Fiction / Humour

High Tide

By Jack Vanden Broek

“Supply and demand is like the ocean. Just like the tide, supply and demand for resources goes up and down… and if you are not careful, you can get sucked into the surf.” Bodhi, Point Break (Deleted Scene)

Carver rubbed the sleep from his eyes and stifled a yawn. It was 3:30 in the morning, and his shift wouldn’t be over until 7. He had been hired to stock shelves at his local OddCabbage grocery store over the summer. It wasn’t the worst job; he made $11 an hour, but most of his friends were camp counsellors or working in fancy restaurants away from the city.

He walked along the aisles, changing the inventory and the prices as he went about his business. Carver turned the corner into aisle 24, the cleaning products aisle. The tune he was whistling faltered when his jaw dropped. The price gun slipped from his fingers and clattered onto the linoleum.

The once bustling shelves now lay bare. Every Tide product had disappeared from the store. Carver wondered if this meant he would have to just microwave his underwear to clean them. Was he just very forgetful, or was there something more sinister afoot?

Carver walked into the staff room and sniffed around. It was too dim to make out solid shapes, but he still had his nose. He could smell detergent in the air- it smelled like cleanliness and mystery. Carver heard a door slam, and he ran towards the noise.

He pushed open the door, just in time to see a van squeal out of the parking lot. It was headed towards Stan’s 24 Hour Coin Laundry. Carver hopped into his car and started to give chase.

For the next 20 minutes, the two vehicles were locked in a high-speed game of cat and mouse. Horns were blared, rubber was burnt, and Kenny Login’s Highway to the Danger Zone was played in the background on loop. It was awesome.

The van screeched to a halt outside of Stan’s 24 Hour Coin Laundry. Two men dressed in black suits stepped out and opened up the trunk, unveiling the mountain of orange Tide containers stacked within. Carver pulled up behind them and leapt from his car.

“Hey, look man, that was a pretty sweet chase back there, but I kind of need those back,” he called out. One of the men in black approached him. “If I were you, I would walk away now, kid. Things are about to get ugly,” the man warned.

Carver stood his ground. The man sighed. “You see kid, this is something bigger than you or me. This is something ancient and universal. The battle between Tide and Dawn Extra Strength has been raging on for centuries under everyone’s nose. But tonight we are going to change everything. We are going to blow up this laundromat and plant this all of this second-rate detergent around as evidence. Tomorrow the Dawn Shall Rise!”, he exclaimed, raising a triumphant fist into the air.

A gunshot rang out. The man in black looked confused and looked down at the blood blooming from his chest. He collapsed face first onto the pavement, dead. The other man in black held a smoking gun and said in a super cool, one-liner tone, “No dawn is coming for you, Bud. I am.”

Carver stood slack jawed again. If he had any presence of mind, he would have taken off in his car when the first man warned him, yet he did not move a muscle.

The remaining man holstered his weapon and walked up to Carver. “Look, Son, you have two options right now. You know too much, so I either have to kill you right now or you can join the Tide Corporation,” he explained.

Carver swallowed hard. “What does it pay?” he asked. “$13 an hour,” the man replied.

The two of them exchanged a serious look and shook hands…

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