EZ Stop - Short Story

When he walks in with a six pack of Yuengling, he tells me of an interesting episode that occurred at the EZ Stop where he purchased the beer. An old man is outside smoking a cigarette and drinking a beer. The man finished his cigarette and goes inside to tell the clerk to call an ambulance and the police for an unknown reason. My suitemate says that nothing looked off about the man and he was unsure why he requested emergency services to come.

I sit in my suite, writing an essay for Literature and The American Experience the night before it’s due. It isn’t my best work. The essay is poorly written and lacks a cohesive theme, but it’ll net me at least a B, if not an A. The professor of that class likes my work for some hitherto unknown reason, and I’m not inclined to question why.

About three-quarters of the way through the essay, I decide it’s time to complete my nightly ritual. I’ve drank three beers, and have two cigarettes to smoke. I descend the stairs of my dorm, a cigarette in my mouth and a lighter in my pocket. When I step outside to the cold air, the briskness immediately washes over me. It’s cold out, but nothing that my jacket and flannel won’t fix. I light the first cigarette and look out over downtown Maryville.

The city is oddly beautiful at night, and my perspective gave me a prime view of the lights that illuminated the streets and alleyways of Maryville. I look to a traffic light that’s green, perhaps on Court Street or Washington Avenue. I watch the light change from green to yellow, and finally to red. I imagine myself as a character from Twin Peaks, peering at the traffic light to find some special revelation or guidance in its changing.

Guidance, however, does not come. I keep peering into the night and into the city when a siren breaks the relative silence I had found myself in up to that point. A fire truck rolls past the street adjacent to the college. It’s heading towards the EZ Stop. A few drags later, another siren pierces the night. An ambulance passes my vision and is heading towards the EZ Stop.