She was slaving away her life-cycle as a cashier at the Weasel Diesel. Though only into her forties, it appeared time hadn’t been her friend, and the tanning bed hadn’t cared too much for her either. She also stood a head shorter than all the other cashiers in the area.
James walked into the store, a little bell jingle-shrieked above him.
She pushed her head a fraction over the cash register counter and coughed the words, “Hey hon! (Bwah ha! ha!) Welcome to Weasel’s”
James saluted her, then regretted doing so, and shuffled towards the candy aisle. He skimmed his eyes along the sweets for a moment and instead approached the cash register. She was filling the lottery ticket boxes and hadn’t noticed him standing across from her.
He vacated his throat of snot. She peeked through one of the empty lottery containers, “You ready?” Surveying the empty counter, she said, “Not buying anything, eh?” She passed a troubled glance towards the window, “Ain’t parked at the pumps, either?” She asked as she lowered down from her step stool.
Sweat rippled down his forehead and bathed across his blue polo. The perspiration flowed through his chest hair but found resistance as it dammed against his stomach forestry.
“You all right, hon?”
“Ma’am, I’m not sure how to ask this. To be honest, I’m a little…nervous.”
She blushed through her greasy wrinkles and said, “Plenty of men, a lot uglier than you, come in here and asked me a lot worse.” She cracked her neck then flicked James a wink.
“What? No. Not where I was going with that. Nope, not at all.”
“Oh,” she tucked her head and said, “Sorry sweetie. Guess I’m suffering from a case of…” She fanned her face with her hand. “Wishful thinking.” She stretched so hard the bones in her back wept, and she shot James another animalistic wink.
James’s tongue clashed with his breakfast as he grappled with his mental health.
“Ma’am, this is serious. I’m trying to figure out something very important. And since you work at a truck stop, I had a feeling you might know.”
“Honey, you got a daddy, don’t ya? I’m pretty sure he’s the one that’s supposed to be answering those kinds of questions.” She looked side-to-side and then popped her crusty knuckles. “But, I guess my good looks made you think I’m some kinda expert or something. They tell me that all the time.” She said flicking the remnants of her gristly hair over her scrawny shoulder. James caught a whiff of yogurt, curdled out-of-date yogurt. “They say ‘Ms. Marci, you may not got no teeth, but the ones you do, for sure know how to smile!” She grinned to the max, “Sometimes, they say they just wanna pick me up” She formed air quotes, “and ‘literally’ carry me off to their momma. I guess cause I’m so short and sassy.” She chuckled and flashed her five-tooth grin.
“Oh? What? I didn’t even notice that you were short.” James lied. Bad habit.
He glanced around the store. Still not another soul. He turned back to Marci, placed his elbows on the counter and alpha-male whispered. “Listen girl, I will get real with you for a second. You know anything about MMM?”
She immediately turned her cross-eyed gaze to the floor. She started blushing like an Amish person locked in a Best Buy.
“Well, I’ll be perfectly honest. I can say, nobody’s’ ever asked me about that b‘fore.”
James continued, “My friends got a note the other day, it had the letters MMM on it. Does that mean anything to you?”
Marci observed the floor a little longer. She looked back up at James and quickly shook her oddly proportionate head. “No, sir. Don’t think I know what you’re talking about.”
She seemed insincere. But James wasn’t about to smack this tiny person on the head. He definitely wasn’t into the whole interrogation scene. Not since the day his buttocks became enlightened.
“Ok, Ms. Marci. How about this, have you seen any suspicious characters in here lately?”
She threw her arms up and rigidly swung left to right. “Honey, this is a truck stop. To be real with ya, I don’t think I’ve seen any un-suspicious characters in here since last Friday.”
“Ok. I understand. Sorry for your time.” He said turning to walk out.
She let out a sigh. “No problem gorgeous. You sure that’s all you need to know?” She tossed a handful of tic-tacs at her face, most of them found her open mouth. The successful candies thudded against her tonsils. She never even closed her mouth. To James amazement, she let them free-fall towards her stomach. James paused for 0.79 seconds and listened for a splash.
He shook himself back to reality. She had almost got to him. Apparently the laws of attraction may have a dark gray-area “Have a good day, Mrs. Marci.”
A moment later, as he pulled his truck out of the parking lot, as the truck disappeared Marci dug out her phone and made a call.
As soon as the person answered on the other end, Marci whispered, “Little feller’s scratching around in here. Made me kinda nervous. Ya’ll might need to call a bug man.”
The person on the phone said something else. If I had to guess it probably sounded like “What are you talking about, gorgeous.”
Marci said with a little irritation, “You know what I mean, somebody’s been digging around in here and y’all might need to check for permits.”
The other person said something a little more irately this time. Probably like “Marci, have you been licking bath salts again? That epson’s gonna give you a bad case of diarrhea.”
She shook her head and half-screamed, because of her size, “Somebody came into this store looking for you!” She slammed the phone on the counter above her. She didn’t realize it but the phone call hadn’t ended. The lucky person on the other phone won the grand opportunity of listening to an improvisation of an emotionally stirring song about lonely men crawling after little Marci.
And when they catch her, Oh no no
She won’t put up a fight no mo’ no!
Meanwhile, in the truck a shiver ran through James’ slightly curved spine. He concluded that next time he needed to throw some butter at his targets.