So we all have those stories that sorta make us US. The stories that we tell people to give them a feel for who you are and what you’re about.
Some of us have a LOT of those stories and some of us have a few.
The thing is that they are YOUR stories.
They are OUR stories.
The hope is that you are telling YOUR stories and not just making stuff up or telling someone else’s tales. We connect and bond over our shared stories. They tie us together. Our successes and failures. All of it. These make up who we are. So if we start lying about all of that it doesn’t connect or unite us, it separates us further.
So when I tell you a story, this is my story. This is me. My last true story I told was about a former friend and a flat earth. This story is a little different. It’s a lot funnier for one, and for another, it’s more mysterious.
So let’s go.
For a little while I worked at a convenience store about ten minutes from where I grew up. I was in my twenties and needed a job and they were hiring and whammo! It seems like it was towards the end of my college career but I can’t recall the date without tapping on my head a lot. Our convenience store was called the Circle M and we sold porno mags, smokes, beer, cheap wine, rented movies, and sold your basic convenience store groceries. I worked either the second shift – 2PM – 11PM – or a split on Fridays and Saturdays, which had me working 5PM – 1AM. It was an OK job and I met a lot of uh, interesting people, and acted a fool a lot, and generally just cashed those checks. I saw a lot there. I had teen girls trying to convince me to let them buy booze and when I refused they bought spray whipped cream instead – and dopey me thought it was a sex thing, not a drug thing. This always bummed me out because they were young, like fifteen, and one had a mesh shirt with her bra showing and we were near a highway and a bar and I just worried about them. That’s me. There was a guy who came in with his daughter and he’d load up with two or more 40s of beer and he was nice and his daughter was shy and I always got the feeling he was trying to hook us up.
Which never happened, by the by.
I have another classic story from this job which most of my friends know but which I will spare you, for now.
It was OK. I’d go in for my shift, turn the hot dog maker back on and get a fountain pop, make a couple hot dogs, then plow through some food and get my tasks done for the night early and then just chill out for the rest of the night and wait on people. I hated renting movies because it was a hassle. The owners were nice. The pay was OK. It was a job. And I needed a job.
One night I was working by myself and it was around the time when folks would come in and get their beer and go do what they did. It was the mid-1990s I know because I had a shirt with an Alien on it, it said like Absolut Alien I think. I loved alien stuff. It was silly. I’d never wear the shirt now, which was white with a green alien in a bottle. I just, yeah, not my thing, though hey, aliens, we’re still cool. So here I am at work and these two guys come up to the counter and ask –
“So you like aliens?”
Which is an odd question, right?
They’re two guys that are a little older than me and look as if they are more comfortable on a dirt bike track than at the theater. I wasn’t thinking of my shirt and was like –
One of them points to my shirt.
“Oh, yeah, sure.” I respond.
“We got one if you wanna see it.”
Again I was a little confused. It was just us in there at the time and I was sorta adrift in the conversation.
“An alien. We got one. In the barn. If you wanna see it.”
Now, bear in mind that I am sorta paraphrasing the conversation because it WAS about twenty years ago, but I swear, I SWEAR that this happened.
I give another “Huh?”
“An alien. We have one in the barn. You wanna see it?”
“If you wanna see it it’s $1200.”
Now, that is STILL a lot of dough, and back then it for SURE was a lot of dough so there was no way this was going to happen, not even going into the logistics of trusting two yokels to not brain me and eat me or bury me on the back forty.
“Oh. Yeah, I don’t have that. Sorry.”
“It’s real. You’d wanna see it. An alien. You don’t have the money?”
“No. I don’t. Sounds cool though.”
This had gone beyond weird.
Way beyond weird.
The two guys sorta shrugged at me and headed for the door.
“OK. Your loss. It’s real. Just $1200 if you change your mind.”
“OK” I reply, never getting a name or number or anything.
I’d never have that money.
Especially not for them.
And they left and I never saw them again.
And it’s just a weird story now from a weird time in my life. I wonder though, even today, about all of it. Like…what DID they have in that barn, if anything? Like, were they for real gonna roll me and rob me? Was it a gag? Was it some weird animal? Was it, I mean, WAS it an alien? Is it possible?
Of course not.
Except it’d figure, wouldn’t it, that these yokels would have something like that and instead of letting the world see would be trying to get rich off of it.
Yeah, that seems pretty American.
Man, I dunno.
I still think about it from time to time but I am sure I am better off not having gone to the ‘barn’ with them.
Eh, who knows, really.