I'm all out of my dirty little secret, so I head to the Mobile station (a.k.a. drug dealer) down the road from my house to stock up.
I go in and ask the dude behind the counter for three tins. Routine. Except it's three instead of two. Nah, I don't have a problem. He asks to check my I.D. For the fourth time. I'm 41 years old. Sure, I'm too old to chew but, Christ, I'm too old to be carded, right?
Odd thing, but I like convenience counter clerks. They are wacky folks by nature. I try to imagine how the hell they ended up working second or third shift at a Mobil Mart. I wonder if I could hack it. Does it require a degree? But the clerks, they are okay mostly. I'm polite, so maybe that's why they warm up to me. They tell me all sorts of shit. One dude nearby has two thumbs on one hand, this little extra digit that sort of protrudes benignly (hey, it might even be angling for jauntily) from his other -- real? -- thumb. Wicked nice guy, though. Last time I was in, he was trying to pick up this hot chick who was buying lottery tickets or some shit. I admired his pluck, but come on, what are the chances she's gonna hang around the pumps 'til his shift is over?
I digress. So I'm at the Mobil Mart tonight, thinking to myself that getting I.D.'d for chew at 41 is either funny or fucking pathetic, when I notice a plastic box on the counter full of meat. Really. When I first walked in, I was checking to see if there was any Copenhagen, and then I eyeballed the 3-pound Reese Peanut Butter nougat ass expander. I didn't notice -- at first -- the black walled and clear top Lexan box with convenient pull-drawer Meat Stick dispenser. But damn if I didn't start to fixate on that little modern convenience. I mean, who doesn't want a Meat Stick from a Mobil Mart? "Yeah, I'll put $20 on pump 4, two scratch tickets, black coffee and ...whoa! a couple of Meat Sticks." They're two for a freakin' dollar, brother. Get four. Then I notice there are two of these Meat Stick magic boxes on the counter. These little babies must be hot sellers.
And the dude, he looks at me and I look at him. He sort of shyly says, "Yeah, I got here today and they (...right, the THEY people) told me to push the Meat Sticks." No shit? No shit.
Chuckling to myself, I left the Mart and headed back to my truck, thinking we are going to Hell in a Prado knock off. I'm mean, what pathetic -- fat? -- fuck would buy meat from a Mobil Mart counter? And right about when I was feeling sorry for -- and a bit ashamed of -- this nameless, faceless loser, I put my hand in my coat pocket and felt the reassuring presence of my three tins of Copenhagen.