"What kind of cigarettes can I get with this?"
The dirty change hit the metal tray below the separating plexiglass shield with a piercing clang. Nathan shuddered at the sight of the woman; loose leathery skin, faded eyes, hair like straw dry enough to be set ablaze. Her mouth was open and she was missing at least three teeth. He looked down in the tray to see an assortment of dimes, nickels, and pennies. Not even a fucking quarter, he thought. And he hated when people didn't even have the courtesy to count the change beforehand.
Working graveyard at a gas station in a seedy part of town ensured Nathan all the unpleasant people he could handle. It paid fairly well for a gas station job though; nobody wanted to work that shift, not here.
The woman had three dollars and twenty two cents in rusty coins. This was an exchange he was all-too familiar with; it seemed nobody out at this hour could afford decent cigarettes. He grabbed a pack labeled Red Calx, which was basically twenty paper rods filled with dirt, mold, and tobacco. How people could smoke that shit, he never knew.
"I wanted the menthols."
That harsh, scraping voice got another silent shudder from Nathan. Her throat sounded as though it had a thick coating of tar inside, which it probably did. He slipped a nickel and two pennies into the tray and put the Red Calx back, grabbing the Green. He pushed the pack through to the other side.
"You got matches?"
The woman's voice almost seemed to be belched forth. Yes, Nathan thought. Anything to get you to stop talking. He nodded and grabbed a small matchbook, giving it to her while observing the deep lines in her face one more time. The woman looked up at him, seemingly annoyed, and turned around quickly. Nathan watched her walk off the parking lot. She wore green sandals; obviously very fashion conscious, making sure her footwear matched with her cigarettes. The street was empty and the wind whistled lightly, its presence evident only by the swaying of the steam which crept up into the black sky from a grill in the sidewalk. Across the street was a jagged fence, behind which was a tarped building still under construction. He watched out through the yellow plexiglass window for a while before deciding to check the bathroom.
Nathan wiped his dry palm down his tired face and took a bored sip of the coffee in his styrofoam cup. He put on his black jacket before stepping out and the chill of the cold soaked through his uniform, scraping against his skin. Checking the bathroom was the worst part of the job; he had found some truly foul messes waiting for him in the past. Walking by the pumps, he rubbed his hands together. At least it kept him awake. More than a few times he'd fallen asleep on the job. Sitting in that tiny little box, surrounded by cheap merchandise, it wasn't very difficult. The lull was interrupted only by the strange, random people, and only about two or three of them showed up each hour, if that.
He opened the bathroom door to find it, much to his suprise, clean. Nathan turned on the light and walked in, looking around. No mess. No fuss, no muss. He was about to close the door when he saw the small brown tattered book on the edge of the sink.
Curiosity, only sharpened by his boredom, overtook Nathan as he took it. It bore no label, and the corners were frayed with use. He opened it, somewhere in the middle, and read randomly.
That stupid frank. i thoght he was my frend but he is a fagot. that boy tried to kiss me.
Oh man, he thought. This guy's a fucking idiot. He had found entertainment; he would make it through this night yet.
He brought the book with him as he headed back to the box. It was about three in the morning; he knew his next two hours would be more or less undisturbed. Once Nathan got back into the warm station he took his seat and started reading at the first page.
My last ones done so I am starting a new one. Today I was so full, I ated three cheese burgers and they were so good I ated two more.
Nathan was laughing so hard he could barely hold the book in front of him. He had no idea how he was finding himself this amused so easily, but what the hell. The second half to the shift was going to go by easily. All he had to do was make coffee around five and deal with the morning people for an hour. And read this imbecile's journal.
then I drinked some beer and I threw up.
Still laughing, Nathan decided to go straight to March. He wouldn't be able to stop laughing at however many mispelled "February"s there were.
I saw a pretty girl today. I like her. she has big boobs. she wears a skirt and I like skirts. I made a frend today his name is frank. he is nice.
