Gas Man

The Costco gas man gets bored. His job is simple, but once that’s done he really has nothing better to do than people watch. This would be a bonus of the job for some, whether because it meant they were getting paid to do virtually nothing, or because the sport of people watching is so fascinating. The Costco man doesn’t enjoy that sport, or the art of doing nothing. So he makes a show of it for awhile. He walks around with his broom and dustpan and sweeps up the littlest gatherings of rocks or spreads out a puddle (he’s already swept the area clean once today).

He moseys over to the side of the Eddie Bauer building that has a window facing the Costco gas lot. No one seems to notice or mind that their gasoline guide for the morning has gotten sidetracked. He makes sure though, as he rearranges the bush nearest him while assessing his further options. Eventually he enters a little area between the row of bushes and the painted wall of the building.  There’s what looks like a cellar entrance there.  He lifts the door …

Now, if this were the beginning of a novel, those two paragraphs would be too much.  So far this story has been dull.  I would have put it down when he started moseying.  But if the reader suffered through to the cellar door, this would be the moment to pull a 180.  This would be the place to spring into action and shock the reader into submission.

What’s in the cellar?  Dead bodies? Leprechauns?  Stolen loot?  Missing children?  Maybe its a time travel portal, or a bridge to another world like in Edgar Rice Burroughs‘, “A Princess of Mars.”  It has to be something unexpected and fresh.  Because if it’s just a dank, dark cellar where the gas man goes to collect his thoughts and ponder the meaning of things – then it just flows like a Woody Allen soliloquy.  Clumsy, annoying, and a worthless waist of time.



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