I filled the tank while keeping an eye on R. through the rear window, watching him as he squinted through the gloom at his book. Dusk’s web of darkness had been spun to completion, and now it was catching the first of its stars. I could see Antares: the heart of the scorpion: the ruddy red glimmer in the southern sky that never failed to make me contemplate the meaninglessness of life, and so it did again, before I lowered my eyes to the light standards on the edge of the parking lot, and to the cameras attached to them.
With my face turned away from the surveillant gaze of the petroleum industry, I walked toward the resident wage slave, who was hunched over a magazine. There was a glaze of boredom visible in his eyes when I entered his kiosk. After exchanging nods, I looked away in search of windshield wipers, of which there were a few pairs, and this lifted my spirits in concert with the morphine that was soon to be entering my veins. When I found a display of clip on reading lights in the junk food section, I knew I had to get one.
I tapped on R.’s window and he looked up from his book at the illuminated reading light in my hand, and then at the bag full of pop and chips and cigarettes dangling from my wrist, and the sight of these things flecked his eyes with an acquisitive gleam that got me wondering how old he was. He looks at junk food the way I did when I was twelve, I thought to myself as I turned my back to the security cameras and got to work replacing the wipers, every now and then glancing back up at Antares.