Betty Jean. 5'-9”, 142 lbs. Romantic. Black hair, lightly enhanced with purple highlights. False nails in deep purple, two of which have been fractured by her own fast hands on the register keyboard. Loves marshmallows, fudge, onion rings and Frito pies. Looking forward to lunch. Thinking about night school. Dental technician program or cosmetology... leaning toward the latter. Loves to talk to customers.
Dave. 6'-2”, 185 lbs. Realist. Army of One. Cynic. Spec 4. Wife got fat during his last tour in the sand box. Re-enlisted. Wants to take the kids to the beach tomorrow. Wife feels uncomfortable in a bathing suit. Picks out chips and a Baby Ruth. Makes mental lists about reasons to leave the house tonight. Doesn't mind the long line. Stares at the National Enquirer in the rack. Aliens working at the IRS. Laughs out loud. Feels suddenly embarrassed.
Dolores. 5'-4”, 105 lbs, natural dirty blonde girl with a vague memory of adolescent blemishes, Clairol red now, brash. Not the dreamer any more. Realistic. Graduate of Bryn Mawr. Business. Marketing. Calculus. Computerized human accessory, fully armed with Ipad, blazer, monogram, tip of her tongue at the right edge of her mouth, she tweets to seven address lists in seven different contexts. Wants a Moon Pie. Picks out a low calorie energy bar. Blueberry. Synapses.
George. 5'-10”, 275 lbs. Single again. Underemployed for seventeen years. Went to college. Dropped out. Worked as telemarketer, shoe salesman, clerked in a cell phone emporium. Stapled shingles for a contractor. Fell off a roof. Contractor fled the city. Hospital debt. He limps now, stacks Gatorade in the cooler. Troubled over weight gain. Dreams about Betty Jean. The dimples at the edges of her mouth. Nice smile. He wonders about her attitude concerning more mature men. Wishes he had a mysterious past.
Willie. 5'-7”, 184-186 lbs, depending on lunch. Hispanic. Dreamer recently exorcised of hope. Recent graduate of Hampton City Jail and benefactor of that facility's lack of proper internet connection to law enforcement networks. Released before they received information about an outstanding felony warrant in LA, he needs to get out of town. Jacked a car in Newport News. Needs gas money bad. Comes in the door. Wonders if he should wait in line. Laughs out loud at the very thought. Very loud. Shrugs when everybody turns to stare. Wonders what he should say. Goes over several possible first lines in his head. Settles on, “Gimme the fuckin' money.”
.357 Smith & Wesson Airlite revolver. 11.4 ounces empty. 4" barrel. Drop cylinder for 5 Magnum rounds. Loaded w/5 Federal CCI Blazer .357 Magnum 158 Grain Jacketed Hollow Points. Revolver is matte silver. Scandium Alloy Frame, Titanium Alloy Cylinder. Black rubber grip. Flat, lightweight, it sits nicely in Willie's hand inside his jacket waiting.
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An experimental piece providing subtext instead of the story.
I love this story, but I don't think I can tell it better than this.
Still, I might try.
Or... kind of a novella... à la mode The Bridge of San Luis Rey