Random notes from three nights on the graveyard shift…
Saturday May 3
11:34 PM: A guy just bought two cans of Bud Light with Clamato juice. That’s right…Clamato. I think I just threw up in my mouth.
Sunday May 4
2:20 AM: A couple just left the store. I recognized both of them from when I used to help the school nurse with the flouride program at the elementary school. Now he’s 16, she’s 14. They bought two Mountain Dews, a bag of M&Ms, and a package of Trojans. (God, I know it’s a lot to ask, but is there any way you could stop time, right now, and let my kids stay 13 and 11 for the rest of their lives?)
3:46 AM-4:15 AM I was propositioned by three men in less than half an hour. Note to self: don’t wear lipstick to work anymore.
Sunday May 4
11:05 PM: Why are out-of-staters so fascinated with red hot dogs?
Monday May 5
1:15 AM-5:15 AM: One customer in four hours. She bought a pack of Marlboro Menthol Ultra Lights. What exactly is an ‘ultra light’ cigarette? And why the menthol? Does it soothe the throat? Open up nasal passages?
Monday May 5
11:39 PM: The 16-year-old boy from the other night just left the store. He wanted to buy a scratch ticket, but I had to turn him down. He’s old enough to fuck, but not old enough to play the lottery. At least he was smart enough to use protection. Do his parents know–or care–that he’s out this late on a school night?
Tuesday May 6
12:57 AM: A group of five 18-year-old boys just bought a twelve pack of Coke. I’m fairly certain they’ve got something back at home to mix it with, but I didn’t ask. I’ve known all of them since they were in fourth grade. One of them was wearing a brand-spaking-new army uniform. I gave him a hug before he left the store. (Please, God, keep him safe. He’s got a really good heart.)
2:00 AM: I can hear a coyote out back behind the dumpster. I think I’ll take the trash out later. Much later.
5:45 AM: The sun spilled its honey over the frozen horizon…
2 thoughts on “Midnight Chronicles”
You’re seeing your town and the people in it from a whole new angle. I imagine that must be both fascinating and disturbing at the same time… as though you’re being shown things you didn’t perhaps want to know but are given little choice in the matter.
Perhaps it’s like being a Catholic priest and hearing confessions from members of your congregation – even though he’s sworn to silence it must alter the way he views people when he know things about them no-one else does.
I’ll bet it provides you with a great deal of inspiration, though.
I worked at this store several years ago, and saw similar things, but now I’m seeing the cycle repeating. The teenagers who tried to buy smokes and liquor when I worked here before are now married with kids and moan about how they wish they could quit smoking. The teenagers who are trying it now are the kids who used to come in, thrilled to pieces when their parents bought them Bug Juice or a Slush Puppy. It makes me sad to look at the little kids who come into the store now.
“Fascinating and disturbing” exactly describes it.