Chapter 4 Part 4 (98)

“Listen! You. Stupid hick.”

His face contorts into one of horror and disbelief much as I imagine my own face to look.

“I’m sorry you have nothing better to do than sit in your parents dump of a gas station. I’m sure this like every one previous is another in a long line of bad days. I assure you though, I’m having a worse one. So please, pretty please, can I have a quarter to make a call?”

By now that look of horror has contorted into one of rage. It probably doesn’t help that I’m leaning over the counter yelling and poking him in yesterday’s mustard stain. He grabs my shirt. Yes, this plan is going swimmingly. My hand covers the spare change dish. And… BAM! He socks me straight in the nose.

It hurts, sure, but as I’m sailing backward into his Coca-Cola display I glance at my prize, a shiny quarter. Instead of bursting and spraying everywhere the bottles just tumble to the floor as though they were running from the impact of my body.

The clerk has regained the look of horror. He smooths his shirt as though he could regain his composure by performing this one simple act.

“That’s right, I ain’t afraid to hit no kid.”

I blink and the chime from the door finishes its song. The clerk behind the counter never wakes.

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