As he opened the car door there was a loud rattling noise behind him and something slammed into the back of his legs. He turned to look and there was a shopping cart nudged up behind him. He pushed back and turned around. There were only a few cars in the parking lot that late at night and there wasn’t anyone in sight. How odd, he thought. Where did this shopping cart come from?
Leaving his car door open, he started pushing the shopping cart back to the corral on the other side of the lane. He heard the rattling sound again. Another shopping cart clattered across the pavement behind him, seeming to block his path back to his car. He stopped short. Now I am just seeing things, he thought. It’s not blocking my path, it’s just a random thing. He pushed the first cart into the corral. It seemed reluctant to go into it, but he shoved extra hard and it finally went behind the barrier, bumping two carts, which rolled out the other end. He looked at them and they stopped rolling. Thank God, he thought, his stomach churning. He turned to walk back to his car and heard more rattling….No, he thought. No. It can’t be. He glanced over his shoulder and the two carts had separated and were rolling towards him, one on his left and one on his right. There was still the shopping cart straight ahead.
Screw this, he thought and started running towards his car, but the cart in front of him moved into his path and the front pivoted left and right, like a fighting bull pawing the ground. He shoved at it and it didn’t budge…it just moved forward a bit and nudged him. The other two carts came up and the three formed a tight triangle around him, wedging him in. He shoved at each one and they moved away a bit and then back…and then started rolling a slow circle around him.
This is crazy, he thought. I can’t panic. Something is going on. Maybe I’m being filmed for a goofy show. Maybe the world is coming to an end, even there’s something so damn humiliating about shopping carts being my demise. No…I have to figure this out.
He stood still. “What do you want?” he said.
One cart moved away, towards the back end of his car. Another cart gently nudged the back of his legs. When he didn’t move the first cart stopped, waiting expectantly. The other cart nudged again. Something clicked in his head.
“Ah. Do you want me to follow you?” he asked, and began to move towards the first cart, which rattled around the end of his car and out towards the end of the parking lot. The other two carts rattled alongside him on either side. Their little caravan traveled about 100 feet before reaching the edge of the pavement. He walked closer and saw there was a little gully wash beyond, with a three or four foot drop. And there at the bottom of the gully was a shopping cart, lying on its side.
He climbed down the gentle slope of the gully and lifted the shopping cart back up on its wheels. With some effort, he lifted and pushed the cart back up out of the gully and onto the pavement. The other three carts moved gently towards the wayward cart and clicked until they were all linked together. He stood there for a moment. And then pushed the connected carts across the parking lot to the corral. They rolled freely and went into the corral with ease. His car door was still open. Nobody is ever going to believe this, he thought, and got into his car.