Friday, September 15, 2006

It may have been a katana

I used to go to the local Citgo® all the time for cigarettes and junk food and what-not, but since I moved back to Chicago, I never seem to go there anymore. Mostly I go to the Puerto Rican place on the corner.

Late Tuesday night I had to feed and water a cat for a travelling friend, and I wanted to wait until after rush hour, and then House was on, and then one thing and another, until it was almost 2 in the morning.

I was out of cigarettes and craving a coffee drink, so I thought of the Citgo, which was more or less on the way, and which I thought might have something like coffee. They have a full mini-mart thing in there but they lock it up at night and you have to tell the guy at the window what you want and he'll go get it for you. When I used to shop there all the time I remember him buzzing me in most of the time even though they'd locked up, but it was very late at night and I'm sure the guy didn't remember me.

I told him what I needed and he went off to find everything. While he was gone, I was sort of looking around the cash register area and spotted a baseball bat, which I seem to remember them having from before (I guess it can get dicey at night sometimes). But next to the bat, right up against the 2-inch glass, I could swear I saw the hilt of a sword. A sword. Right there in the mini-mart of the gas station near my house.

Once I saw it, I couldn't really think about anything else until he came back. I couldn't be certain it even was a sword, but I was pretty sure and it was a little jarring. I guess it was a lot less weird than if there was a trebuchet or a group of knights in the parking lot, but it still seemed anachronistic and strange.

He returned with my drinks and pulled down my cigarettes and I kept staring at the hilt of the sword.

"Is that a sword?"

He chuckled a bit and said "yeah" while he was putting my stuff in the bag.

"Guess you don't get to use that much."

"Friday," he said.

"Excuse me?"

"Yeah, Friday. They had a gun and they took the money ok..."

"You used it Friday?"

"Yeah, well, I wouldn't've, but they tried to take my van." He pushed a slip through the tray for me to sign, and pointed at a battered van parked off to the side of the little parking area.

I looked at the van and back at him a few times before I signed and returned the slip. I was trying to imagine him taking on a couple guys with at least one gun, armed with a sword. He's a little guy, and I mostly remember him as being really friendly when I was there in the past. Jovial, even.

"Well," I said, with a dry, nervous laugh. "I was gonna try and steal your van, but now I guess I won't." I tried to laugh again, but just started coughing.

He didn't find my comment funny, and didn't say another word while he pushed my bag into the lower tray and shoved it towards me. It worked an awful lot like the tray they used in Silence of the Lambs to give stuff to Hannibal Lechter.

I got back in my car, looking at the van again. It wasn't even a nice van.

I sure hope he was just fucking with me.


Unknown said...

That's the best story I've heard/read in at least a week. Thanks for sharing.

The Moon Topples said...

Wow. Thanks!