Jacob looked around. Where did mom go? She’d been right here with her shopping cart, but now the aisle was empty. He ran around the corner. She wasn’t there either. This was bad.
No panicking. He’s a big boy now. He’ll just look in the other aisles. Walking slowly, and then a little more quickly, he checked the other aisles. She wasn’t there. She wouldn’t go home without him, would she?
Of course not. So, she was probably looking for him too. Right. He needed to sit still so she could find him. Should he find a grown up and ask for help? Maybe not yet. She’d find him soon.
So, he needed to sit and wait. He should gather supplies, in case there was an emergency. What should he find first? Water was important, but there was a water fountain by the restrooms.
Food? That was important. If he set up a base in the bakery, there would be lots of food in case aliens came or dinosaurs came back to life or a volcano erupted in the parking lot or something.
Maybe he should find a first aid kit. Dinosaurs had sharp teeth and claws. He wandered around and found them next to the shampoo. He tucked it under his arm and kept walking.
What if a blizzard came and it got extra cold? He needed a blanket. He wandered through the aisles and found a nice looking tablecloth. That would work. He had to stand on the first aid kit to reach it, but soon he was tucking it under his other arm.
Was there anything else? Oh, without any fruits or vegetables, he might get scurvy. He needed some oranges. He went back to the produce section. But his arms were to full to pick up the oranges. He went back to the bakery and hid the tablecloth and first aid kit under a table.
The bag of oranges was a little heavy. He was happy to finally hide it under the table with the other things. He paused to admire the stash. This was going pretty well. So what did he need next?
What if there was a terrible storm? The lights might go out. He found a flashlight next to the laundry soap. That made no sense. He picked up an umbrella too just in case a hole opened up in the roof during the storm and the rain came in.
Was he ready now? What if he got sick? He couldn’t take medicine without mom here. That was a safety rule. But sometimes when he was sick, his mom gave him crackers and ginger ale.
Finding crackers was easy. They were next to the cookies. Did he need cookies too? No, his base was next to the doughnuts. But maybe he’d need a toothbrush after eating all that sugar?
He took the crackers with him back to the shampoo aisle. The toothbrushes were right across the aisle. He picked a puppy toothbrush and some toothpaste covered in stars. He stacked them on the cracker box and felt a little accomplished when he managed to balance all three on his way back to his base.
He needed to go back for the ginger ale. That was on the candy and juice aisle. Chocolate was good for emergencies right? His mom said so and mom knew best. He picked up three bars of chocolate and found a bottle of ginger ale.
Wow, the bottle was heavy. He left the chocolate on the floor. He’d come back for it. He shoved it to the side and hugged the bottle close and waddled over to his table in the bakery.
Jacob went back for the chocolate bars and then looked at his base under the table in the bakery. It would need some rearranging, but it was almost perfect. He’d need something to do if he was hiding from dinosaurs or aliens or stuck in the dark with a flashlight.
It was time to look at the toys that were over by the greeting cards. He’d always wanted to look at them more closely anyway. He rushed over and tried to decide which toys would be best in the case of volcanoes, tornados, blizzards, and dinosaurs.
That’s when mom found him. “Jacob! I was so worried. I’ve been looking for you all over the store.” Mom hugged him tight. It was nice for a moment, and then he squirmed free.
“I looked for you all over, too,” Jacob said.
“You were supposed to stay in one spot or ask for help,” mom said.
“I was going to do that, after I got a base all ready,” Jacob said.
Mom smiled. “Of course you were. Let’s go Jacob.”
Jacob tangled his fingers into the side of the cart and walked alongside it to the checkout stands. It was good not to be lost, but it’s too bad he never got a chance to hide in his base for even a little bit. Oh well. It would be here the next time he got lost. Or aliens and dinosaurs attacked. Or lightning exploded the parking lot. Or something.