“Are you going to pay for your gas this time, Pauline?” the store manager asks me.
I’d just walked into Williams’ E-Z Buy.
“Pay for your gas upon entering store,” he reads his little sign to me.
“What’s the difference?” I ask. “You get me coming—you get me going.”
“It makes for extra work.”
“You’d rather ring up my gas, and then later ring up my dozen eggs and gallon of milk?”
“It’s the way we do things, orderly, efficient, honest. It’s the right way.”
“I pay every time, Bill,” I say.
“It’s William,” he says. He points to his ID badge.
“William Williams,” I say. “Were your parents drunk or just planning to fun you the rest of your life?”
“I know you Hutchinses,” William says. “You’re all thieves and liars.”
“I ain’t a Hutchins,” I say. “I married one.”
“Then you’re a fast learner.”
I hated that. I hated the whole deal. I’m no thief, and I’d be better off if I lied more, but I know how to light a match, orderly, and efficient. And maybe honest too.