This is a piece for the Daily Press Weekly Writing Challenge: Three Ways to Go Gonzo.
The only thing beneficial to this Speedway was its access to Sweetwater’s donuts, I noted. The scent of the dough as I removed one was heavenly. A light squeeze revealed the presence of the cream filling that caused my stomach to rumble. The fountain machine at the back was free so I decided to grab a pop as well and removed a twenty-two ounce one. Dr. Pepper was a goal that morning – some of his 30 flavors would have to compliment the sugary treat I held in my other hand.
I moved to the line to pay, waiting patiently as the woman in front of me – I assume it was a woman given the long hair. The four layers of clothing and thick hat with masking made it impossible to see any of the other features I normally associate with femininity as anything other than leather covered planes – counted out change on to the counter to pay for a huge cup of coffee. I’ve never had a taste for the stuff, but she seemed quite determined to have her payment exactly. She even utilized the ‘Need a Penny’ tray.
My turn came up, “What can I do fer ya?” the woman behind the counter queried, looking bored in her red and black polo shirt. I could see Goosebumps on her arms as the door swung open to admit another arctic blast of wind.
“Thirty on pump one, and these.” I placed my donut and pop on the counter.
“Ya got Speedy Rewards?” she questioned.
“Yup,” I flipped the little tag on my keychain forward for her to scan, “Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.”
The little beep told me that today was a “does work” day. She read me my total and I swiped my card through the new readers, “Red button for credit?” I double checked.
“Ya got it,” she replied, “Don’t ferget ta sign.” She reminded me. I nodded and did so, “Ya want a receipt?”
I knew my wife would want it, so I nodded my yes as I re-arranged my snack in a way that would permit me to get out of the store and to my car to fill the tank. I took the receipt and shoved it between the donut bag and the cup of pop before sliding on my gloves, “Thanks.”
Given the bitter cold that the Mitten had decided to subject us to, I felt the least I could do to rebel was enjoy the donut while the pump worked. Despite my freezing hand, I followed the on screen instructions, selecting my grade, etc, and then settled in on the driver’s side to wait while it pumped. I set my cup on top of my car, reasoning that the wind was filled with enough snow that it would keep my drink cold (if not freeze it) while I scarfed down my deliciousness.
I was right.
Tiny bits of frosting and flakes from my snack covered my lap when the pump loudly clunked, signaling that it was done dispensing. I stood then, removing one glove so as to have enough dexterity to disengage the nozzle. The large fingers on my glove meant that my hands stayed warm while I drove, but made anything requiring precision exceedingly difficult.
The pump was stubborn, though, the metal freezing so quickly my skin wanted to stick to it. It was cold and uncomfortable, but I finally got the nozzle to disengage properly and stored in to its holster on the side of the pump. I slid my hand back in to its sheathe and grabbed my pop from the top of my car before settling back in to my seat. I placed the cup between my thighs and was relieved to watch the needle go from ‘E’ to ‘F’ and the annoying blinking gas light turn off.
It had held out long enough.