Waiting in line at the gas station, a woman shifted her heavy weight from one side to the other and craned her neck to see around a large man in front of her. The man waited with his hands stuffed inside of the pockets of a worn leather jacket with the patience of a mountain. The woman in line had been on her feet all day running the cash register at Church’s Chicken. The smell of fried grease lingered in the air around her, clung to her collared and stained shirt, and weighed heavy in her hair. Her nose shone with grease and sweat under the harsh store lights.
She was tired, sick and tired of people wanting and taking things from her, especially without her permission. At this particular minute, 11:25pm, she noted after checking on her cell phone, a woman at the front of the line was not only stealing but also wasting her time. “Hey, what’s the deal?” she shouted from behind the man. “Hurry it up! Selling gas and cigarettes shouldn’t take all night!”
Standing at the counter, a woman with gray hair and a long purple coat had just dumped her oversized purse out spilling pennies, pieces of candy and scraps of paper out onto the floor. “I’m looking for my money. I know it was here when I left. This is so embarrassing.” Checking in her purse one more time, she shook her head and looked back at the line that had formed. Apologetically holding her head down, she pushed the quart of milk and box of crackers forward and whispered, “I’m sorry, I can’t pay”. She turned to leave with her eyes cast down but the man stopped her. “Hold it!” he demanded in a deep voice. “Give her the dammed milk and crackers, and give me the money in your register at the same time!” Pulling his hand from his pocket, he produced a small black pistol. “Do it now!”
In an irritated voice, the cashier said to the woman, “Fine, take the stuff.” The woman crept back to the counter around the man, grabbed the things with a rushed “thank you”, she crept back out the door.
Then to herself and anyone else listening, the cashier said, “This is the second time this week that some asshole has help up this stupid store. Gawd, I’m quitting. Take what you want.”
Still holding the pistol up, he pointed it at the cashier and pulled the trigger. “Wait a minute. Where’s your sense of adventure?” he started laughing uproariously as a small stream of water came out of the pistol. “I’m not robbing you; I just bought this gas station and wanted to see what goes on after 11:00 around here. I’ve heard it’s a rough area and wanted to protect myself.” He squirted the gun again into the air and pulled out a thick wad of bills. Peeling one off the top, he handed it to the cashier. “That should cover her things, and you can keep the change for your trouble.”
He turned back to the women who had been standing behind him, “And you ma’am, could use a greater sense of decency towards others and let’s not forget personal hygiene, you stink of chicken.”