“What do you think, Maayan, did Peter come to his senses?” – asked the son in the evening of the next day.
“I don’t know, let’s go to the store and try to talk to him.” – I said.
Usually the guard stood on the street, near his car, leaning on the fence, and a ginger cat, named Jinji (‘Red’), was deftly came to his knee.
Picture of Jinji near the store
For all the time we met Peter, and this is about two years, we realized that he is a very obligatory and responsible person and we have never seen him leave his workplace and go to the store or even leave it anywhere.
This time he was not visible either on the street or on a chair intended for a security worker.
“Where is he?” – the son asked in surprise.
“Look, Yaron, there he is, near the department with greens, throws up one of the packages. And what does he have in his other hand?
He seems to be eating burekases. Really? He never ate anything here. Do you remember what the filling is in this pastry?”
“Yes, of course, you can’t forget it, and it looks like it’s a burekas.”
“Better let’s call him. Shalom, Peter. Ma nishma? (How are you?)”
“Who says that?” – Peter asked, who had already spoken to the son dozens of times before.
“What’s wrong with him, Yaron? He didn’t recognize you?
Look, he drinks some kind of energy drink and chats with Ulyana, whom he avoided all the time. This kind of behavior is completely out of character for him.”
“I’m shocked by what happened to him, Maayan. This is a completely different person.”
“Yes, it’s scary, Yaron. One time, just a few seconds, was enough for that Peter to die. It looks like he became a drug addict. That’s what unnecessary curiosity led to.
Why did he decide to experiment on himself and go to check what exactly was going on in the toilet, because he understood that it would not end in anything good?”
“Yes, it’s a very sad experience, Maayan.”
My son and I came home upset and went to bed.
The next morning, we again wondered in desperation:
“What to do? How to earn money to pay for the apartment by the 1st of the new month?”
“Yaron, call Miguel (Peruvian security guard).
Please ask him if he is on duty here today and if Gila (the store manager) has come?”
“Yes, Maayan, he says that she has come and he will talk to her now about me.”
“Ok. Thanks to him. Let’s wait for the news.”
The news was not slow to appear.
Miguel called back and said that he was completely shocked by what was happening and, most importantly, that he could not understand the essence of what was happening.
“I went downstairs to the warehouse, – he said. – Gila was in her room.”
I asked her: “How are you, how was the trip?”
She replied: “It’s okay, it’s okay.”
Then I asked her, “What about that guy?”
She didn’t say anything to that and didn’t even ask who I was talking about, but only said:
“Miguel, go have a coffee with bourekas and go back to your workplace at the entrance to the store.”
After that, she left the store through the warehouse gate.
And then there was a text message from Roma, my boss from Alpha Security:
“I have to move you somewhere else, Miguel.”
“What’s wrong, someone needs to be replaced?”
I dialed his number several times, but he dropped my calls. I couldn’t understand anything. True, I also asked him about Peter, who for some reason does not pick up the phone. Maybe he’s worried about him?
Then Roma sent a note:
“I’m not happy with you, Miguel.”
In general, I can’t understand anything, Yaron.”
“Yeah. How strange it all is. Maybe there was something else that you didn’t tell me? Something important?” – I asked my son.
“Yes, there were some other boxes, they seemed heavy to me, they stood in the trading floor, near the oven for baking bread.
Tuesday morning Tal said to take them down to the warehouse, but then Samir came up, an elderly man who taught me the skill of a stacker, and loaded me with work so that I completely forgot about these boxes.
And on Wednesday morning, neither the Uzbek guy baking bread, nor the seven-foot Frenchman, working cutting cheeses, came, and Gila scolded me for a long time for not removing these boxes.
She said such a strange phrase – “They could scare or even kill someone …” – and she herself had a very frightened look.
Perhaps, Maayan, but it is only a hypothesis that they (these boxes) contained some household items containing a much stronger drug or even poison.”
“What a dangerous place this store is. Were there any inscriptions on the boxes, Yaron?” – I asked.
“No, just some black stripes.”
“Phone, Yaroshka. Who’s calling?”
“He offers to come to Villa Laguna and clean up.”
“Good. Tell him we’ll come now.”
Our route to work lay, as usual, past the store, and Miguel, who was standing guard there, was so excited by the incomprehensibility of what was happening, that when he saw us, he left his place as a guard and ran after us – “Gila has already sent a note that she is ill with coronovirus. All this resembles some kind of nonsense.” – he could not calm down.
“Miguel, I’m sorry, we’re in a hurry now, we’ll talk on the way back, in three or four hours. Ok?”
