Saturday, August 29, 2009

Scenes 34, 35 & 36

Blinky walks around the front of the station, just as the lawyer is coming out. “After all that,” he’s saying. “errors in the contract! Well, have no fear, Mr. Thick, I have fresh copies.”

The guy gets some more files from the truck and goes back in. Blinky watches through the window as Tom signs.

Then the lawyer speaks into his watch, and the door on the back of the SBE, Ltd. vehicle opens up, and the two guys get back out with a ladder and a big plastic sign that reads, “SUCKE BROTHERS PETROLEUM PRODUCTS. We’ll Fill You Up.” In what seems like seconds, they have surgically removed the existing Fuel King placard, which lands with a plasticky thunk on the ground. The new sign goes up just as fast. Meanwhile the lawyer is carrying a cardboard box back into the gas station. He pulls out a brand new fax machine and installs it quickly. Then he pulls out a bunch of little things wrapped in tissue paper.

Soon, there are eight or ten corn starch busts, just like the ones Myron described from O P & Q. They’re watching the inside of the station. One of them is sitting on the cash register. Another has a good view of the pumps.

The lawyer opens a cellophane package and hands Tom a SUCKE BROTHERS PETROLEUM PRODUCTS work shirt. He puts it on.

He looks ridiculous. And very alone.

The lawyer and the two signage guys get back in the truck and drive off. Now it’s gotten to be twilight.


Myron’s guard is so down it’s at his ankles. He drinks from his plastic cup and looks back at Charlene, who’s got her shoes off. “It’s not your gall bladder, Myron. I think,” she says, smiling, “it’s something else.” Underneath the table, she puts her foot on Myron’s wiener. “I know what’s all blocked up.”

On the far side of the salad bar, Mad Anthony Wayne has gone back for another drink.

“Let’s go, baby,” says Charlene. She drags him out of his chair. As they move, Wayne gets a good look at Myron, and vice versa. “Hey,” thinks Myron, “I know that man.” Wayne points at Myron, and barks in a slurred sort of way, “You!”

“Come on,” says Charlene. Myron throws money on the table and lets her guide him. They stumble out the Star-Lite through a side exit, using a fire door that says it’ll set off an alarm, but doesn’t. It occurs to Myron, fleetingly, that she’s done this before. They scamper across a parking lot and past a bowling alley, to the Deluxe Motel.

They get a room. The sheets are old.

Charlene takes her shirt off. Myron is thinking maybe it’s all a big tease, or even a scam that will lead to his own death, when Charlene starts to get down to it.



Wayne stumbles out of the Star-Lite just as Tom Thick is headed in. They collide. The General barks about the decline of manners and what an insufferable oaf etcetera. WHAP!—Tom slams him up against the door jamb six inches off the ground. Wayne puffs up like a surprised fish and flops around for his sword. The Hammerhead bears down on him and growls, just as the jukebox hops to life inside. Tom lets go and stomps inside. Wayne gasps for air.

A third of a mile away, Blinky is gathering dead grass. He’s pulling stuff up in a miniature prairie next to the Fuel King. He’s dancing with his woodland creature friends. He’s stooping over plants. He’s breaking pieces off a dead tree. He’s making a pile on the concrete. He’s opening the car door, and pushing in the lighter.

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