I went into the convenience store to pay for the gasoline I had just bought. There was not a person to be seen. This store was a considerable distance from the city limits and was generally frequented by an assortment of rough regulars. This latter I surmised from my observations on the occasions I had to visit.
I looked around. Nobody.
I hollered out, “Is anybody here?”
The emptiness was disturbing, as if something had happened.
Finally, a heavy set woman with a kind face but bad teeth appeared.
“Sorry, I was in the cooler,” she said.
“It was rather spooky in here with nobody around,” I said.
“Yes. It can be that way,” she replied. “Once I went into a convenience store when there was nobody at the register and found a person with their head blowed off.”
“Yes. My husband and I were in Houston. I went into a convenience store like this, and Miss Gracie was not there. She was the nicest person you ever met. Poor Miss Gracie. There was nobody. I went back out and got my husband, and he came inside with me.
“When we were looking around, I went into the cooler, and there she was on the floor. Her head was just blowed off!”
The woman telling me the story raised her palm placing it right above her eyes then pulled it back, then said, “From here on back, there was nothing.”
I could think of nothing profound to say, but managed to get out:
“They sure do,” she said.
As I paid and left, I wondered what sort of brave soul would spend a risky career working as a clerk in a conveniece store, the target of low lifes in search of an easy target to rob. I noticed the large potholes in the parking lot as I left, noting that it was cheaply priced name-brand gasoline there but not the sort of place to visit in heavy rain.