When I was a girl of about 18, I used to stop to fill up my car at the same full-service gas station often. Over time, it seemed that the guy who worked the pumps was glad to see me when I pulled in. He would chat me up as best he could with his limited English. Apparently flirting doesn’t require speaking the same language.
The attendant’s name was Raja. I knew this only because I read it off of his name tag as he gazed through my window, not because we’d ever formally introduced ourselves.
One summer night when my girlfriend and I were out cruising in her car, we stopped at the station where Raja worked. Somehow the conversation had moved in to a direction whose reasoning is lost to the cobwebs of my memory. I don’t recall who suggested it (I’m inclined to say it wasn’t me) but somehow we would be picking Raja up when his shift ended that night and going to the diner.
During the hour or so that we had to kill before swinging by to pick him up, my friend and I had time to consider what we were doing. We were two giggling 18-year old girls picking up some strange 40-year old dude at 11:00 at night. The nagging voice of self-preservation began clearing its throat.
“Ahem. Yes, right then, ladies… This fellow with whom you can barely communicate is probably going to murder you in this very Ford Fairmont and no one will have any idea what happened.”
Right! Murderous gas station attendant! It happens all the time.
What we needed was a plan. And in our brilliance, the plan did not include simply not showing up to pick up the homicidal maniac who obviously pumped gas as a cover. No, that would be rude. What we would do instead was leave a trail of breadcrumbs in case the police needed a lead to go on. It made perfect sense.
We rummaged around in my friend’s car trying to find a scrap of paper. We would leave a note for the police in the glove compartment. Yes! Yes, that would be brilliant. Plus, the maniac would never think to look there after his murderous rage!
But we had to craft the note carefully so the authorities would be able to track down our killer. The police would sing our praises for being resourceful and our murderer would spend life behind bars.
When you’re riding shotgun as the passenger, the responsibility for writing notes to the police falls squarely in your lap. Thems the rules. And so I put pen to paper to avenge us…
“If we’re dead, we were with Raja.”
I guess you could say that writing with detail is something I’ve learned to do over time.
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