“There’s no hope for retail,” Eve says.
We’re walking around what remains of the downtown of a once tiny north suburb. There’s a drug store, a couple of antique stores, a coffee shop, a fancy sandwich shop, a dry cleaner, and a men’s clothing store.
“But look,” I say, “No women’s clothing here at all. You’d have the field wide open.”
“Maybe there’s a reason for that.”
“I’m telling you, there used to be three women’s stores here and two high-end children stores. There used to be a store that sold fancy beds for dogs, for crying out loud.”
“That was then.”
“And belts! There was a belt store. And a place that would monogram stuff for you. Although that one I never did really get.”
“Retail was already dying well before the Apocalypse. People would come into Thirst, take pictures of my inventory and then shop for the best price online. I was like their showroom or something.”
“You’re so negative. We’re just out shopping for new ideas today, right? Some ways you can make some money, contribute to society?”
“As near as I can tell, I don’t need to bother anymore. No offense, but you, Janey, see only fifteen acupuncture clients a week. And yet you manage to live in a mansion and drive a BMW. Can’t I just help myself to a house and some cars like you did?”
I shake my head. “Not so much anymore. They’re starting to crack down now.”
“Crack down?” Eve laughs. “Who exactly is around to do any cracking? Levi says the police force numbers are down by eighty-seven percent.”
“All I’m saying is a body needs to do something. Doing nothing is not okay. It’s death.”
“I hear what you are saying,” Eve says. “I heard it fine the first time.”
Jill Riddell is a writer in Chicago. She teaches at the School of the Art Institute and has a weakness for nature, magic, and pennies abandoned in sidewalk cracks.