I’ve been standing next to a display of teriyaki jerky for at least 180 seconds waiting for you to notice me. You are browsing the T-shirt selection. You stop briefly at a blue shirt with an eagle on the front of it. In the eagle’s claws, there is an American flag. It is on the extra-large rack. That is something I like about you. You are extra-large.
You have already picked out a wallet with a chain from a nearby rack. I wonder what happened to your last wallet. Why do you need a new one? I wonder whether you know that the “100% genuine leather” isn’t really leather. I wonder whether you’ll give me the chance to tell you.
You decide against the blue T-shirt. This is wise, I think. Blue is not your color. We know that now.
I think that one of the bags of jerky must have a tear in it. The smell is strong.
In the terms of this truck stop, you are a high roller. You are shopping every section. You get yourself a large coffee. Smart. None of those processed, sugar-y sodas for you. You are a real man. You drink black coffee.
You get a can of Mountain Dew. It is okay to treat yourself. You need the energy. You have a lot of miles ahead of you. You must stay alert.
When you finally move to checkout, I realize that now is the time. I snatch the closest item and make a beeline for the register. The item that I snatched is a novelty keychain. The name on the keychain is Rhonda. Why not? I catch sight of my warped reflection in a mirror mounted in the corner. I could be a Rhonda. I must be.
You are making a joke. I do not hear it, but when you laugh, I laugh. The cashier looks at me. He is sitting in a box. I wonder if it is bulletproof. It must be, I think. People do not just sit in boxes. I wonder if you have a gun. I wonder if you’ve used it.
You look at me, finally, and I look at you. You look away. You are shy. I add that to the list of things I like about you. Large, shy man.
Your total is $89.43. That is too much money.
You put back the wallet. Maybe you did know about the leather after all. $72.68. Better.
You hand over four twenties. There is nothing wrong with your current wallet. It is leather, slightly worn, but real leather. I can tell. You get your change and fold into the pocket of your jeans. You take your bag.
I should say something.
You are leaving.
I say nothing.
“Did you find everything you were looking for?” The cashier scans the keychain and adds, “Rhonda?”