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The Colors of Friday

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The sun had just been put to bed after a glorious day of feasting when the real festivities of the holiday were to begin. Hundreds of cars were strewn every which way across vast slabs of pavement and covered nearly every inch of the browning grass, and not to mention the people. They were lined up among rows of portable chairs and full sized tents, dressed in puffy coats and armed with shopping cart upon shopping cart. It was only seven pm, yet their time of mortal combat would begin in 9 hours. Some busied themselves by marking furiously through store ads and maps; deciding the best routes of attack. Others spent their time staring down the enemy while their large bottoms were planted in their collapsible chairs.

One young mother was seen doing pushups and jogging in place; she would clearly be playing offense. As the night grew colder and the moon became brighter, the prepared warriors crept into their tents and the dense ones started their propane heaters. The first-timers arrived shortly after the new day; shivering over two blocks away.

Two hours later and two blocks further, the tents came down as did some of the chairs. An hour after that, the tidy line developed into an anxious mob. There was no elbow room; no space to draw a breath. The stadium-like lights glared down upon the increasing number of deal hunters awaiting their prey. A clerk in blue tied a neon yellow smock over his shirt and said a quick prayer for his safety. Grabbing a megaphone, he pushed his way onto a platform next to the double doors.

“Attention all shoppers,” he started, “we will begin shortly, but first I need to remind you of a few policies.” The remainder of his words were drowned out by the cheers erupting from the psychotic crowd. He tried again, but finally shrugged and gave up. The throng readied themselves for attack and stared intently at the two small doors. At 4 am exactly two employees, also wearing bright yellow, heaved the doors open and fell backwards at the force of the mob. It was utter chaos as the large stampede stormed the store, trampling over the two employees and several people who were deemed ‘too slow’.

Hundreds of people filled each aisle madly grabbing at anything and everything in sight. Two women viciously fought over the last pair of designer UGGs and were hauled away by several security officers. Every checkout was lit up under a flurry of motion and flying wrists. A half hour later, all the desirable merchandise was gone and only the lines remained.
It took until half past six to clear the store of all the confusion. The workers collapsed in a heap of exhaustion, this was when the received the news. Earlier, several ambulances had arrived and taken away the injured that had been underfoot during the mad rush; their co-worker, Katie, had died. She had been one of the door openers swept away with the swarm. Three others countrywide were dead, but none of the shoppers seemed to care; they were all too busy selfishly examining their merchandise.



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