Three Thousand Five Hundred Sixty-Eight Mondays

28 Feb

6:36 a.m. I gas up for the week at the corner Shell. All pumps are being worked. Everyone else is a contractor. Waiting, standing morosely next to their beat-up, white Econolines. Ladders shooting out from above, the sides, even below, like tired, dull instruments of war. Our faces are the same: leather, dry skin, aged, unhappy. We go into the little store to spend the few dollars we have on our respective vices. Lotto tickets, cigarettes, Slim Jims, trinkets, shit coffee, shit pastries, bag of pork rinds. There’s a shift change in progress and so we have to wait for the clerks to put in passwords, unlock safes, count change, place it in the registers. And so we wait. For those of us buying lottery tickets, it’s a chance to re-consider our numbers. Dream for thirty more seconds. Back outside again counting our change for the next time we meet here. The gas station speakers are blaring ABBA’s “Dancing Queen.” The juxtaposition of the happy tune at this early hour, and all of us morose men (and it’s only men at this time) standing, guarding our vehicles like saps at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, is savage. But it’s the details, the horrifying absurdity of the details–all harboring a murderous intent–that we are powerless against. There is no beauty in the details. The marks they leave are on our faces, on our limbs–in the form of angry tattoos or earrings or branding marks. The marks they leave are scars on our livers, maladjusted kids, shit homes, defaulted mortgages, weird dreams. We count change for the next time we meet here. Gas is up thirty-five cents a gallon since two days ago. We count change: is there enough for the drawing on Wednesday night? We count our lives in cigarettes and dirty filters thrown on the pavement. Slim Jims. Ding Dongs. A few laughs at the week-ends. Dancing Queen feel the beat from the tambourine.

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2 Responses to “Three Thousand Five Hundred Sixty-Eight Mondays”

  1. Robb 28/02/2011 at 10:31 PM #

    I miss pork rinds. I do not miss Abba. Or gas stations. Or gas. This story is so sad it made me happy. I like that.

  2. Pruteanu 01/03/2011 at 9:16 AM #

    Well Robb, I aim to plea…never mind, I don’t aim for anything. But glad you dug.

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