I’ve decided to start a journal, they say it can help you feel better. I’d like to be able to feel better. Maybe seeing things written down on a screen can help me process things better, or put the thoughts to bed. They don’t have to be in my head if they’re on a blog! Private only posts, obviously.
Had evening shift at 3:30 P. M., did not arrive at work on time, but car had a dead battery and had to get a jump-start from my neighbor, whose name is Fart Brother. Sometimes the drive to the station can be absolutely pleasant, the grass rarely fully loses its green here in southeast Texas, the temperature is finally not burning hot, and not freezing cold. A pleasant 60 degrees Fahrenheit. I rolled into work about 30 minutes late, Oliver was there, of course. I got the impression that the work day had been strenuous, he was making a lake of orange soda under the fountain into a river, pushing it out the door with the big squeegee. Perhaps it was more of a tsunami.
I asked him what happened.
“The directional man came in and made a mess.” Oliver smiled.
The directional man, actual name unknown since he never bought anything we’d have to ID him for, was a guy who was pointed fully in one direction – but, wow, could he focus. His eyes, ears, mouth, they were arranged into sort of… tubes, pointing straight forward. A could pick up all sorts of non-standard light spectrum stuff, see through walls, see sound waves, that kind of thing, but the fact that he could only be focused one direction made him pretty clumsy.
I used the hose to push the extracted soda off the sidewalk and harmlessly into the parking lot. It would be easiest to just mop the whole store, since it’s something that needs to be done anyway. Luckily there were few customers at this time, and by the time night started to fall everything was back to normal.
I settled in behind the counter with my phone, as Oliver went into the cooler to restock. I decided to check up on whether or not Google Maps had successfully mapped the surrounding area yet, as a mile or so past the station things tend to get a little non-euclidean. I like to call it the Dumpsville Unorthodox Territory. Space folds in and shifts around itself, even light from above gets shifted around, so the further you go down the road, the darker it becomes. The spatial shifts are pretty slow, taking over a year to fully slide, so I think it would be possible to map them year after year, surely there could be some kind of overlay for Google maps that would make this possible. When viewed from above, it’s a sort of irregularly shaped 5-square mile blob over mostly empty highway, becoming darker and darker until it’s completely black, or possibly just unmappable even from space. Gasarillo #318 is the most concrete landmark before the highway drives into the Territory. It’s hard to come out the other side, because the blob is bigger on the inside than the outside, what with some spaces slipping into areas that are definitely not on This Earth. If you can come out the other side of the highway, there’s really no towns or anything for a long while.
The types of people that emerge from the Territory are near-endless, from skinless wobbling blood globs to high-powered electric executives making a pitstop on their way to an important meeting. They almost always have legal U.S. currency to spend. Obviously, the surrounding trailer parks and homesteads are populated with people originating from the Territory as well as those not. It’s unknown how long the area has been this way. The way things are, it could have not existed until a few years ago or even until this morning, but history is warped to accommodate it’s existence throughout all time. Despite it’s incredible properties that as far as I know do not exist anywhere else, the area seems to be treated as little more than a strange roadside attraction.
I’ve worked in this station for the last 8 years, having gotten the job on a recommendation from Oliver. Previously I had tried to make money for a few years as a local bounty hunter, a popular choice of employment for 22 year old college dropouts. I did get to know Oliver from that time in my life, as he assisted me on the few bounties I was actually able to claim. I think Oliver has worked for Gasarillo for 11 years? He didn’t always work at this station, he used to work in town, where he actually lived in a real house. Now he lives and works here, at the store. I’m not sure why he chose to transfer here. Despite all signs pointing otherwise, from his powerful and terrifying anatomy to his lack of understanding of the value of life, I do not believe Oliver to be from the Territory. He says he came from somewhere else a long time ago.
At 8:00, it was time for my break, I had a microwave burrito, the kind we get from one of the Territory vendors, says on the wrapper it’s “beef from exceptionally intelligent cows,” but it just tastes like normal beef and bean. Things seem to pick up for business once night falls, although business is almost always slow. We had the usual type of assortment: night shift workers going into town getting energy drinks and cigarettes, dayshift workers coming back to the Territory buying cold beer and cigarettes. There are a couple of regulars, who are robots, that almost always buy Chef Arduous canned pasta. It seem rude for me to ask what they buy it for, it’s definitely possible that they need to eat, or they could be buying it for someone else. The robots are always wearing giant cowboy hats and always pay with cash. Their big metal claws are shockingly dexterous, not at all like the old sci-fi movies with robots in them.
By midnight my shift was up, a pretty easy night! I drove home in the darkness, passing after some time all the chemical plants and fabrication shops before finally getting home. I met my wife Diane on the couch, we kissed and watched Impractical Jokers reruns in each other’s arms, trying to console each other from the awful reality of Impractical Jokers.