Amidst the old brick buildings and the acorn trees lies a shopping cart.
The cart showed up outside my Arlington apartment complex about a month ago. Over the next few weeks, no one laid claim to the cart. In fact, it stayed in almost the exact spot, straddling the asphalt parking lot and the stone walkway to the complex.
"Harmless enough," I thought. Possibly used by a homeless person to shuttle his/her belongings along, and then discarded when a better cargo carrying device was discovered? A college student who thought it would be funny to steal something? Someone who didn't want to carry their groceries, and figured they'd just "borrow" a shopping cart?
As I pulled in to my apartment complex this evening I noticed the familiar sight of the shopping cart. I parked my car in an open space by the large dumpster that's used by my complex, and began unpacking my weekend. A glint of metal and plastic caught my eye and I glanced over at the dumpster.
"What is this?," I thought. A closer examination revealed a shocking discovery.
TWO MORE SHOPPING CARTS.
You know when the small town sheriff arrives at the horrifying conclusion that all the dead bodies showing up recently aren't just random one time crimes?
"We have a serial killer on our hands!," says the sheriff to the awaiting media.
"We have a serial shopping cart stealer!," I said to no one in particular.
A feeling of revulsion followed by careful thought followed.
"Our shopping cart stealer has progressed," I reasoned. His first victim was left upright and standing. His second and third were maliciously discarded at the base of the dumpster. Ohh how casual our serial shopping cart stealer is with the carts he takes! Woah to the clerks and night managers at Safeway and Giant who will never see their precious shopping carts again. Woah to the shoppers as they carry their groceries by hand, instead of with the convenience of the cart.
Our shopping cart stealer has shown that he is not afraid to rack up a body count. When will the next cart appear? Only he knows.