“Convenience,” by Ryan Jackson

Nov 20th, 2007 | By | Category: Prose

Reynold fell asleep behind the wheel of the car, waking up again some twenty or thirty miles away on another highway.

“Aw crap,” his mouth moves to say.  He pulls over at the next exit, stops at a large convenience store to get his bearings.  A man inside feels all the bags of Ruffles, the 99 cent bags, like he thinks some of them are fuller than some of them.  A woman mixes different fountain drinks together in one big cup.  A hipster in his late twenties or early thirties snaps photographs of the people wandering the aisles.  Reynold stops the
Portuguese clerk as he starts to step back behind the counter with a plastic cup of ice he’s busy chewing on.

“Dude,” he begins, the Portuguese man turning at the touch of a stranger’s hand on his Portuguese shoulder.  “Dude, where is this place?” The clerk looks confused for a moment, then slowly points to the ground. “No, where on a map?”  The clerk’s face lights up.

“Matt,” he says, pointing to his name tag.  Reynold has a momentary moment of rage where he considers stabbing this man’s eyes out with one (or more!) of the screwdrivers offered for sale to his right.  He looks around and sees a map of the tri-state area on a display, picks it up and unfolds it on the counter as Matt looks on with some degree of curiosity, slowly chewing a piece of ice, reaching into his cup for the next piece.

“Where are w-” Reynold starts.  He thinks for a second, mouth half open.  “Where is Matt?”  Matt leans over the map, drops of cold water melt off the ice in his right hand and dot the map here and there.  He taps with his left hand the town of Grange.

The hipster has been watching Reynold for a few moments, since being drawn by the anger waves moving off Reynold in all directions.  He holds his camera tentatively in front of his chest, in front of a t-shirt with a picture of Paul Lynde and the slogan “Circle gets the square.”

Reynold smiles as he drops 75 cents on the counter and reaches for the display of giant pixiestix on the counter, tears the top off one and pours pixie dust into his wet mouth.  Hipster snaps a shot off.  The door opens and air rushes outside, pixie dust sprays all over.  Hipster snaps off another shot.  The man who enters is a burly man, he surveys the crowd before opening his mouth.

“Who drives the lilac Miata?”  Reynold raises his right hand, left hand wiping pixie dust off his face.  “Son, you cut me off seven times in the last twenty minutes.”  Reynold searches his memory for the last twenty minutes of road, remembering only dreams.


Ryan Jackson one day hopes to be the first emperor of the moon, so long as the dark wizards don’t stop him first.

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