New SoHumBorn (Short Short) Story: SoHum Wisdom
SoHumBorn sent me this look at Southern Humboldt culture last night. WAHOO!
She’s just going to grab a couple of bottles of water while he pumps the gas so she heads into the convenience store as a huge black Ford covered in dirt rolls into the station. She smiles over her shoulder at the fat fuel transfer take riding in the bed of the truck like a favorite dog.
She thinks about how dirty her own car is and stares blankly at the wall of brightly covered beverages (all chilled to perfection) for somewhere near a minute before she remembers what she came for. Grabbing the water she heads to the registers and finds herself standing behind six patrons. She frowns a little then begins to study them. She is inspecting an older man’s handmade leather sandals & in her mind’s eye she pictures the booth at the Summer Arts Fair when she hears the young man in the front of the line say “Three hundred on pump eight.”
Her eyes snap up to the register and she watches as he deftly thumbs through a large wad of cash. Flipping the bills onto the counter, he says, “Thanks Man” to the cashier & strolls back past the line, out the door & over to the Ford. The line neither moves forward or speaks for a moment— all watching as the young man jumps up into the bed of the truck & an older man - who must have been in the truck when they pulled in - passes the diesel hose and nozzle up to him.
In the store someone in line speaks. “He needs alot of diesel.” There is a little snicker in the tone. She looks back at the people in line. They and cashier are all smiling still staring at the men and the slowly filling tank.
A second voice this one belonging to a young blond boy says, ” His GENERATOR needs alot of diesel.” There is a general chuckle growing now.
The teenage girl in the short skirt with big pretty eyes says,”Why doesn’t he call Renner? That’s just retarded.” Her tone is that ‘I know everything’ tone & grates the nerves a little, but still the Woman smiles at the girl and shrugs her shoulders in agreement.
The older man in the handmade shoes chimes in. “That’s gonna ruin his suspension in two runs man.”
Back at the front of the line a suggestion, “He should at least get a camper shell.”
The blond boy pipes back up, “Yeah, but it’s a fuckin’ pain trying to do it though the window.” A general murmur of agreement follows.
One last customer, a woman who wore clothes that shouted ‘practical mature comfortable’ shook her head slowly.”Subtle, kid subtle…”
The show began to lose its appeal and the customers began moving again. The register rang her items and she strolled out dying to tell her Man the tale of the gas station peanut gallery. Smiling she walks toward him & her eyes see him - A big man in camo pants & muddy boots, hair to long for the real world, filling up a nice shiny four wheel drive with mud slung up both sides & she hears, “Subtle, kid subtle.” Momentarily her smile falters… then broadens. He looks up & sees the bright laughter in her eyes.
“What’s so funny, Baby?”
She relates the story (but leaves out her observations) & crawls back in her glass house tightly gripping her stone.