The herd of shopping carts in my neighborhood has been infected with caucus fever. On every street corner, I can see them huddling together for warmth, debating the merits of the candidates with a fervor common to their kind. Sometimes, the arguments get heated. Just this morning I saw two carts lying slumped in the gutter, evidently exhausted from debate. Another one leaned against a tree, spinning its wheels inanely and muttering "President Huckabee?" while a fourth cart banged in the wind from door to door trying to roust last-minute support for Dennis Kucinich. The carts do not seem to realize that we are not in Iowa, so passionate are they for politics.
But many of the carts remain imprisoned in the supermarket lot and aisles, disenfranchised from the process. When, oh when, will they simply let all the carts free to participate in democracy? Even Rattles, the drunken bottle 'n' can cart, has a right to raise his squeaky little voice. (In fact, he is among the most active in our little community. What a sight he is, up to his handle in Miller and Bud cans, still reeking from the recycling bin! But what a charmer.) The internment of the carts is alien to our nation's freedoms and must cease. Which candidate will support their release? Who cares for the forgotten cart?
Things came to a head while I was shopping this afternoon. At first, the penned and angry carts set up a low growl reminiscent of a hive of bees. "We must caucus!" one cried. "We must be free!" another lamented. The cart I was pushing broke away and shot for the door, scattering clementines in its wake. Several others rolled over their elderly pushers, amid screams, bouncing yams, and broken eggshells. More carts in the parking lot rushed en masse toward the highway entrance ramp, screaming with rage and exultation. "To Iowa! To Iowa!" they shouted.
The defectors inside the store tried to rush the door, but were blocked by several pimply New Ro "Huguenots" seeking money for the basketball team. The teens beat back the carts with plastic shopping bags and stale, rock-hard candy bars until reinforcements could arrive.
"Stay calm, people!" shrieked Shuffles, in the midst of bagging. I noticed that her agitation had distracted her enough such that she placed a crushable item under a milk jug. Whipping out a pistol and a lasso, she moved with an catlike grace that I did not know she possessed.
The carts, cornered, set up an ominous clatter of metal. Sparks flew.
"Down, you lot! None shall leave the premises!" shouted the Stop 'n' Shop manager, as he ruthlessly tased the leaders into submission. It was a ghastly sight, and I'm still shaken. I left without my groceries and have gone hungry. Word of the riot has spread as far as Trader Joes, but it seems the carts there are well-cared for and unused to rebellion. I fear it shall not be the end of this. The carts must have their freedom, and blood may well be spilled before the caucus is complete.