Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Ruffled Pages and a Six Gun

A book went missing at my library today. Then this happened.

Everything went quiet when the Marshall walked into the dusty, yellow light of the bar. The piano player stopped in the middle of Camptown Races, and the serving girls froze, glasses halfway to tables. The only sound that could be heard was a faint crinkle, so like leaves in autumn. 

The Marshall was a tall man, and his hat made him seem even taller. The dirt and dust of a hard trail clung to him, standing out against his sun stained skin. A Colt Peacemaker hung at his side in a holster that shined despite the grime. His brows hung low in a perpetual squint, and a prominent nose made all his other features seem cramped around it.

He scanned the place in that flinty way lawmen do, before settling on a lonesome shape nursing a shot at the bar. Everyone felt the weight of that gaze except the book, who calmly sipped his whiskey. After a few moments of contemplation, the lawman's chin tilted up, and his eyes narrowed from cracks to mere creases.

"You Bad Faith Actions: Liability and Damages?" his voice rang out, loud in the sudden stillness.

"So what if I am?" the shape responded, turning to reveal the maroon corner of his binder.

"I hear there's a bounty for a book by that name," the Marshall responded, "and I'm hear to collect."

The book said nothing, a nothing punctuated by the sound of the empty shot glass ringing on the bar. The Marshall's hand had strayed to his belt at the sound, and he said, "We can do this easy or hard, but the Stoll brothers didn't specify dead or alive." A pause. "I don't much care either way."

"I died a long time ago," Bad Faith said, in a low voice like rustling pages, "but the bitch of it is, I keep on living." He quickly dropped to the floor, raising a scattergun he'd kept concealed under the bar. "I can't say the same for you though," he growled, pulling the trigger on the hand cannon.

All hell broke loose.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Silence Will Fall

I'm planning a trip this Labor Day weekend. Despite a previous bad experience - a nonexistent gas station in the middle of a mysteriously congested nowhere town during a thunderstorm - I'm using Gas Buddy to save money on my fill ups. 

However, I decided to check everything out beforehand. It's better to get it all squared away while I'm situated comfortably in my office chair rather than the roadside, right?

What could go wrong?

Gas Buddy says the cheapest gas on my route can be found at a Wilco Hess located at 1318 E Lee Highway in Wytheville, VA.

Problem 1.) Google Maps Street View reveals a "CJ's Pizza" near that location. That is all. Wait, there is also a hillock with sparse grass. I could not locate any pumps on or near the hillock.

Problem 2.) Gas Buddy's description of the place says that it's off exit 77 from Highway 77/81. There is no E. Lee Highway off exit 77. E Lee Highway is off of exit 67, though. Hmm.

Problem 3.) I called the gas station. The attendant verified that yes, they're on E. Lee Highway and they're also off exit 77. I asked her to clarify, exit 77 or highway 77. It's an easy mistake to make in a casual conversation. She said EXIT 77.

This state of affairs has likely been caused by a rip in time and space; two locations that are actually ten miles apart are now next to one another, overlapping one another. A bit like a wormhole, only not in space.

I remembered my phone call at this point, and asked God to have mercy on the soul of the woman I spoke with. I spent a summer working for a gas station, and regardless of disruptive temporal phenomena, it's a shit job.

I think I might go to another gas station. You know, one where the fabric of reality hasn't been folded like origami.