There are two kinds of grocery stores.

There’s the regular kind, like your plain ‘ol neighborhood Safeway or Albertsons, and then you’ve got the trendy grocery stores that cater to every little trend in food, be it organic food or low carb, local growers and products, etc. etc.

We have this place near our house (Although Albertsons is much closer) called Central Market that definitely falls into the latter category. This place is huge, and has all sorts of weird and crazy stuff. They have a whole subsection of the store devoted entirely to Asian food, with aisles and freezers chock full of things that I have no idea what they are.

“Vege Lucky Ham” for instance. My best guess was that it was some sort of tofu meat or something.

The meat counter also has some pretty weird stuff. I only know of one other place anywhere near me where you can buy buffalo (This exotic meat store whose slogan is “From Alligator to Zebra!”). Hell, they have some stuff there that I haven’t ever even HEARD of, and I have a friggin’ degree in zoology.

So yeah, it’s a big, wacky, weird kind of grocery store. And since Crystal is a photography student who wants to go into food and product photography, she loves to go there every time she has an assignment to find something interesting to shoot.

So one day we’re there with a smattering of weird stuff to shoot… Some loose tea, a funky Asian bowl, some boxes that have Korean on it that could have anything from pickled cabbage to baby brains in it. So we’re standing in line, and who should be in front of us?


With an armload of cleaning chemicals and other random stuff…

“Hey Batman. Need to clean up some guano?”

“No. I’m out of smoke bombs,” he replied curtly.

“So you need all that stuff because… why?”

“Because I make my smoke bombs from common ingredients you can find around the house.”



“I just figured you always ordered them from a catalog of superhero stuff or something.”

“Nope, all my own recipe.”

So Batman gets up the front of the line, and the clerk scans all his random stuff. “That’ll be $56.24,” she said.

Batman whipped out his Visa card.

“Wait a minute, didn’t you horribly brutalize Joel Schumacher for having that in the movie?”

“Yeah. That part didn’t matter so much, basically I just wanted an excuse to break his sternum.”

The cashier handed him back his card. “I’m sorry sir, but it’s being declined.”

Batman just looked surprised. “But that’s the good one… Try it again.”

She swiped it again and waited for it to go through. “Sorry, it’s still being declined,” she said a moment later.

“I see,” said Batman calmly. Almost imperceptible to anyone but me, he was instinctively fishing around in his utility belt for a smoke bomb.

“I’m out of smoke bombs” just kept running through my mind.

Batman and the clerk locked their eyes in a tense staring contest. Each knew what the other was thinking, each of them waiting for the other to make the first move.

Outside, a tumbleweed rolled through the parking lot (Which is odd since this is Seattle).

Then, quick as a flash, they both made their moves… The clerk reached for the intercom handset and paged security to the register, and Batman started whipping of the caps of various bottles and jars.

“CanIborrowthatthanks,” he muttered as he yanked the bowl I was carrying out of my hands and started to mix ingredients.

Batman was moving quick as a lightning. You’d think he’d have had to whip up a smoke bomb on the spot a million times before, because he was just moving faster than I’ve ever seen him move before.

Down at the end of the row of cash registers, two security guards had appeared. One of them pointed at Batman (If he noticed them, he gave no sign), and began to move down the front of the store.

Batman was mixing furiously now, radiating an aura of intensity, yet oddly calm and collected.

The security guards were half way to us by now.

“Hey Batman,” I said as he whipped out his pocket blow torch and started heating the bowl, “how long does it usually take to make one of these things.”

“Takes about two hours. But I’m Batman.”

Wow, even the laws of physics are Batman’s bitch!

The security guards were about three quarters of the way to the aisle now, and Batman was still at it.

Man, I about chewed my nails down to the quick just watching this. Never in my life have I seen such a tense situation, I felt nervous just watching it.

The guards were only three steps away now. Batman was scooping out some of his concoction.

The guards were only two steps away now. Batman was rolling it around in his hands.

The guards were only one step away now. Batman was scooping everything into his shopping basket.

The guards were HERE now!

One of them grabbed Batman by the shoulder, and instantly we were all enveloped in a cloud of acrid smoke. I was coughing my lungs out, heard a few thuds, and then all was silent.

The smoke cleared, and of course, Batman was gone, and the security guards were dressed as clowns.

That Batman… he sure shoplifts in style.