Vince Thurmon is ready to clock out.

Writing by Vince Thurmon
Photography by Alfin Auzikri
back view of a man buying in kiosk


I smelled cheap cigarillo smoke mixed with

motor oil marching through roadside slush.

It was a short walk to the gas station,

the aroma of low-end tobacco seduced me.

I needed a plastic-tipped tube of respiratory tar,

disagreeable coffee and a suspect brick of pumpkin spice.

In I marched,

placing the items before the older woman

uncaringly scanning, that’s eight thirty-nine.

I thrust my card into the reader, waiting,

wondering where to look.

At the clerk? The card reader? Whose blessing do I

need to own these- Approved!

Look busy! Corporate’s here!

There are no customers

only short stints of idle insanity

savoring reprieves between barrages

ceaseless shit-eating grins, asinine questions

begging to be elsewhere.

It took a few rhythmic flicks of my Bic,

breathing in staccatos

huffing at the mouth of a grape-flavored chimney.

Sorry, I can’t return this without a receipt.

The man scrunched his salmon face, slamming a

stogie-sized finger on his appliance. Like a dog

he flashed his smoke-stained chompers.

I’d like to speak to your boss.

There was no destination, only stomping in the slop


a trail of smoke chasing cars whipping past moving

so fast I blink, they’re around the bend.

Could you mop these floors, kid?

Side to side the water moves, sloshing, shrinking.

Behind me a wagon wheel of crispy-clothed corpos smiles as they

verbally disembowel the store, their presence a pestilent aura.

Employees reroute, scatter,


This doesn’t belong here; they should be in the back.

They gawk as I mop, making me need a chemical

cure for the steady beating against my temples.

Nina wanted me to tell you: Great job!

I’m supposed to thank, smile, continue swishing a

broth of footprints, instead of asking

Why can’t she tell me personally?

I’m trained too well. I bite my lip.

I think I’ll take my 15.

About the Author

Vince Thurmon is the nom de plume of an Arkansas-born writer raised and living in New Hampshire. He specializes in goofiness and intrusives. Currently, Vince is working toward an MFA in both fiction and poetry. He also copy edits and writes for Cream Scene Carnival Magazine. @vincethurmonwrites -Instagram

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