John looked at his watch and smiled. Thirty more minutes until the end of his long eight hour shift. The boredom sat in soon after Molly clocked out, leaving him alone. Three customers stopped to fill their tanks in two hours. Not one person came in. He grabbed a near by pen and began spinning it on the counter to keep his mind from wandering.
The door ringed as a man dressed in blue jeans and a white printed tee shirt entered. He walked over to a section filled with candy, small bags of chips and other on the go snacks. John watched the man closely as the man picked up different candy bars, reading the label for a moment and placing it back. He grabbed another and another, repeating the process.
Twenty more minutes, John thought to hisself as he tried to stop from watching the clock.
“I’ll take this and a pack Marlboro Reds.” The man placed the candy bar, he finally decided on, onto the counter.
The door ringed again and four giggling teenage girls piled in. One of the girls walked toward the restroom while the others went to pick out drinks from the cooler.
“Will that be all?” John pulled his gaze from the teenagers to see the mans hand placed on a gun.
“Well. John, is it?” John almost forgot his name in black letters that sat on the white tag pinned to his shirt.
“What. What do you want? You can have anything you want, just please do not kill me.”
The man smiled putting the pack of cigarettes and candy bar into his pocket. “Look Johnny. May I call you Johnny?”
John nodded as beads of sweat began to form on his forehead.
“Great.” The man responded. “My name is Curtis, and that lovely lady out there in car is Julie.”
John glanced outside at the gas pumps spotting the lady Curtis was referring to.
“Now it’s just by chance we happened upon you and this town. Now Julie decided to make a wager with me about if I was able to convince you that you couldn’t pick the first person that entered after me to die.” Curtis chuckled at what he said.
John wiped the streams on sweat from his head with a shaky hand. “I don’t. I don’t understand.” He barely could form a sentence as the fear began to consume his entire body.
“Relax Johnny. All you have to do is point to one of those beautiful young ladies over there picking out some refreshing drinks, and let me know which one will not make it home tonight.” Curtis leaned in closer to John. “That doesn’t sound so bad, does it Johnny?” Curtis tapped his finger on the side of the gun.
John looked over at the girls as they laughed and continued with their shopping oblivious to what was transpiring at the counter. “I don’t think I can do that sir.”
Curtis raised his hand to quiet John. He pointed the gun at him. “Please, call me Curtis. Now Johnny, here’s the deal. It’s either one of these little ladies or you. I’m a fair man. I’ll give you three minutes to decide.” Curtis whistled the song from the television show Jeopardy as he waited for an answer.
John’s heart began to beat so hard and fast, it felt as if it would burst from his chest. He looked down shaking his head. Why is this happening to me? He asked himself over and over. He felt the barrel of the gun press against his head as he looked up with tears in his eyes. “I can’t do this. I can’t pick one of them to die.” He held in the sobs as Curtis stared at him.
Lowering the gun, Curtis nodded his head. “Johnny. You are one stand up guy. I respect your decision. I’m not sure if I could make that choice if I was in your shoes.” Curtis rubbed the barrel of the gun against his right temple. “Since you’re such a stand up guy Johnny I changed my mind about this whole ordeal.”
John took a couple of deep breaths to compose himself. “What do you mean sir?” He asked, trying to keep the fear in his voice pushed down.
Curtis smiled. “I’m not going to make you choose. I’ll just have to let Julie know she has won our wager.”
With a forced smile John asked a question. “So does that mean you won’t kill me?”
Curtis raised the gun pointing it at John’s head. “No Johnny. It just means I’m going to kill all of you.”
The first shot ranged out shooting John through his left eye. The back is his head exploded sending pieces of skull and brain matter onto the shelves of liquor behind him. The girls screamed in terror as Curtis, without skipping a beat fired his gun killing the three of them. The fourth girl emerged from the restroom screaming and ran for the exit, making it outside.
Curtis placed his gun on the counter and pulled the pack of cigarettes from his pocket. He carefully tapped the box against the counter and pulled the the first one from the pack. He grabbed a lighter from the display and lit the cigarette blowing a cloud of smoke out.
“It’s been fun Johnny but I have to go.” He put the pack back in his pocket as he exited the building walking back to his car to a waiting Julie.
He climbed into the drivers side not wanting to make eye contact with his laughing companion.
“Oh hon. Don’t be mad. I told you the wager would fall in my favor.” She took her finger and gently ran it down his ear.
Curtis pulled away as if he wasn’t down pouting about losing. “I’m indeed upset about this Julie. I honestly thought the kid would make the right decision.
Julie smiled trying to keep her happiness in check. She hated for Curtis to feel bad. “Well hon. Seeing how you are so down in the dumps, I’ll have to give you your present now instead of later. Go take a look in the trunk.” She pulled down the visor and began fixing her lipstick. She could see the anxiousness on his face through the mirror.
The trunk popped open as a loud “yeehaw!” made her smile.
Curtis looked in the trunk to see the fourth girl bound and gagged with blood flowing from a wound from her head. He stroked her head as the muffled screams began to rise. “We are going to have fun tonight sweetheart. It will be time in the line of many for my Julie and I.” He slammed the trunk back down and hopped in the car. “You’re too good to me Julie.”
She leaned over and kissed him. “You and me forever hon.”
They both laughed as they drove off into the night.