Bram Stoker’s Back-to-School Shopping

by Melissa Pelletier August 31, 2017

 pack full of colorful crayons illustration

August 24th

Dread. It’s a feeling that creeps into your soul, born from the thought that planted it there. Dread. The breeder of anxiety, the eater of dreams, the pestilence in your heart. Curse you, woman! I said to myself, the thought having manifested from waiting until the last minute to buy back-to-school supplies for my children. I have two of them, and I live in the suburbs, so there’s a lot of competition for supplies. There will be nothing left! Your latent financial anxiety has made it so this process will become the monstrous beast to end your summer. Curse you! I am resolved to combat this inner dread by going to Target and finding all I need. Go find them, I say to myself, Go find them, and the creeping voice in your head with desist, and be utterly defeated.

August 25th

I looked at the school supply list posted on the school district website:
  • 47 packages of Crayola crayons
  • 35 glue sticks
  • 20 Play Doh packs (only from a certified play doh provider)
  • 15 Elmer’s school glue bottles (specifically school glue, from the teat of the Elmer cow herself)
  • composition notebooks
  • rulers
  • 100 sharpened pencils
  • 12 baby birds
  • 14 amethyst crystals from a certified witchdoctor
  • 75 phoenix feathers
These poor teachers! I thought. They’re not paid nearly enough for enriching little minds, and they need help with buying supplies! I know in my heart I must help these teachers, yet this list is a behemoth. It will surely crush me both literally and figuratively, and I know it will cost more than I have budgeted. Nevertheless, I continue my quest.

August 26th

We drove into the parking lot of our local Target, an oppressively large structure, with giant, red, protective orbs near the front door. We entered the store, children in tow, and encountered Bullseye, the dog-like gatekeeper of the establishment, perched atop a throne of “Back to School” signs and boxes. I dared not meet his stare. Those blood-red eyes see right into the core of your worst fears, made manifest throughout the store. We walked past and met a cluster of Target-dwellers, creatures who move quicker than is humanly natural and possible, and I knew I must become one of them. I must transform into a shopper until my mission is fulfilled. I maneuvered to the school supply section, and found many of the necessary items, yet some were what I had most feared: off brand. My old familiar friend, Dread, came back to whisper in my ear. “You waited too long.” Hush! I am doing my best! “Not good enough.” Curse you, curse youuuu!

August 27th

I must try to find the right brand of crayons and glue. I thought I would be okay with the off-brand items, but my Dread has become an obsessive voice in my head. It’s the day before school, so I went on my own to a craft store to give it one last shot. As I arrived at the store, to my dismay, the employees were placing giant Halloween decorations on top of the shelves in the silk flower section. A bit early for that, don’t you think? I will just take a peek at those later, though, I told myself as I searched for the elusive and much coveted Crayola products. To my amazement, I found 10 24-packs of crayons and knew I would sleep that night. In a bin nearby were some lawn ornaments that you stick in the ground with a long, wooden stake. I felt compelled to take one. As I walked through the aisle of newly installed decorations on my way out, a worker shouted “Look out! It’s gonna fall!” Before I could blink, a giant, styrofoam Dracula descended upon me from above. Instinctively, I aimed the lawn ornament’s wooden stake directly at the creature’s heart, impaling it. I fell to the ground, but survived. Dracula did not. Thankfully, the store did not charge me for the dead decoration, and I got to take my crayons home for free.

Melissa Pelletier


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