It was Yor’s idea, to check out the new Swedish store that had opened in Berlint. She mentioned it offhandedly over dinner, and Anya was immediately enamored with the idea after she heard there was an in store food court and children’s play area. After brief consideration, Loid nodded in assent.
It would look good, for them to shop for household items as a family, and besides, he had wanted to replace some of the pots and pans anyways (after several of Yor’s disastrous cooking attempts, they were unusable).
The store was right outside of Berlint, and so he had rented a car. Anya was a bundle of excitement- they did rarely drive anywhere, plus she had seen a store catalog and had already decided what she wanted.
“Remember, Papa, I want a Djungelskog and a Gemytlig!” she announced the minute they walked in.
He nodded again mindlessly, wondering where her confident pronunciation came from.
As they climbed the stairs up to the main showroom, the entire family was in awe at how big the store was. None of them had ever seen anything like it.
“We should stay together,” Loid said. He then turned around to find both Yor and Anya had abandoned him amongst the Frihetens and Havstas. At first, he thought it wasn’t a big deal. He was confident he could find them easily (and not just because he was a spy).
Almost an hour later, he looked between the Malm and the Hemnes (that he was confident he had already passed by three times). With no exit in sight, he desperately regretted agreeing to this outing. Somehow, many others all managed to pass him, seemingly without issue. Meanwhile, he was still stuck next to a Sagstua.
Loid decided to follow the next family that appeared- after all, they would have to be heading to the checkout section eventually.
He then found he severely underestimated both how big this store was and how long people spent here. Hoping that Yor and Anya were at least together, he closed his eyes and visualized the paths he had already taken. He must have passed by the exit.
Even after thinking about it logically for another thirty minutes, he was still unable to figure it out, and only due to luck, did he spot an employee racing between the displays as his radio buzzed “Come to the cash register, please!”
Loid glanced at the various other products they passed by- Lommarp, Småäta, and Nattjasmin. While keeping a close eye on the employee he followed, he couldn’t help but wonder- were these actual Swedish words?
(he made a mental note to borrow a Swedish dictionary from the library)
“Hallelujah,” he muttered under his breath, upon seeing the row of cash registers. Beyond the cashiers, he found Anya and Yor sitting at a table near a window. Yor had several bags with her, while Anya was excitedly attacking a plate of meatballs.
As Loid got closer to them, he heard Yor ask, “I wonder where your Papa is.”
“He’s right there, Mama!”
Yor looked over and smiled at him. Upon reaching their table, he collapsed into the one empty seat left (the other two were occupied by stuffed animals, he assumed they were the ones Anya had asked for).
“There you are, Loid! I was getting concerned.” Without a pause, she pulled a variety of knives out of one of her bags. “They had so many I couldn’t choose! Which do you like better, the Vardagen or the Lindrig?”
“They both look fine to me,” he replied tiredly.
As they waited for Anya to finish her meatballs, she peppered him with questions, “What’s the difference between a Swedish meatball and the ones you make? Where is Sweden? Do they have peanuts there too? Can you make meatballs out of peanuts?”
Loid looked forward to the painkiller inside his bedside table.
Once Anya finished, Loid took their bags (and stuffed animals) and they walked through the parking lot back to their rental. At the car, Anya piped up, “Can we come back soon?”
No. Absolutely not, he thought.
“Sure,” he found himself saying.
Anya and Yor beamed at him, and he smiled back wearily.
The things he did for the mission.