The card reader wasn't working at the gas pump tonight so I had to run inside to pay.
The man normally working behind the counter these days looks to be in his early to mid 60s. He could be younger but he's a heavy smoker and his face is deeply creased and ashen. He's short and slight with slumped shoulders. His clothes hang on him and look a couple sizes too big. He's always swooping his thinning blond hair over to the side out of his eyes. It's a habit.
I handed him my card and as he rang it through he winced and said, "And what about these goddamn crooks running these companies into the ground and then getting 42 million dollars for it?"
"Yeah, I know."
"I voted early and I voted against every incumbent. Every single one. Throw those bums outta there!" He took a breath and continued, "I voted for Obama. What? I'm gonna vote for McCain?" He scrunched his eyes together in disgust and looked away to the side, swooping his bangs out of his eyes.
He continued, "He's just like Bush. His policies would be just like Bush's. And what the hell's the matter with him anyway? He's 71 years old! He should retire. What's he doing?!"
"He wants to run the world, I guess."
"Yeah, well, screw him."
The door opened and a man walked into the station talking on his cell phone.
Impatiently, he asked, "Either of you two know where there's a Mexican restaurant around here?"
Mr. Craggles behind the counter said halfheartedly, "I don't live around here."
I thought for a minute and couldn't think of a Mexican restaurant in our little town.
"I don't think there's a Mexican restaurant around here anywhere." I laughed and said, "There's a Chinese place up the street and you can get some good spaghetti over there."
Thinking I was unfunny and probably uncool, he said sarcastically, "Well, that's helpful." And he walked out of the station in a huff.
Mr. Craggles winced and slammed the register drawer shut, "Yeah, and screw him, too."