Driving home from a trip up north, having a terrible cold, i noticed i was beginning to doze off. With my brother in tow, already asleep by my side in the passenger seat I decided to stop off at a gas station by the side of the highway. I parked on the unmarked pavement near the door and walked in leaving by brother in the seat asleep. The clerk stared at me as i looked around trying to gather what I was looking for. I was in a haze from the cold and sleepiness.
"Can I help you find something?" the clerk asked.
"Uh. I'm just looking to keep myself awake on the road." I responded.
"Oh well I hear good things about these." he said pointing at a rack full of energy shots. "we get a lot of customers in here buying these. Truckers do a lot."
"Well I suppose I'll try one then." I said. I grabbed two from the rack and put them on the counter.
"Two?" he asked "Don't drink them both at once."
"Oh no? I have heard that's bad i guess."
"Yeah. People drink these with alcohol in shots. That way they can drink twice as much without falling asleep or getting sick."
I contemplated asking him how he knew this but decided against it. I really just wanted to get back on the road and get home. Besides, i figured I knew the answer anyway.
"Yeah these things are just awful." he continued. "I used to drink them when I'd go run five miles."
"You don't say." I said as I handed him a ten.
"Yeah, but I don't do that anymore since I got a job with UPS. Hey, you got two pennies so I can give you back four bucks even?"
"Nope. Sorry, man. This ten is all i got."
"What're you apologizing for? I'm the one who asked anyway. I'm the one who should apologize." He straightened up and adjusted his dirty uniform "I apologize for asking you." he said in an overly formal tone. "I'll just have to give you three ninety eight now."
"Well that's alright. Thanks." I said as a walked towards the door.
"No problem, guy. Don't die."
"Yeah. I don't intend to." I said. Then I left the station and got back in the car. My brother was still asleep in the passenger's seat. I continued down the long highway towards home after consuming one of the shots. Feeling more energized and a little buzzed, I finally realized how strange the encounter with the man was. Some people are just from a different place I guess.