Dialogue and I encountered a much creepier and more insidious Safeway of the Damned a few months ago, on our way to The Horny E2 Portland Conflagration. If memory serves, it was in Woodinville, Washington.

We had pulled off the freeway intending to make a brief stop in search of sustenance. As soon as we spotted it, we knew this was no ordinary Safeway. To begin with, it had a gas station. The parking lot was gigantic, more than enough to hold an entire county's worth of minivans.

As we disembark, the parking lot is strangely silent, though moderately close to full of cars. Hesitantly, we approach the behemoth supermarket.

The inside is clean. No trace of the muddy boots of the construction workers who erected it, no sticky spots on the floor to give evidence of the dangers of shopping with children. It looks as though the thing was transported in by airlift from some city-cized dust-free factory where it was carefully injection molded by men in space suits, all in one huge piece.

It's still quiet. The cash registers beep innocently, the cashiers barely whisper to the customers through peroxide brightened grilles of teeth.

One of the bag-children is mopping the spotless floor as we pass the bank of cash registers, she pauses, letting us pass. I don't look back to see whether she erases the imperceptible tracks, but I imagine it happened that way. Dialogue continues to the deli; I go to the bathroom.

This is not a Safeway bathroom. A Safeway bathroom is stuffed in the back of the store, next to the meat department, has doors that don't lock, no toilet paper, various industrial cleaning supplies stacked against one wall. This is the personal toilet of Martha Stewart, or June Cleaver. The walls are stylish wallpaper and adobe tiles. Individual adobe tiles, not those cut-to-fit strips of linoleum you buy from the hardware store. The sinks are brass and marble, as are the toilets. Angels sing when you flush the toilet and Chanel No. 5 is atomized throughout the stalls from an unknown location.

Perhaps I remember it slightly grander than it was, but still. The only thing that gave it away as a Safeway bathroom were the five "Dirty Hands Spread Disease" signs posted around the sink.

The woman who gave us our deli food didn't seem to be a genetic experiment or space alien or cult member, but I can't be positive. It may all have been a clever ploy.

My guess is that, by now, all signs that that Safeway ever existed have been removed. Someone's built a particularly lush playground on top of what used to be the parking lot. One night, after Dialogue and I passed through, it just disappeared.