The heat of the midday summer sun refracts on my mirror blinding me as I check behind my car while my turning signal clicks repeatedly. Shaking my head slightly at the disturbance, I roll down my window slightly to catch some fresh air as I pull into the gas station. I park my car in front of pump number 9 and as I get out I hear a voice positively shouting:
“Well look here folks we have our next competitor entering the stage now!”
Looking around for the source of this voice I see that a very short man in a vibrant sky blue suit with matching top hat is sitting on top of the sign which displayed the various gas prices. I put a hand to my eyes to block the blinding sun and saw the little man more clearly. He seemed to be speaking, again, into a megaphone that projected his voice loudly.
“Let’s see how this amateur competitor from California does in the hottest new sport of the century: Perilous Pit-Stop Panacea!”
I wonder if this is some kind of publicity stunt? Lowering my hand from my face and laughing to myself, I turn around to begin to walk back towards the mini market to get some snacks and pay for my gas. As I pass my car the voice and accompanying body magically appears on the other side of my car holding a megaphone as he loudly asks, “What is your name young man?”
More startled than a snail who finds itself in a salt factory, I repeat his question rather more rudely, “Dude you were just-who the fuck are you?”
“James, James, James. My boy, please remember the contracts you signed. There’s no cursing allowed… this will be on television globally after all.”
I’m so confused I stop in my tracks and stammer out, “I-I don’t… I don’t remember signing any contract. And I certainly don’t remember you.”
“Nonsense, nonsense! On you go my boy!”
Taking one last look over my shoulder at this strange little man, I continue walking the few feet remaining towards the mini market. The whole time I could hear the man commentating behind me loudly, “He’s making the walk rather briskly. Good timing on the approach. Let’s see how he handles the Daring, Dastardly Door of Doom.”
My hand closes on the hot metal attached to the glass front door of the mini market. Swinging the door open I see a little old lady shuffling towards the door at little old lady speed. I stand back, holding the door open for her.
“Well look here folks our young contestant is holding the door for our oldest contestant in a bout of chivalry. This will count against his overall time but points should be awarded at the closing ceremony for this courageous act.”
Shaking my head at this ridiculous shouting man and wondering if I should call the police under a noise disturbance just to make him go away, I instead continue into the relief that an air conditioned mini market provides on a hot day.
A bell chimes above my head as I enter and the clerk looks up lazily. A guy about my same age but with a much deeper tan and sandy blonde hair that frizzed up from his scalp in all directions like it was trying to escape. We give each other a bro nod and I make my way through to the aisle for snacks. I bend down to look at the bottom row of chips when that voice booms, “Now we come to the most dangerous part of this sport.” I don’t startle very easily but this little blue leprechaun is appearing like magic. I fall forward slightly and knock a few rows of potato chips to the floor.
“Our contestant will lose points in the ‘foraging’ category for that blunder but he seems to be recovering nicely, hopefully he can still make it in the top 3!”
Cursing to myself and forcing myself not to give in and look at him, I pick up all the chip bags, the little man behind me charging onward with his infernal commentary.
“Points for chivalry must be awarded judges! Look at his form as he rectifies his mistake! All that time lost folks just think about it!” I look back to see him give an affected little shudder.
I shake my head again and try to focus on selecting a snack all the while the commentary behind me rambles on. “Choosing a snack is an art that only the snacker can successfully perform for themselves. Having someone else go to pick up snacks will never satisfy the snacker as completely as a snacker selected snack.”
Finally turning around out of pure annoyance, I see that he is now seated, legs dangling and swinging like a child, on the top of the stack of 12 pack sodas. I didn’t even hear the bell chime as he came in but he sits there continuing on with his commentary as he looks at me, “The young contestant from California seems to be-”
My hand over his mouth stopping this ridiculous creature from opening his mouth I look into his eyes and I suddenly understand. “How much did Jenny pay you?”
His eyes widen and he holds up two fingers. Sighing, I pull out my wallet and hand the man four one hundred dollar bills. An impish grin appears on his face and he says without the use of the megaphone in a Scottish accent, “Cheers mate!”
Jenny thought that she would win the prank war I thought we had ended months ago with this little diversion. Weak really. A plan already formulating in my mind involving lipstick, super glue and chili peppers as I pull out of the gas station. My vengeance would be swift and terrible.