Books: An Abridged Existence (excerpt)

The automatic gas pump clicks off right when Carl is halfway done with the passenger side windshield. He hurriedly finishes up, and as a result does a rather poor job of getting the bugs and other dead things off of his windshield. Carl puts the sponge squeegee back into its receptacle, and attempts to top off the tank, despite the various stickers placed on the gas pump telling people not to top off the gas tank. He only wants to get charged an even amount of $20.00 for gas. The current bill is $19.87. He figures another 13 cents in gas will not cause a spillage. However, an angry attendant comes out of the gas station’s convenience store building and yells at Carl for attempting to top off the tank, and proceeds to tell him all of the potential hazards that can result in the topping off of the tank. It means nothing to the attendant that Carl does not want to have to carry around 13 cents in change, when he could have those 13 cents as gas and in the tank. The attendant takes the gas pump nozzle from Carl and puts it back in its holder, and leads Carl inside to pay the bill for the gas.

Carl comes back outside looking rather angry at the foolish young gas station attendant for being such a prick.

“What’s wrong Carl?” Sid asks empathetically.

“That little pimply faced idiot cause me to not be able to top off my tank, so now I have 13 cents in change that I have to carry around all damn day,” Carl is obviously upset.

“Wait until he comes out again. Then take your change and throw it at him as you speed away,” Sid suggests, although by the tone in his voice, he is not serious. However, Carl thinks that it is a really good idea, so he waits in the gas station lot for the station attendant to stick his nose out the door of the store. Luckily for Carl, someone else is attempting to top off their tank, and he seizes his chance. Speeding by, with the window rolled down, Carl drives by and throws his change at the back of the attendant. The attendant is hit squarely in the back with two nickels and a penny. The remaining two pennies smack him in the back of the head.

“Viva la revolucion!” shouts Carl, as he speeds away. He now feels much, much better. When Carl has put several miles between him and that particular gas station, he asks Sid a question.

“Do you think he knew it was me?”

“Absolutely,” Sid responds.


“And I’m pretty sure that their cameras didn’t see what you did. So he’ll have no way to prove it, unless he can prove it was your change that hit him. And I doubt he was able to read your plates, even though the security cameras did,” Sid adds.