“Good. But I still don’t understand…” – he agreed reluctantly.
“Let’s go, Yaroshka, let’s see what surprises they have prepared for us today in Laguna. The white Igal’s Toyota is here.” – I said, opening the white door of the gate of a white villa with arched windows.
Picture Villa Laguna
Igal and Karin, as always, were sitting at a large long table, each at their own computer, in the spacious hall of the villa.
There the air conditioner worked for heat and there was some kind of unpleasant smell more strongly than usual:
“Shalom! Manishma? Beseder” – Yigal said. And then Karin explained to us what to do.
“Take these blankets in the duvet covers and replace the ones already in room 2 with them.”
“Don’t take them, Yaron. Now I’ll bring a laundry basket and put on gloves … The laundry emits a sharp herbal smell, which makes me dizzy, most likely it is intended for the high of some drug addicts.” – I suggested.
Yigal, as usual, began to run around the villa and left, which made Karin very happy, who apparently really likes to feel like an owner there and does not like the accompany of the owner of the villa.
We stayed at the villa for about four hours and returning home, we went to the store:
“Yaroshka, if you want, you can talk with Miguel for now, and I’ll go for groceries.”
“Ok! With pleasure, Maayan.”
While I was choosing vegetables, talking with Artyom (vegetable stacker), Tal (store’s warehouse manager) walked by in a black mask, the expression in his eyes was simply terrible.
“You know, Maayan, Miguel said that the cashier, “with teeth in the burekas”, found my T-shirts with the logo of the chain of stores, Gila gave them to me when I first came to the store. I left them at the main checkout, saying that I’ll wash them and then put them on. And then they disappeared, they seem to have been removed by Ulyana (another cashier). So she said that she found someone’s T-shirts and they were heavily drugged.”
“Let’s go, I’ll show you them.” – the cashier told me.
“Don’t you dare to do this” – Miguel said and grabbed my hand to make sure.
“Yes, Yaroshka, God saved you that Ulyana took the T-shirts, and Samir loaded you with work and you forgot about those boxes in which something terrible was possible to be.”
“Maayan, also Yakov (Mexican stacker), he, by the way, is from the desert, from the north of Mexico. So, he told such a story. I don’t know what you think, believe it or not?
“Usually I arrive at work by 8 am, – said the Mexican – but today I was asked to come early and at 6 am, when Tal opened the warehouse, I was already there and went to do my work in the warehouse. There, on one of the boxes, I saw a large bag of white powder. I did not touch it and did not attach much importance to it.
Powder bag picture
A few minutes later, it is not clear from where, because the store was still closed, some kind of inadequate-looking man appeared in the warehouse. He turned to me with a question:
“How much does sugar cost? Can I buy it now?”
“Sugar costs about two shekels, you can leave the money and take a pack, and then I’ll take it throught the checkout.”
“How many milligrams are there?” – he asked.
“Why milligrams? There is a kilogram, sugar is really cheap” – I answered.
“Are you really stupid or what? Where can I find some normal seller?
There was a guy with gray hair in sneakers, where is he?” – the man began to resent.
I went about my business, and when I returned, the bag with the white powder was gone.
Yes, and Artyom came, by the way, I’m afraid to communicate with him, I think that he is some kind of bandit and he seems to be selling coke (the name of the drug).
And yet, he is the only one of the stackers who walks in sneakers, the rest wear boots.”
“And Artyom’s hair is really gray, that is, mostly gray. And he usually comes at 6 in the morning, he told me that.” – I noticed.
In the evening before going to bed, we went for a short walk and, passing by the store, we saw how Artyom, a vegetable stacker, sold Peter a pack of cigarettes, one of which the guard immediately lit up.
“Yes, we’ve never seen a Hungarian smoke before.”
“Peter came to replace me with his car, and I was waiting for a car from Alfa Security.
We stood next to him for 15 minutes and he did not even notice me and did not say hello to me. I don’t understand what’s going on with him” – Miguel complained.
On Friday morning, I came up with a hypothesis that explains Gila’s strange behavior and the mysterious disappearance of the guy who baked bread in the store.
“Yaroshka, do you remember talking about the suspicious boxes that were in the store near the bread oven on Tuesday?
If the items in them contained some kind of very strong drug or even poison, they may have heated up when the oven was working and the guy became sick, he fell into an inadequacy and, leaving the store, went in an unknown direction and no one else saw him. By the way, the guy from the cheese department, which is located next to the bread department, also did not come on Wednesday morning, perhaps he did not feel well either.