Intent to Purchase: Haircare Product
Input Observation Data For: Dorothy MacDearden, Pickup Window 7
Date of Observation: Monday, May 11, 2020. 6:39 p.m.
Dorothy’s in the pharmacy, wearing a mask like everyone else. Personally, I hate these things. They make everyone seem suspicious. Hers at least looks expensive. Medical-grade, we’d probably call that quality. Let’s see here… Rubber gloves—or are they vinyl? When she grabs the can of hairspray, I notice how the glove creases. Vinyl is more rigid; it creates harsher shadows. Transcriber? That’s right. Let’s say, vinyl. Khaki pants. They’re stained. Nike Air Flows? I think those are vintage.
Oh! Now she’s over at the vitamin section. Deciding on what? I wonder… What are you after here, Dorothy? Hair, skin, and nails? Maybe some fish oil? Nope. Nada. She’s settling into the line for Pickup Window 7. Great. Back to translation. Peacoat is…by St. John’s Bay. Medium gray. Auburn hair. Most likely dyed. Income? If I had to guess, between forty and fifty k. Kids, unknown. Late thirties to mid-forties. I think white? Single…but wait a second. A ring. Go in tighter. A little more. What an ugly diamond, Mrs. Dorothy MacDearden! Look at that carbon buckling. Also, did someone cut it with a sledgehammer? Eek! Okay. Pulling back—sorry! Mark as married.
Can you guys believe these new guidelines? Fucking crazy that we’re given this type of access. “Market research,” we’re all calling it. Behavior sensors within stores? I mean what the actual fuck! Wish I woulda thought of that. Could’ve finally gotten myself out of Uncle Sam’s diarrhea underwear. Markets crashing. New consumer patterns. Advertisers are drinking their piss over this tech. Is this really okay? Is it even legal? Maybe delete this later. Unmute mic.
Six! Feet! People! Guy’s a little too close to our lady. God help us. So interesting… I wish the intercom music wasn’t so loud. Maybe I could hear what she’s humming over there. Zoom in a teensy bit. More. There. If I just ramp up the mic stabilizer, I might be able to—OOPS! Loud and clear, Dorothy MacDearden!
People hum when they’re nervous. Don’t you think that’s true? I can tell even while she chews her tongue in line. Those pupils of hers, bouncing around like pinballs. That girl’s nervous! I’m thinking. You don’t need to be a psychic; people want you to find them out. Just look at mistakes they drop. Keep your eye focused, and the hints open up like spring. But hey, that’s what I’m here for. Right? Dorothy is intending to buy, and now we watch her. Pretty easy. And so what if I’m curious? Dorothy’s got some bats swarming in that attic. Now she’s just waiting in the pharmacy line with a can of Client’s hairspray. But there’s something more here…
That song she’s humming. How do I know it? D-D-D-Dorothy MacDearden. D-D-Dorothy MacDearden.
The male behind her. Data Team: What’s his name? Could you run his mug by S.T.A.X? I’m starting to wonder about something here. Just humor me. Please? I swear we’ll stay within HIPAA guidelines.
Hey Account Team: Do we have anything in cosmetics? We do! Great. Move me over to Maybelline. Yes, lipstick is fine. Thank you. Patching through. Almost…and…there! Did she just sneak a look at Mr. Nosey-Dick behind her? Hmmph. You two know each other? Didn’t Guy come in later than Dorothy? Hey. Pull the camera in again. Left hand, ring finger. Let’s take a looksie, shall we? Why do I feel like I’ll find—and what’s this? Married too! Huh. Closer. Closer. Fifty-percent zoom. Yes! That’s it. The carbon buckling! Even in the smaller diamonds, you see the same craftsmanship. See that signature? So they’re married! But then why…?
Hey guys, how’s that I.D. coming? Recognition said what? His name is Harvelous Meyer?
No shit. A Thousand Gazillion. That seventies sitcom I remember watching with Ma. Old Wild West show. A bunch of loaded ranchers hide from police in Mexico. Bad special effects and the like. The main characters? A rowdy-rootie, tootie-frootie type of broad. Doctor Dorothy MacDearden. Her big slice? You guys following? A slippery cop, Detective Harvelous Meyer. Robbers. Junkies. Party animals! Fuck, that show was good. But can this all be right? Move me closer to MacDearden. No. The audio please. Yes! AUDIO! That’s it. A Thousand Gazillion Things to See. And if they ask, it wasn’t me! That’s the one! Got a song stuck in your head. Don’t you, MacDearden?
The hand hits seven. Clapping again. All the ruckus, the cheering, the commotion. Damn. It gets louder and louder. Hey, can someone turn their mic off? The feedback is killing me. Oh, great—the fucking fireworks now. It’s worse every day now, ain’t it? What’s next? Opera singers? Atom bombs? One sec. Muting my audio.
No, no, no. Something’s not smelling right. The timing… Whoever that is, will you mute your fucking mic?! Goddamn. MacDearden’s walking up to the pharmacist. Saying something. It’s slow. She’s not quite sure of herself. Okay. Pharmacist takes the hairspray through the big, plexiglass-quarantine-window-shield. It’s for protection, I guess. Everyone keeps clapping. Cheering. Wailing.
Seven p.m. Will it ever end?
Wait one fucking second. She’s reaching into her peacoat. Shit, guys. Security! She’s got a pistol?! Fuck. Need to do something. Pharmacist has his hands up. Hope he’s got a big red button back there! Shit, shit, shit. Account? Are you still there? Is anyone else seeing this? Oh, damnit to hell! Her partner’s got a shotgun! Repeat! It’s a fucking armed robbery! Anyone!? Security! We’re just gonna sit here and watch?!
MacDearden’s aiming her pistol at the…the can of hairspray? No you aren’t, MacDearden. FUCKING GODDAMMIT! You’re—
—Aaaaand my camera just fried. Fucking A. Guys! I’m out of visuals. Can anyone switch my camera? Can anyone still hear me? Oh, hell. Stop audio. Stop calibration. Stop mic.
Completing Observation Data For: Dorothy MacDearden, Pickup Window 7
Product Vertical: Beauty/Haircare
Client/Brand: HOLD IT Right There!® Max Hold Hairspray
Motobuchi is an emerging writer with a passion for speculative fiction, exploring themes of dystopia, identity, and queerness. Their first short story “The Tracer” appears in Typishly. Outside of writing fiction, they work in the world of advertising, art-directing interactive commercials.
George L Stein is a photographer in the New Jersey/NYC area focused on art, street, urban decay, surreal, and alt/portrait photography. He has previously been published in a number of literary magazines such as Beyond Words, Juste Milleiuzine, and NUNUM.