Freaking Friday night! I think
The evening is colder than I thought it would be. But the air is fresh and invigorating. I untie the jersey from around my waist and pull it over my head.
I arrive at the nearby petrol station, which is still open. Step up to the counter. Behind it there is a plump young woman dressed in an attendants overalls.
I walk back across the empty forecourt and onto the sidewalk. Unwrap the chocolate and take a bite. Look around. Again I feel the loneliness and the emptiness of the evening but this time there is some comfort in the quiet and solitude. I decide to walk on a bit further, enjoying the freshness. Maybe think a little.
As I turn I glance at the petrol station. A green BMW with darkened windows has pulled in. One of the petrol attendants is filling the tank and gives me a friendly nod. I return the gesture. I notice that one of the passengers, a large man wearing a flannel overcoat, has walked up to the cashiers counter. He asks for something. She turns and takes a chocolate from the shelf, then drops it in the trough. I see him drop some money in; her hand go down. The man grabs her hand. Holds a gun at the window.
The attendant filling the car is facing the wrong way. The other is asleep. I start to walk away more briskly, desperately trying not to run, to be noticed. But I cant take my eyes off her.
She doesnt scream. She knows the best thing to do is keep her mouth shut, to do what he asks. Her face is contorted by terror. She is sobbing.
The gun is aimed at her chest.
I turn my head and continue until I am passed the exit. Safely out of sight I stop and take some deep breaths but I still dont turn around. I light a cigarette, puffing frantically to calm my shattered nerves. I hear the door slam and the tires screech. The car skids onto to the road and disappears.
I return to the garage. As I approach I realise the place is in chaos. The woman is wailing and shrieking; the attendant who had been filling the car is ranting, punching the walls in frustration. The other is phoning the police. Gradually I merge with the madness, with the incomprehensible noise. The swearing and spitting and ranting. And, my GOD, her SHRIEKING!
A chill sweeps through me.
He walks over. You can go, please. he says. The muscles in his cheeks and his neck are taught. His eyes are clouded. Dark. I want to say something, offer an explanation or apology but the words just seem to hang in my throat where they belong useless.
I turn away and head home as the sirens sweep past me. Eating my chocolate.
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