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October 20th, 2010 by Gustav

Don’t Stop & Leave

by Gustav Hollnagel

The Kum-&-Go on Morningside avenue used to be a 7/11 around ten years ago. The gas station itself hasn’t been renovated since, but the counter has moved from time to time.

The white and red signs saying “kum & go” are remotely visible. There are only two pumps. The occasional white pick-up or dark-colored car stops to access the market function of the gas station. Car engines keep running while their owners enter the transparent aluminum door. Milk, tobacco, and snacks are the highlights of revenue when the day grows older. When night approaches the place turns into a desert.

The grey, clustered clouds above it provide atmosphere close to a foggy tavern silently nourishing in Northern Europe; empty and socially evaded. There is a light at the side of the building that is quite functional. However, the occasional “buzz” visibly resounds.

Entering the station bright lights burn your eye light, their sources spread among advertisement, special offers, and product packaging. Virtually no one except the cashier resides between the aisles and different food corners. Empty, deserted, socially evaded. It’s a vacant castle where candy bars and carbonated drinks are the replacement for ancient bricks and wooden bars.

“Klick”. The aluminum door opens. Twice. A Morningside College professor walks in. To a Kum-&-Go around 8 pm at night. He looks a tad confused about what he came here for; then he recalls. Apparently, professors are hunters of cheap fountain drinks. Bargain of the night: 32 oz. drink for only 59 cents.

The place shines thirstily when another customer approaches the food and fountain corner, which practically draws immediate attention to a disoriented customer. Even the desert is home to flowering oases. One chats with the fellow camel, consults about the fortunes ad fates, and after 2 minutes of irrelevant talk it all regresses back to human life.

The cashier was evidently glad he could present his exotic offerings to the tidy travelers, at least tonight that is. Surprisingly, between two customers one could claim to observe outmost diversity.

“Zzz-zz-nnnn-zzzz”. The ice machine recurrently starts humming. Have a slushy or some frozen food while you’re at it. “Cha-ching”. The cash register flies open and is pushed close just as fast. One could become distracted in this place. Too many unexpected sounds. Some sort of steady beep tone springs from the backside of the tobacco facet. Marlboro Light; Marlboro Menthol; Marlboro 100’s; Marlboro Menthol Light; Marlboro Regular; Marlboro Ultra Light; Marlboro Paradise? Marlboro Heaven? Tobacco must be hard to come by at other places after seeing this arsenal of lung extinguishers.

The sub convex mirrors at the end of the outside aisles reflect the image of the black guy exiting the station, fountain drink in his hand. Cashier X jolly awaits the two cars leaving, so he can too exit the red, purple and shop-worn interior. It won’t be his last cigarette for the night…

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