Monday, August 29, 2011

The expedition to the non-prominent area

'The alcohol display area must not be in a prominent area of the store.'—Parliament's justice and electoral select committee recommending changes to supermarket and grocery stores under the Alcohol Reform Bill, in the hope of making the purchase of alcohol less attractive and more difficult for young people

The first night

We've camped tonight, Jason, Jarod and me, at the southern end of aisle 2. It hasn't been too bad getting this far, but we know that the hard part lies ahead. It's important to get some rest. The old maps have turned out to be useless; familiar landmarks are just gone. The major display of DB that used to be near the entrance is no longer there, and all the way down aisle 1 we saw no sign of the shoulder-high stacks of cask wine that usually dot the landscape. Instead, we had to pick our way through some rough country that took us past the tinned tomatoes and creamed corn, before abseiling safely down to a ledge beyond specialist teas.

The second night

Good progress today—we're camped halfway down aisle 9—but I'm worried about Jarod. He seems listless, pale, and tires easily. Jason and I keep having to wait for him to catch up. He keeps licking his lips; I think he's in Steinie withdrawal mode. Not far to go now, mate, I say, encouraging him. The trouble is (and I don't tell Jarod this), to be quite honest I don't exactly know where the liquor shelves are now. The last guys to make the attempt got as far as aisle 14 and had the delicatessen counter in sight before pulling back out of sheer exhaustion. They told me they reckoned the booze was somewhere beyond the deli but had to admit they hadn't actually seen it.

The third night

It's just Jason and me now. I think Jarod knew he was holding us back. He left the tent last night saying 'I'm just going outside for a while, dude,' and we never saw him again. He was the bravest guy I ever knew. We didn't say much today, Jason and me, just slogged on past cake, buns and confectionery. We left the deli behind us late in the afternoon and since then we've been in no man's land. It's fucking dark, man, and a sort of mist has come down. I thought I heard a wolf howl. But we've got to get through. They're counting on us back at the party.

Editor's footnote: the diary was found in a sleeping bag halfway down a ravine several metres west of organic nut bars. Two bodies lay nearby, dead of dehydration. Unbeknownst to them, the first Tui lagers were just around the corner of the next aisle. The last scrawled lines in the diary read:

'The piss, man, it's out there somewhere. Some day, some way, it will be found. In a non-prominent area. If we have blazed a path to it, if we've done anything at all to make the going easier for those who come after us, then our sacrifice won't have been in vain. Sink one for us when you get there.'

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