A Gas Exchange

I browse the aisles. Unsurprisingly, they sell the same items as every other gas station I've ever browsed. Skittles, Raisinettes, something that looks like a sculpted carbohydrate. I try to figure out the tax on $1.79 so that I can give exact change and get rid of some weight in my fanny pack. Whoever it was that invented the 1c coin, probably someone who thought cheques would take over the world, does not deserve any nice things. I have yet to find a single purpose for a penny except to dash hopes when I think it's a dime and am wrong. But anyway, the tax. 7% of $1.79. 1% is 1.79 cents. Multiply by 7. This is dumb. I am dumb. Just put the real price on the raisinettes please.

Americans are sneaky like that. Need directions? Sure I can help and then I can also stand here awkwardly waiting for a tip. Here's a free mixtape I made but please donate or give it back. Grab some raisinettes for $1.79. Just kidding they're $1.91 (I used my phone). I take out exactly $1.91 in coins to trade for some raisins.

How're y'all doing?

I look around and see no one else in the place to constitute “you all.”

Just having a look thanks.

He nods and goes back to not caring.

Actually, where can I find the water?

The what?

The water.

I don't know wha-

The watER.

Oh! Yeah just right back there.

He points in the general direction of the entire store. I wander back and work on my drawl. The water is cheap here. It has to be when a gallon of coke is 89 cents (actually 95). So cheap that I could probably still pay with coins.

I am not a coin person. To me, coins are to be put in a money tin, mug, or random pile in my room until one day I take them all to the bank and ruin a cashier's day. I don't carry coins in my pockets, but my dad does. I know this because he jingles them, along with his keys, every second of every day.

"Good morning." Jingle jingle.

I feel like filling up the can plan with all this junk." Jingle jingle.

"You know I once knew a guy..." Jingle jingle.

*Emotional scene in movie.* Jingle jingle.

"My apologies." Jingle jingle.

*Pleasant silence* Jingle jingle..

*Snoring* Jingle jingle.

I don't carry coins with me. But it's hard to have a mug of small change while travelling so now they live in my fanny pack and reproduce as I head to the counter. He scans my two items and chews something.

Y'all not from here?

No I'm from N Zlnd.


Noo Zealnd.

Noo what?

Nieew Zealaaand.

Oh New Zealand! I was thinking y'all were from Australia.

Yeah well I was thinking Y'ALL can't speak proper english.

I don't say that. I just laugh and get my coins ready.

That'll be $2.81.

I look down at my not-enough coins. Maybe there are more hidden in my fanny pack. The wallet comes out. Then the phone. Charging cable. Passport. Chapstick. Sunscreen. Receipts. Coins. Not enough coins. I do some quick math and count $2.81 exactly but I doubt my skills and too much time has elapsed to count again. A fiver comes out of the wallet with a heavy hand. The sunscreen goes back, followed by the chapstick, passport, charging cable, and phone. I'll throw the receipts away later. He gives me my change. I collect my homeless-man's-cup worth of coins and burden the fanny pack once again.

Y'all have a good day now.

I smile in his general direction and say nothing. It's not worth the effort.