Regular, Unleaded

“Shit, we need gas,” I tell Mike.

He nods and turns the radio up.

I pull into a Mobil and up to a gas pump, fiddling around the dashboard to trigger to little tank door to unlatch.

“Over there,” points Mike. He looks amused.

“Thanks.” I open the door and walk outside.

My high heels click-clack around the car. It smells like gasoline, of course, but I had forgotten how much I enjoyed the scent. I step back into the car.

“What’s up?” he asks.

“The tank’s on the other side.”

“Good one,” says Mike.

I sigh. “Shit. Now I need to turn around.” I hike my dress down and turn the keys in the ignition and the car squeals.

“Nice,” says Mike.

I turn the radio off. “Shush!”

I swing the car around and back into the same spot to refuel. This time, I know where the latch is and the tank is on the correct side. I step out once more, click-clack over in my high heels and tight black dress, unscrew the cap, lift up the gas nozzle and turn to the digital payment buttons.

“What the hell?” I say.

Mike is staring at me through the glass.

“I don’t understand, they want me to pay inside first?”

Mike makes a motion to his ear. He can’t hear me. He opens the door a crack. “What’s wrong?”

“I have to pay first? Why don’t they trust me?”

Mike steps out of the car. “Give me your credit card.”

I hand it over.

“Okay.” He puts the nozzle back, swipes my card, and press a few buttons. “Now you’re all set.” He gets back in the car and watches me, trying not to look amused.

“Thanks,” I mouth.

I put the nozzle back in the gas tank and decide to fill it up and check the messages on my BlackBerry, which works until it overflows and splashes out of the car’s tank all over my shoes.

Mike has no slouched down in the passenger seat, but I can see his shoulders rise and fall as he laughs.

I tug at my dress and kick the extra gasoline drops off my heels. Tossing my hair over my shoulder, I replace the gas nozzle and screw the cap back on. I click-clack away, sit back in the car and rest my head on the steering wheel.

My BlackBerry vibrates.

“Are you alright?” asks Mike.

“I’m fine,” I say. “I’m totally fine, expect I don’t belong here anymore.”


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