Saturday, April 12, 2014

A Scratch-Off Tale From the Gas Station Chicken Store

Val has had many unique adventures here in Backroads. Many unique adventures involving fellow customers at establishments she frequents. Indeed. She has been caressed by a woman in Save A Lot. Had her buttocks molested by a geezer's arm in the dead-mouse-smelling post office. Was propositioned by a ZZ-Top-bearded, Daisy-Dukes-wearing man of questionable oral hygiene on the parking lot of Walmart. Had a roll of cash thrust at her by a friendly, generous, inattentive man while boxing her groceries at Save-A-Lot. Suffered verbal overfamiliarity from a dude who yelled, "That's ever man's dream!" when she asked for two breasts and two thighs at the gas station chicken store.

And it's the gas station chicken store that calls us back today. The scene of the latest indignity to befall our heroine, Val of Backroads.

Perhaps I've mentioned that I do not have a fondness for other people's children. Unless I am responsible for them in a supervisorly educational role, I have no interest in them. Seen and not heard. There's a reason for that idiom. It was not coined by idiots. I would like to coin my own idiom. "Children should be left outside in a well-ventilated car with proper adult supervision, and not brought into convenience stores." Not quite so catchy as "seen and not heard." But quite as serviceable.

I had stopped in for a 44 oz. Diet Coke and a scratch-off ticket. Yes, I DID win, as a matter of fact. Fifty dollars on a ten dollar ticket. But I didn't know that until later. Because, you see, I was fighting for my life against an eight-year-old girl in the gas station chicken store. Or at least for my hide.

A man was already at the Coke machine. He looked at it, and moved on down the counter towards the back cooler, to the coffee machine. Had he asked, I might have suggested something stiffer. But Val is not one to give unsolicited advice to strangers in convenience stores. That guy had three little girls with him. They all called him Daddy. Stair steps, they were. I'm guessing 8, 7, 6, though I am not well-versed in the sizes and cognitive skills of youngsters much under the age of 12.

The girlies swarmed around those three aisles like a working drug-sniffing canine, an ant checking out a dessert buffet, and a goldfish in a just-tapped aquarium. DaddyO seemed a bit frazzled. Eight suddenly appeared to my left, at the section where one orders gas station chicken, though the kitchen was closed, it being only 10:00 a.m. She eyed the plastic-lid-covered tray of donuts. "I never saw a donut for only eighty-nine cents, Daddy." He sighed and pressed the lid onto his coffee. "Well, then, you must not have been in many convenience stores." The other girlies swarmed him and grabbed his legs, asking for assorted treats. I moved on to the counter with my refill.

A new clerk was training. Her minder left her to go in the kitchen, perhaps to drop a batch of chicken. The characteristic aroma did not yet permeate the store. Trainee was slow. She had to look up the price of a refill. She had trouble tearing my scratcher ticket off the roll. DaddyO and his brood were behind me. And beside me. I daresay I'm lucky they were not up in my buttocks like that post office geezer's arm.

The minder came out to the other register. "Can I help you over here?" DaddyO stepped up. That, to his litter, was an invitation to belly up to the short counter. As if they, too, were paying customers. DaddyO had caved, and was buying them a bag of chips to share. "Five dollars for a bag of chips?" The minder was not helping the situation. I'm thinking his total was five dollars, not just the chips. But that is neither here nor there, because Eight was HERE. Right under my left armpit. Jostling me. Bumping me. Stabbing me with her youthful elbow that had not yet acquired a cushion of fat to soften the jab of skin-over-bone. I moved away. She followed, as though attached by a safety chain.

Twice more she jabbed me. Then she commenced to scratching her angular elbow. AND SCRAPED SEVERAL FINGERNAILS WORTH OF SKIN OFF MY PLUSH OLD-LADY ARM! I've endured less damaging swipes from my ungrateful garage-peeing cats.

There needs to be a law. under 16 must be carried through stores by their parents. That would be much safer for victims like me. What if some mishap were to befall that child over the next 24-48 hours, and Val's skin cells were found under her fingernails? I could be framed for ne'er-do-well-ness!

Yeah. There oughta be a law.


  1. Muzzles. Straitjackets. Electric cattle prods.

    My basement is full of them. Let me know if you'd like to borrow anything...

  2. How do you control yourself? I would have announced that the child was apparently lost and needed to find her parent .....

  3. When the kid used her elbow, you should have used yours. Oops!

  4. Parents should teach these undeveloped humans how to behave in public, but since that will never happen, the lock in the car law should prevail.

  5. Sioux,
    The overstocked counter of my proposed handbasket factory pales in comparison to your underground arsenal. Maybe I could make myself a toolbelt to dangle one of each "child-correcter" from, and the kiddies would see them and give me a wide berth.

    I have the control of a german shepherd holding a dog biscuit on his nose until told he can eat it. The parent was a short, SHARP-ARMlength away from Edwina Icepickelbows. He seemed overwhelmed. He might have been weak from loss of blood if she jabbed him in the car all the way to the gas station chicken store.

    Yes. I'm sure being whopped with an elbow as cushy as a pillow of cotton balls wrapped in gossamer would have deterred that li'l stabber from grating the skin from my arm like an overzealous sous chef microplaning a block of parmesan. The suffocation factor alone should have stopped her in her tracks long enough for me to make my escape.

    I'm pretty sure it's already a law in New Jersey.

  6. You'd best hope nothing bad happens to this girl.

  7. Stephen,
    I know, right? Maybe I should have carried her to her car, set her on some soft sheepskin, and chewed those chips for her so she didn't choke. I hope she soaks in a bath soon, to get my skin cells out from under her claws.