Jul 9, 2005

So what do we do for an encore?

I need a bear wearing an Elizabethan ruff collar that can ride a unicycle, recite Proust, and juggle. Sort of like a screen saver, only more hirsute.

There were two post subjects in my head yesterday, and foolish me I didn't jot them down, and now they're gone. I know better than to have done that, but did so anyway. Don't get me wrong, I'm not one of those people who constantly carries a tiny chewed nubbin of a pencil around and is always seen savagely searching for a scrap of paper to jot a note on, nor am I the sort of person who can carry a PDA and use it, nor am I the person you sometimes see hurrying somewhere with a fixed expression who is muttering under their breath something over and over so that when they arrive at their destination they can jot this vital mantra down.

No, I'm the sort of guy who thinks of something and relies on this three pound lump of wetware in my skull to bring it back when I most need it, and in a world of holographic memory storage I'm still working with stone tablets.

But, thanks to the careful application of certain chemicals and a low voltage dose to the base of my skull, I remember now.

Title: Three Dogs F**king

The new office is out in the Middle of Nowhere. That's not completely accurate. It's more like on the Very Edge of Nowhere. We're on an old highway which sits beside a very new interstate, and we're out on the edge of the large city we live in, so the population is not, shall we say, dense. Thick yes, dense no. And as we are operating on the edge of an interstate out on the verge of nowhere, the closest gas station is not what clean, normal people would call clean nor normal.

See, this place has sat right across the interstate's off ramp for a very long time. It's been sitting there so long a graveyard has sprung up in it's side yard. I kid you not. It's one of those half-run down truck stop places that you always see in movies but unless you live in an economically declining city (Boyce) you never really see places like it. And when you're on fumes and know that you cannot make it to the real gas station with the bright lights and the big canopy and the bored 18 year old cashiers you end up going to a place like this because it's close.

My mistake.

See, I've been on both sides of the check-out stand. I understand a clean parking lot, and multiple gas pumps with credit card slots. Trash cans that are clean and empty are my usual fare. I understand brightly lit aisles, metal shelving, and full stock levels. I understand clearly priced items and a clean, if not helpful, staff. What I don't get is the gravel parking lot that's big enough to house a dozen tractor trailers when none are present. I don't make much sense out of a giant plywood sign nailed to the roof that proclaims the location's name as "Truck Stop." I don't understand why it is that there is only one gas pump, it was probably state of the art in 1963, and has a hand-lettered sign that says "Pay first after dark don't block diesel pump" when the diesel pump is a good hundred feet from me.

And I don't understand it when three dogs come up out of nowhere and amble over to me. See, I grew up with dogs. Friendly, clean, bright-eyed dogs. I didn't grow up with dogs who come over with a look in their eye like they expect me to do something either to or for them. I wasn't sure if they wanted me to check their oil level or maybe pour out some gas for them to drink or if they simply wanted to come and bite me, to pass along the joy that is rabies.

Normal dogs gambol. They frolick, they jump around, they look at you with utter good nature and humour in their intelligent eyes. These dogs were not normal. They were RMB dogs. These were redneck dogs, no question about it. They sidled. They never turned away from me, which meant that at times they were walking sort of sideways, so as to keep their muzzles pointed at me, like guns with teeth. They played, in a manner of speaking. Two of them would choose a third at random and leap at it's back legs and tail, biting and pulling until the victim fell down, and to make matters worse the victim's muzzle STILL POINTED AT ME. Even in the throes of mortal combat these animals did not look away from me.

The smell was the most interesting part of all. I've smelled dogs. I grew up with two or three stinky dogs all around me, and it was never a big deal. Dogs smell like dogs. These dogs took smelling seriously, though. When they first ran up I simply assumed someone was burning garbage nearby, which was a reasonable assumption at this place. As they cavorted and lunged and attacked I realised that it was THEY who stank, sort of a primordial filthy dog cooking in the sun too long sort of smell. It wasn't a smell of death, it was simply double plus ungood stinky dog. It was stink with teeth in it. I smelled it for hours after I had left them, sort of an evil poltergeist of a smell.

Inside (I had to pay inside after dark even tho it was 7:35 am) was just as bad as I had expected. Aisles leading nowhere, four fifths of the coolers were devoted to very cheap beer, and the stock levels and quality were, well, questionable. There was tinned vienna sausages and Spam there that looked like they had made it through Chernobyl. The chips seemed wilted. Even the cooler that had Sobe and Red Bull and Pepsi seemed like it had been stolen from some other cleaner, brighter convenience store and transplanted here, and simply hadn't had time to start dying yet.

The best part was the black glass door that said "Game Room." It's human nature to stare at a car wreck, so I had to look in. Apparently a "Game Room" is three electric poker machines, one very small crooked billiards table in a 30' long room, is lit by two 40 watt bulbs on bare wires, and has two, yes TWO bars, one to an end. Classy. Made me want to saunter in and ask if anyone played Snooker.

I paid for my gas and a Pepsi, and while I stood at the counter the two resident evils stared at my bike and my jacket and helmet like I had just come down from the Mother Ship and was about to tell everyone that The Rapture was due any second, time to kiss your asses goodbye. The hunchbacked one seemed nice enough, but the feral one was checking my purchases out, so I simply stayed quiet, didn't make any fast motions with my hands, and got the hell out of there.

I saw the dogs again yesterday, a mile or more away from where I met them first. They were trotting down the highway, swinging their stinky heads from side to side, sort of like mobile hairy machine guns. I swear they were looking for me.

1 comment:

madman said...

Yep--I would have not thought it possible, but you managed to do it. You told the story of purchasing fuel, and you made it more than interesting. Watch out for those dogs! OH--and Thanks.