Mephistopheles? Oh, he's the night clerk...

Picture it: April, 2008. A family of weary travelers stops to re-fuel their vehicle somewhere north of Atlanta and south of Seeing Rock City.

Into the unassuming Texaco mini-mart goes the unsuspecting female of the group, in search of liquid refreshment and maybe a little something-something on which to nosh because she's anticipating the upcoming evening's passive-aggressive fest with her more-than-slightly-nuts MIL and is unable to stave off her tendency for stress eating. Even in advance.

Didja get all that?

Approaching the entrance of the mini-mart, she's greeted by a cheesecake shot on the glass door -- and not the dense, very delicious kind from NY with strawberries on top, either.

Inside, she first notices a familiar ding-ding-ding sound... usually only heard in the smoke-filled, clockless neon rooms of Las Vegas or the smoke-filled, slightly listing rooms of big boats in international waters. Yes, Virginia, this mini-mart features a row of old, but functioning slot machines. With an old, but functioning woman plugging quarters into one of them as if her life depends on it.

Looking around for the beverage coolers, the weary traveling chick finally finds them, tucked into a corner, eclipsed by the other larger and more numerous coolers full of every conceivable adult beverage one could want outside of a store that's not authorized to sell hard liquor. Who knew that there were so many colors and flavors of MD 20/20? Or so many ways one could take their Milwaukee's Best: Can, bottle, big ass can, wino-brown-bag size bottle. A larger, klassier plethora of drink options likely does not exist. At least nowhere outside of my drive-thru liquor store at home, anyway.

The weary traveling chick makes her beverage selections, which include a treat from her youth -- grape soda. Not Nehi, alas, but Fanta, which is almost but not quite as good. She turns to head to the front of this mecca to check out, but not before she looks for something on which to nosh. Finally finding the little endcap with the Lance Crackers (mmmm.... cheese with peanut butter) she notices a magazine rack. Thinking she might be able to grab a periodical to read while motoring, she scans her options. All of which are basically porn. Nothing but porn. All porn, all the time.

Finally, up to the counter she goes, drinks and crackers in hand. It's too bad she wasn't in need of a new lighter or tobacco product or OTC stimulant or prophalactyic -- because she could have engaged in some one-stop-shopping right there. Puts the convenient in convenience store, doesn't it...

The clerk is busy with his lighter salesman, checking out the new merchandise which appeared to feature some international beauties in some sort of swimwear.

Walking out of the store, bag of purchases in hand, the weary traveling chick notices a shelving unit of knick-knacks for sale. Confederate flag shot glasses and a slightly-faded volume detailing the nuances of How to Speak Redneck are featured. My. Such treasures.

As she meanders back to her vehicle, she thinks about all she has seen. And surmises that although they weren't obviously available, she probably could have inquired about procuring some firearms or some controled narcotic substances considered illegal by law enforcement and she would have received some positive information.

What a magical place, this unassuming mini-mart somewhere between Atlanta and Seeing Rock City. Sin City masquerading as a Texaco. Clever.


Jeff said...

I'm impressed- my Mom never let us stop at a roadside whorehouse- we had to go to Stuckey's instead.

To this day I'll take pecan log over porn. Hands down.

Keep smiling!

SusanD said...

Great post. Midnight convenience shops can feel like a David Lynch film. interesting places.