pages Any Filling Station

by Kyle Loera

Published in Issue No. 187 ~ December, 2012

Photo by Ariel Dovas


There was a bearded guy in front of him buying scratchers. The guy wearing an oil-or-something-stained olive green nylon bomber, blue jeans with a hole in the left hip pocket showing the guy’s wallet. The guy’s left leg kind of wiggling while he scratched. Didn’t seem like a nervous wiggle or a wiggle because of pain, just a wiggle, just something the guy did. Seemed involuntary, something the guy’d stop doing if he could, something that used to embarrass him until he either rose above it or gave up caring. Maybe the guy didn’t think there was a difference. The guy’s hair graying, dirty with actual dirt that would tumble out when he scratched his head under his hat between scratching scratchers. The dirt resting on the guy’s shoulders, the guy’s shoulders slacking between each scratcher, flexing during. The guy sweeping spent and useless scratchers off the counter, failures fluttering to the floor. The cashier wearing a something-stained polo, and watching the guy, and watching the scratchers fall, but letting them go because the guy did this all the time, maybe every day, held up the line for guys with gas to buy for cars covered in dirt and filled with kids who stained the seats and had practice to attend. Guys with paying jobs they’d stop working if they could. Guys with wives to please, to disappoint and spoil. Guys with dreams to dream, to sweep away and let flutter as they may, as failures unchecked.

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Kyle Loera is a writer living in California. His work has appeared in Pif Magazine.