No Country for Old Carts

An abandoned shopping cart, known on the street only as ďBarry,Ē was found dead two days ago, a few hundred feet from the store it was taken from this past Thanksgiving.

While attempting to turn the deceased cart into a make-shift rotisserie barbecue, a local opportunist found a diary Barry had kept the last few years.

Published below, excerpts from that diary shed some light on Barryís final days and weeks, adding another sad chapter to the tragic story of societyís forgotten.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Dear Diary,

I wasnít sure I could survive another Thanksgiving at the store. Despite my fears, itís turning out to be a great holiday. After 15 years on the job, I was afraid the weight of canned cranberries and frozen turkeys wouldíve finally buckled my weary frame for good. Luckily Ė not sure if I should call it luck just yet, though Ė I drew home delivery detail, on the only day when being in the streets is better than being in the aisles. In fact, all Iíve had to haul so far was a few dozen Hungry Man dinners, part of an old lawnmower and two Genny Cream Ale thirty packs. What a cinch. Had a nice, thoughtful talk with Rodney, my pusher, too. And both he and the load were gentle on the cage, surprisingly.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Dear Diary,

Itís the day after Thanksgiving, and I still havenít been wheeled back to the store yet. It got cold last night. Itís colder today. Must be Rodney passed out from the effects of those Hungry Man brownie desserts and forgot about me. No biggie. Heíll be out soon to take me home, no doubt. No need to panic. Just a little anxious, thatís all. In the meantime, Iíll count the rusty bike frames under the porch to keep my mind occupied.

Monday, December 1, 2007

Dear Diary,

Iím really scared. Itís been over a week. Itís dark and cold. Rodney finally showed up two days ago. He said heís found another cart. ďDid you think you were the only one in my life?Ē he snapped. ďCome on. Donít act like you didnít know from the beginning what this was all about.Ē And here Iíve been, like a fool, freezing my handle off thinking the hour-long conversation we had during our walk about the pros and cons of homemade fireworks meant something. Oh God Ė what have I gotten myself into? What if I freeze? No one will push me back. What if Iím stuck out here all winter? Iíll rust to the ground. Iíll be as good as scrap.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Dear Diary,

Not long after my last entry, I was Shanghaied and sold to a Ukrainian freight liner headed for Vladivostok, a Russian port city near the Chinese border. For 40 days I was used as an industrial deep fryer basket in the shipís galley. Thatís 200 sailors, eating three meals a day, mostly carp. At least I was warm. My paint bubbled and eventually peeled off. In broken English the cook told me, ďYouíve never looked better.Ē Funny, thatís what Rodney told me today, too, after the Ukrainians left me for dead back on the corner.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Dear Diary,

Last year on Valentineís Day, me and my lady cart spent the night interlocked in the parking lot return rack. God I miss her. Today, Iím writing from the bed of an old pick-up, laid-up with a bum left front wheel. It got bent during the getaway after a guy used me to steal a bag of cans from a donation drop off. I find myself depending a lot on ether and W-D40 to dull the pain.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Dear Diary,

Today is the first day of spring. That means technically I survived the winter. But it doesnít matter. Doc says my left front wheel is locked up permanently. Turns out I wonít be much use to anyone anymore anyway. Unless they can scrap me or turn me into a camping grill after Iím gone. If only people needed carts that only turned left, Iíd be golden. Anyway, Iím afraid this will be my final entry. Iím going to watch the sunset now with the last of my W-D40. Good-bye.

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