"Uh-oh," Nathan said aloud, smiling. He started to think about how Frank's revelation of his alternate lifestyle might have gone. Did he try to seduce him? Did he play "I'm Too Sexy For My Shirt" and dance for this guy? Maybe he was even liking it before Frank decided to put the moves on him. Nathan chuckled.
"What a twist."
Wow frank bought me beer. what a nice dude. he says theirs going to be a party and Im excited. he says this guy he knoes always throws good partys. maybe Ill get pussy.
Well, the girls do go crazy over guys with reading levels rivaling those of third graders, Nathan thought with a smile. "Get ready to squeal, ladies... the ladykiller is coming for you!"
The party tonite was fun. I got layed. the girl said she didnt want to but I knoe she did so I made her. I think I hurt her but she liked it.
Nathan blinked at the startling entry, the light mood coming to a sudden hault. Nervously he scratched his shoulder and realized that he still had his jacket on. Jesus, he thought. He wondered what the poor girl looked like. Or where his new friend Frank had been while this was going on. He started to think about what else he might find in this book.
I saw the girl with the big boobs again and I talked to her she doesnt like me fuck her. thats what I said I said fuck her.
I told her FUCK YOU
Still slightly bothered, Nathan couldn't help but laugh. He imagined the guy pausing and deciding to add the last line, as if he felt the need to clarify what had been said. Because after all, pulitzers can be lost when penmanship is overly vague.
Today I couldnt go to work becaus I started crying. I couldnt stop crying. I drinked a lot of beer and I fell asleep crying. I punched another hole in the wall first.
Now Nathan was starting to feel disturbed. "This guy is fucked up."
I folloed the big boob girl. I'll make her feel bad for not liking me. I talked to frank today. he said he is having a party again. that will be fun. more beer and pussy.
The girl with big boobs has one more chance I will invite her to franks party. if she doesnt go with me shell see what happens.
She said no. I told her I cant help I like big boobs and she pushed me. Im gonna fix that bitch. but the party was still fun the same girl was there to the one who fucked me the one who knoes a real man when she see one. she said I hurt her but I told her to shut up she wanted me bad you shoud have seen it.
Now he was becoming a bit scared to continue reading. Nathan had at first pictured a big, dumb, harmless oaf writing about nonsense. Now the image in his mind was much more threatening. This was clearly a troubled man with more problems than he had fingers to count, not to mention apparent tendencies to force sex on girls. And now he was going to "fix" someone. Nathan's breathing was slow and his shoulders gave a slight tremble as he read on.
I saw her with her boy frend. I got so mad I didnt knoe what to do. I could see red I think and I folloed them. it was late and I folloed them in to the park. they kissed on a bench and I was so mad. there was nobody around so I put a rock in my hand and went to them. I hit his face and she screamed, I told her to shut up and I punched her. her boy frend fell on the grass and I went to the girl. her boobs were so big. I hit her in the face with the rock to. and I fucked her. thats what she gets
Nathan's arms were shaking so violently he nearly dropped the book on the counter. "Oh my god," was all he could manage. He looked fearfully out at the empty street, thinking about how this guy was here. He had been here on his shift. Nathan's stomach turned at the thought, and a wave of nausea caught him. He shut his eyes tightly before resuming.
I was in the paper! look
LOCAL COUPLE FOUND BLUDGEONED, WOMAN RAPED
Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god.
Nathan's mind was in a frenzy. The fucker had pasted the article on this page. His eyes sped over the typed words and his exhales were coming out in a broken rapid succession. Pairs of words like "murder scene" and "dental records" were almost menacing as his eyes widened. Then he heard the knock at the window, and he leapt in his chair.
He looked up to see a man with frazzled blond hair and an unkempt mustache which resembled broom bristles hanging over his mouth. He had a strange smile that was throughly disorienting. His brown eyes seemed to slither in place, watching Nathan sit up straight and put the journal down.
"What can I do for you?"
The man just looked over Nathan, his eyes narrowing, his grin thin as a dime. "You know how to get to Ventolin Street from here?"
.... There is more of this story ...