This is a true story that happened to me some years ago. Some people
think that it's rather amusing. Others think it's hilarious. Now I'm posting
it for all to read and hopefully laugh about. Remember, this all really
Some years ago, back in the mid 90s, I worked at a 24 hour
gas station and convenience store. Among other things, I worked a decent
amount of night shifts, which ran from 11 pm to 7 am. The graveyard shift.
Most of the time I worked these alone. Usually night shifts were rather
mundane apart from the drunks. But not always. One of the first night
shifts I worked was far from mundane.
I remember it vividly to this day. It was a bit after midnight
and the store was quiet when I saw someone approaching on a bicycle. As
he got closer I saw he was a smallish man probably in his late 30s. He
wasn't moving quickly. He pulled into the parking lot and biked over to
the self service gas pumps just outside the front window. Let me describe
the bike. It wasn't a ten speed or a mountain bike, it was one of those
old banana seat bikes that went out of style in the early 70s and aren't
likely to make a comeback any time soon. And the bike was pink. Spray
painted pink. Entirely pink. Frame, handle bars, seat, tires. Pink. He
stopped at the pump and got off his bike, then he pulled a telephone out
of his pocket. Not a cell phone. A corded phone. I'm not sure if he had
the base in his pocket too, because the end of the cord remained in his
pocket. He held the cord up against the gas pump and the handset against
his bike seat as if he was pumping gas into the bike seat.
This went on for maybe 30 seconds, then I guess he decided
the bike was full. All the while I'm thinking "You don't have to
come in. There's no charge for imaginary gas. Don't come in." He
came in and came up to the counter.
I should take a moment to describe him. He was a man in
his late 30s, small to average build and maybe five foot six. He wore
unremarkable brown pants and an old blazer. Two neckties, both tied. And
no shirt. He was smoking a cigar that I expect was a $1.59 Century Sam
or something similar. He took a pager out of his pocket and asked for
a battery. I pointed him to the battery rack, which he went to and looked
at for a minute, then he came back to the counter. This time he wanted
a piece of scotch tape, which I quickly gave him. He put it on the battery
cover and was then satisfied the pager worked. At this point a couple
guys I know happened to show up. And they knew the guy, they called him
by name and commented on his freshly painted bicycle. Apparently he's
well known down town. He left on his bike and my friends took off, and
I was left alone to work the rest of my shift wondering if working nights
was such a good idea after all.