Tuesday, March 01, 2011

I Do Not Own The Arco


by James Jarvis
from My Arcology (tales of working at a South Central Arco)

  I was smoking in front of the Arco tonight when the Cadillac pulled up to pump number two. It had dealer plates and the temporary registration paper taped on the back window. Brand new. Sparkly. Big beige gas guzzling tribute to wanton consumption. I wanted it.

    The woman got out and walked briskly towards the Arco door. Short, thin black woman wearing an expensive wig.

    "Take me with you," I asked her.

    "What?"

    "Take me with you?"

    "I'll think about it," she giggled as she went inside. I finished off my Carlton and tamped the butt in my ashcan chair while she was ordering her gas from the other clerk. I swung back in the doorway just as she was headed for the restroom.

    "Take me away from here and we'll never speak the word 'Arco' again," I called after her.

    "Now you're just being facetious," she answered in a light tone that told me she was still considering my proposition.

    When she came out, I propositioned her more.

    "What's your job here?" she asked.

    "I'm the stock boy."

    "You're not the stock boy," she said, "You're probably the owner." (I get that a lot. Two or three times a week some customer informs me that I must be the owner, or least the manager.)

    "If you're the owner, let's go," she said as she walked back to that wide bodied Cadillac.

    I was five feet out the door before I remembered that I am not the owner.
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