by Duke Stone
A long night in a small town
|Night in a Small Town
The lone traffic light winking, the unseeing eye of a cyclops tormented by insomnia.
Amid this desolation a lone beacon of hope, of life, shines.
The all night service station. A bastion of hot coffee, cigarettes and
The gasoline pumps stand as sentinels at the gate to this haven.
Rural America's answer to Staten Island. It’s neon sign silently proclaiming
“Give me your sleepless, your lost, your nicotine addicted”
The attendant stands, watching warily as a car pulls into the empty lot.
He knows that Sheriff Andy and his deputy are long in their beds and he stands alone.
With only God and Exxon, the patron saint of graveyard attendants, to watch over
him. Carrying him through one more night with out some stranger pulling off the express.
Burning with desire for the $40 bucks In his register and a suitcase of Miller Lite.
He forces a smile as the new arrival enters.
His hand reaching for his only friend during these long hours to dawn.
Sweaty palm closing around the cool wood of the grips, knuckles white with fear.
Relaxing his finger as he recognizes Billy Samson.
Billy is a regular here, helping to pass the hours until dawn. His hand
slips from around the butt of his.357 magnum and it drops silently back
to its pad beneath the counter.
Soon the place becomes a bustling center of activity as the blind
awaken and make their way once more into the light.
Innocent, ignorant souls never knowing what lurks in the darkness from which they hide.
The attendant merely smiles and, as the shakes recede with the
rising sun, he gives thanks to the great Exxon for granting him
One more safe journey through a night in a small town.