A frown to the left of me, a toker to the right...here you are stuck in the middle with Val.
Walk with me, won't you, into the Casey's General Store on Sunday afternoon? Yes. Soak in the ambiance of Backroads. A crisp sunny day, blue sky, temps in the low 80s, folks out doing what Backroadsians do on Sunday afternoons. Which means a treat of lottery tickets for Val, after a hard day of grocery shopping.
I walked in with four winning scratcher tickets, totaling $25, to cash in for more tickets. That's the way you win, you know. Amass some winners, then play off your winnings until they're gone, then wait several months before trying again. When you're hot, you're hot, and when you're not, you're not. Somebody oughta write a song about that.
So there's one line with only one register open, because the other clerk is kneeling behind the counter making a money drop. You'd think they'd wait for a lull and not expose the floor safe to every ne'er-do-well in Backroads, but times have changed since I did a stint behind a Casey's counter.
The lady in front of me stepped up and asked for two rolls of quarters. She wasn't buying anything. Just wanted quarters. Let the record show that she was perfectly willing to part with a twenty-dollar bill to get her two rolls of quarters. But, as the clerk explained, the employees are not allowed to give out change like that on Sundays. Neither are they allowed to pay off big lottery tickets, either. Not that I've ever taken one in there, of course. But they usually ask me how much mine are worth before taking them. As long as you're just taking your profit in tickets, it's not a problem. It's those pesky banks that keep banker's hours that make Casey's so stingy with their coins and bills on Sunday.
Now what does a lady need two rolls of quarters for on Sunday? That's 80 quarters. Nobody does that much laundry. And casinos take bills. What was she going to do, stuff them in a sock like Sean Penn did with cans of soda in the original Bad Boys movie, and whack a bully across the face? Or twist them in a towel like a bar of soap like Matthew Modine did in Full Metal Jacket, to whack a clumsy screw-up in his sleep for getting the whole platoon punished? I think not. She got all frowny-faced when she found out no quarter rolls were coming her way.
Then it was my turn. But the other clerk jumped up from behind that counter like a jack-in-the-box, and asked if she could help anybody. So the dude behind me stepped over and said, "I only want to buy some Zig Zag papers if you have them." Well of course they had them. They're a convenience store, aren't they? It would have been mighty inconvenient if Dude couldn't get his rolling papers. To complicate matters, the clerk told Dude that they had both red and white Zig Zags. Not something a toker like Dude wants to hear, because then he has to make a decision. When all he wanted was to step up to the counter and get his rolling papers and get the not-heaven out so he could roll his...ahem...cigarettes...like a cowboy ridin' the range.
Dude didn't know the difference in red and white Zig Zags. He said he'd take the cheapest pack, but alas, they were both $1.68 as discovered by the clerk when she practice-rang them up. Then she told him the red ones were smaller. I never did hear what Dude decided to use for his tobaccy of the wacky type, because I had to pick my tickets. Quite successfully, I might add, because when I got home, I scratched off a $40 winner.
Just a slice of life from Backroads on a Sunday afternoon.