Deputy Director Alvin Kersh surveyed the aisle and approached the targeted sector with decisive steps that brooked no delay.
"Two packages of twelve, yellow," he murmured, his mission reinforced by reiteration.
In a cruel stroke of coincidence, Agent Monica Reyes passed by in the opposite direction and smiled at this unexpected encounter with her boss's boss. "Make sure to get Unscented," she whispered.
Kersh frowned and ignored her, concentrating on the selection of sanitarily packaged feminine protection. Protection against what? What absorbency should he get? Junior, Regular, Super, Super Plus, Ultra? The boxes held varying quantities, and those that did contain the requisite dozen had no yellow on their packaging.
"I prefer the ones without an applicator, but a lot of women just can't handle touching themselves so closely," confided the agent, pulling a box of Certified Organic & GMO Free Non-Chlorine Bleached tampons from the shelf.
Kersh kept his face forward, and used his bureaucratically superior gaze to strafe the topmost rack of panty liners.
"Wearing panty liners with tampons is good in case there's leakage," she chimed in helpfully.
Kersh turned his back to her and deliberately secured a Multi-Pack with 10 Regular Absorbency and 10 Super Absorbency. He was asked to get two packages of twelve; that makes twenty-four. Why not one pack of twenty? Wouldn't that be enough? That smoking bastard's enema couldn't possibly require that many tampons to plug it.
"Those have little prongs that can stick out and poke. That hurts, lemme tell ya," Reyes said, pointing to his chosen box of tampons. "Plus, the applicators aren't biodegradable."
Shouldn't she be writing a report? Kersh pretended she wasn't there and pointedly continued to keep the box he held, while examining the generic store brands as a precautionary measure.
"I hate it when I need one in an emergency, and the only one in my bag is all gunked up with lint and stuff from the wrapper getting torn. But then I found a little zippered hemp fabric pouch--"
"Excuse me," Kersh snapped tersely, clicking his heels in a deft maneuver to position himself in front of napkins With Wings. He vowed that Agent Reyes would not be reimbursed for the expenses she had incurred while extracting her partner from that hole in Mexico.
Unfazed, Reyes followed him. "Pads are so much better now that they have gel inside. Also," she added with a smirk, "with tampons, you might accidentally pull a hair instead of the string when removing them."
Kersh closed his eyes, trying to clear his mind's eye of the picture she had conjured. In another horrifying stroke of coincidence, his cell phone trilled. "Hello," Kersh bit out, making the word sound like a curse. "At the store... No, you need to be more specific. What brand?... What?... 'Peeps and gum'? That's not what I heard." Kersh angrily returned the box of tampons to the nearest gap on the shelf. "No, I thought you said 'cheap tampons'." CSM's tobacco-coated tracheotomy stoma sometimes rendered his speech incomprehensible. "Fine. I'll be there in five minutes."
Kersh brusquely pocketed his phone and stalked toward the Seasonal Aisle. With no wasted movement, he snatched two packages of twelve Peeps yellow marshmallow bunnies from the Easter candy display, bullied his way through the Express Check Out register, and left.