteps grew louder and I quickly looked over at the door, trying to decide if I could make it out of the shop before whoever it was came out from the back. But just then the backroom door opened and a young asian woman came out, holding an arm full of yogurt cups. “Uhhhh…” I said, wanting to make my presence known as soon as possible in an attempt not to startle her. But that did just that and she screamed a blood curdling scream and tossed all the red and white cups into the air. She took a step back, frightened and clutched the counter behind her.
It was this moment where I noticed a big sign overhead that read “Grand Opening On July 1st!”. She continued to stare at me, uncertain of my intentions. I opened my mouth to say something like, “I’m sorry for startling you, Ma’am. My name is Jordan Dibb and I came into your shop to get some of your finest fro-yo and have only just realized that your store is closed!”. But when I began to talk, the dryness of my mouth and throat made me wheeze a bit and all that came out was, “Yooogurt!” My voice cracked when I said this, making it go very deep towards the end of the word. I sounded like Frankenstein.
“No!” the woman shouted, but she still seemed fairly afraid. I tried to clear my throat but began into a coughing fit and I held up my hand, hoping to convey an “I’m sorry” gesture. I opened my mouth to try to explain again, but my words got caught up in my throat and all I was able to cough up were, “I… want..ed… YOGURT!” I coughed out the last word so loud that even I was taken back. This sudden outburst seemed to give the young lady some strength and anger flashed in her eyes. “NO!” she repeated and took a step at me like you would to intimate an approaching tiger. I took a step back, my hands still raised and still coughing. “No!” she shouted. “No, gurt! No-gurt!! Nogurt!!!”. She had a very thick accent and as she shouted her two words started to blend together in her anger.
She started towards me yelling, “Nogurt! NOGURT!” and waved the remaining yogurt cup in her hand. I tucked my tail between my legs and ran towards the door, all awhile trying to clear my stupid throat and apologize for the mixup. I sprinted out the door as one of the paper yogurt cups flew past my right ear. After the door shut I heard the lock bolt tight and the lady behind it talking fast and angrily in a language I didn’t recognize. My throat finally cleared by the time I reached the side of the highway and I continued along my way. I glanced back and saw the roadside sign for the yogurt shop that read, “Tasty Yum Yogurt”. I was suddenly overcome, for just a moment, to buy a can of spray paint and write over those words with “NOgurt!”.