Over the last few weeks, it seemed my encounters had subsided. I had numerous trips to Walmart, Starbucks, the dry cleaners, and Schnucks (grocery store) with no encounters. Unfortunately, this string of good luck lulled me into lowering my guards.
I should have known something was coming when I had a brief encounter a few days ago at a local Walgreens. I was in line to pay for some medicine, and a rather intense gentleman begin explaining to me in loud terms how terrible red bull was for me. No, I was not holding a red bull. No, I did not ask him for his thoughts on red bull. Yes, he smelled of UV Blue.
Anyway, the discussion was fairly short lived.....but should have been a warning to me that fun time was about to resume.
Fast forward to tonight. Oldest son informs me that the gas light in our car was on....and had been on for some time. Grrrrr. I decided to make a quick run to the gas station and take care of it. Footnote: The "service" light was also on. Things like this help me understand why some animals eat their young....but I digress.
So, much like an episode of 24, cue up the clock for 17 minutes....that's how long I was gone.
- I leave the house, drive down my alley that now, thanks to recent warming, is La Brea Tarpit east.
- Have two gas stations in my town. Decide to go to the one with more lighting.
- Arrive at gas station, begin fueling
- Gentleman at pump next to me tells me that "the gas companies are f***ing us again! Gas here is almost $2.00/gallon. F******ers!"
- I nod and press the gas pump handle as hard as I can.
- Guy on other side of me mentions something about selling vitamins. Says I look a bit drawn, and might need some B complex.
- I begin squeezing the handle hard enough to leave the impression of my hand in the handle.
- Both gents drive off.
- I look up to notice someone taking a leak by the air pump.
- Squeeze handle even harder and shake pump hose, now knowing what it probably coming my way.
- Pee'er turns around, sword still being placed back into its sheath. Begins walking toward me.
- My fight or flight instinct fails me....I freeze.
- Gent comes over to me....with visible crotch moisture.
- Gent asks me for $2. Says his brother just died in Chicago and he needs money so he can get up there. Not sure what mode of transportation $2 will get him, other than the cheap buzz express.
- I give him $2. Wish him luck.
- I finish pumping, tell him I also need to pee but will do it inside in the bathroom, and go into the gas station. He laughs...I tremble.
- As I walk in, attendant is laughing his rear off...and there are two policemen in the adjoining McDonalds who were watching.
- I look back to see pee'er heading off into the darkness
- I ask attendant if he knows pee'er. He says no, but thought I handled him well, as he begins to laugh again (all was said with a pseudo southern accent. Fortunately, no mention of a "purdy mouth")
- I buy a bag of pretzels and tell the attendant to keep the 3 cents of change.
- As I walk back outside, notice a fog has rolled in. I begin wondering if I drove into the Twilight Zone. All that place needed was a kid who liked to watch cartoons all day.
- As I drive away from the gas station, I expect to see it disappear.
- Get home, walk in, and my wife says, "that didn't take long."
- I am now wondering if time just stopped for a while.