At 2:30 am, most every patron of Hernandez Food and Convenience was either drunk, stoned, or both. Chris never had much of a taste for illegal drugs, so he was merely the former. His drunkenness had once again become a near-constant condition these past few days.
Chris was in the middle of what he supposed would be fair to call “a bender.” He had started drinking at 2pm on Tuesday afternoon and had kept a respectable pace up through his last drink about 15 minutes ago. It was Thursday now. Mrs. Hernandez had seen worse.
Chris slid his items onto the counter. Since counting was no longer on the list of things Chris could do without difficulty, he just kept handing her crumpled bills from his pocket until she seemed satisfied and gave him a few coins in return.
A kid with a tattooed tear on his face shoved past Chris in an apparent hurry to get his cigarettes. Chris took his purchases and lumbered out to the curb. He sat, peeled back the plastic on his pre-made sandwich, and popped open the bag of hot pepper-flavored styrofoam that somehow met the FDA standards for food. The first stale, mostly flavorless bite of the sandwich filled every cell of his body with joy. He wasn’t sure of the last time he had actually eaten anything.
About halfway through the sandwich, he noticed a young couple kissing against the passenger side of an El Camino in the driveway across the street. He took a swig from the bottle of peppermint Schnapps he kept inside his pocket. The taste of salt and metal followed. His sandwich was on its way back up to say hello.
Chris emptied the contents of his stomach into the storm drain and couldn’t help but feel some satisfaction as the couple stopped their make-out session to stare at him with disgust.