Sunday, October 31, 2010

One Weird Gas Station

"It is so psyrealistic - it moves not outside of realism, but on a seperate track running an entirely different way than realism! Your characters, at times, can react opposite of what you would expect from any person, and at other times, be perfectly reasonable. It all fits into this nicely screwed-together universe of yours, and it turns out perfectly in a style that is all your own. Well done!"
-Master of Shadow Matoran, via VahiCove

"That really is quite a strange gas station, but with a strange place comes a great story, and you, my friend, have a great piece. Rather than go with the norm, you went with the strangest and most entertaining way to tell this story. From beginning to end, it was all good, so keep it up!"
-Xenogears, via Budding Writters


After quite a bit of frantic searching, I found the data I needed to repost this short story. I originally wrote it almost a year ago, and my writing abilities have, in fact, increased since then. When I first completed it from scratch (starting out not knowing what I was writing about), I received a lot more praise from my family and various other people on the internet than I ever expected I would. This is the latest version, with all (as far as I could tell) of the typos edited out.

So, alas, this was the first completed short story I ever wrote. At least after I started getting good at writing. It was also the first story I ever wrote in first-person.


One Weird Gas Station
By Reuben Horst

“John. My name’s John,” the man said. I looked at him with confusion in my eyes. He was wearing shorts and a T-shirt, extremely unusual attire for the crazy rainstorm outside. We were standing in my gas station on a very rainy day and he was wearing a T-shirt? Who was this guy?

Noticing my confusion, the man, John, said, “I know this seems a bit weird, but I can’t help it.”

I just shrugged and turned away. Some people were just weird. Most usually weren’t this weird, but I’ve definitely seen weirder people. Someone once walked in this station on Micah Street wearing a heavy coat and sweat pants in the middle of the hottest day of summer. This is a very weird gas station, I guess.

The man named John stroked his short beard and walked away into the soda section. As I turned back to my work, another stranger walked into the store/gas station. This one wore a grey top coat, long pants that had a dark blue color, sun glasses, a black hat, and a gun pointed right at me.

Now I’m not into guns, so I have no idea what type he had. But that didn’t stop the fact that all guns could easily kill.

The man wiped the water off his sunglasses with a cloth (I don’t know how he did it without taking them off) and smiled. Two of his top teeth were missing, and all the rest were a sick yellow that made me think he hadn’t brushed his teeth in weeks.

“Would you please be so kind as to give me all your money?” the man asked, still smirking.

Without thinking, I quickly reached into the cash register, pulled out a ten dollar bill, gave it to the man, and said “Here, this is all I have.”

Like I said, I did it without thinking. The gunman immediately burst out laughing.

John came around the corner, walked up to the counter, and asked, “Sir, how much are the A&W Cream Sodas? They don’t have a price.”

The gunman, upon seeing John, shouted, “Any other customers get out here or I’ll shoot the teller!” I rolled my eyes and told him that there weren’t any others.

Just to make sure, the gunman started snooping around the store.

John leaned over the counter and whispered, “It seems you’re in a bit of trouble, Mr. Sir.”

I raised my eyebrows. “Really, I never noticed,” I said, “Oh, and my name’s Luke.”

The gunman had reached the candy aisle and was currently chewing on some jelly beans.

“Hey, are you going to pay for those?” I called across the room. Startled, the gunman put back the bag, tried resealing it with some type of glue or something, then raced back to the counter. “Alright, all your money,” he said.

John immediately turned to the gunman. “Now wait a minute,” he said, “Why do you want to rob this place? It doesn’t have very much money.”

I looked at John as if he’d gone insane. What was he talking about? This gas station had more cash in the register than most others in the city combined! He winked at me, so I relaxed.

“This place only has about a thousand dollars,” John said. I immediately started to object to his ignorance, but decided against it.

John continued, “I could pay you ten thousand if you leave this place alone.” I stared at him. Was this his ‘great plan’?

The gunman thought a bit then smiled. “I guess I could take it,” he said, “Considering it’s ten times what you have here.”

John got out his check book and started to write a check.

“HOLD IT!” the gunman yelled, “I’m not going to sign a check so that the police can find my identity!” John looked hurt. “Then how can I pay you?” he asked.

The gunman shifted the gun so that it was pointed at me again. “Go to the bank and get the money,” he said, “and if you don’t come back, or if you call the police, I’ll shoot the pretty little teller.” Then he smiled.

I felt offended. He called me pretty. Pretty, for Pete’s sake! Couldn’t he see that I was male?

John just shrugged and walked out.

An hour later he walked back in with ten one-thousand dollar bills. He handed them to the gunman, who ran out of the building right after getting the money.

I turned to John and said, “Thanks, but why did you do this for me? I don’t even know you!”

John smiled and said, “Well, I guess it would pay for the gas I stole.”

I immediately jumped up. “You stole gas?” I asked quickly.

“More like recycled it,” the man said.

I was confused. “What do you mean by recycled?” I asked.

John’s smile grew broader. “Well, I took most of the gas out of the gunman’s car and put it in mine.”

I burst out laughing. Why hadn’t I thought of that before? What the gunman hadn’t known was that the bank was right across the street. “No wonder it took you an hour to get the money!”

John laughed too. “During the time I also got his license plate number and a really good description of his car. Now it’ll be easy for the police to find him. They just need to look for a dude in a blue Chevy that is out of gas!”

With that last sentence I stopped laughing. I just stared at him. When he noticed I stopped, he stopped too and asked me why I was staring.

“Did you just say a blue Chevy?” I asked. When John said yes, and told me what the plate number was, I rolled my eyes and chuckled.

I finally told him, “John, you didn’t get a description of his car; you got a description of my car!”

John immediately froze and started looking embarrassed. I laughed and eventually he joined in. This was one really weird gas station.


I haven't told anyone before, but the character John was named after my deceased grandfather, J. Alton Horst, may he rest in peace.

Feedback, please!



  1. Great job, Reuben! Made me laugh! Keep writing! :)

  2. Hey, it's Warrior Poet from BW. Reading this all over good. I love maligned surrealism and this is pretty awesome.

  3. Okay, this is one weird-quirkyish story! lol I gotta say.
    you write pretty good for your age, and even though i didn't quite get it all, it was funny!