Thursday, September 05, 2013

Charm Of A Ratdog

On the way out of town I pulled into the rundown Phillips at the top of the hill and filled the tank and bought a shrinkwrapped hoagie. The chocolate chip cookies in the case looked good but when the clerk dropped one in a bag it rang like a stone. I said you got coffee? He shrugged. He was a skinny kid with the charm of a ratdog and weak whiteboy dreads. Wide strips of pale scalp stretched tight and painful looking. I said can you nod? His eyes got smaller. What? I said nevermind. The pot was a third full. It smelled like last week’s but it’d do to dunk the cookie. I said you got napkins? He was reading the Times. He didn’t look up. Under the hotdogs. I took more than I needed. You never have too many. He’d been reading the help wanteds. He said you got thirty? I said yeah. He made change. It wasn’t much. I shouldered the door open holding my coffee so it wouldn’t spill and went out. A semi blew by, jake brake bellowing. Gearing down late for the hill.

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