Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Wilson's Mobil

That Forrest Wilson had some business savvy. His gas station was right across the street from the high school parking lot and a good 20 to 25 second, downhill glide on the Schwinn Typhoon from my house.
He had a tow-truck too and often hauled grizzly, car crash remnants to the back of his station. On Sundays, when no one was around, we'd sneak back there and look for blood on car seats.

"Forrey" had it all; 25 cent Coke machines; candy bars for a nickel; pop-sickles and ice cream sandwiches in that big, trunk like cooler with the glass door on top. And then, in a shrewd move to appeal to the students revolting against hot lunch, he brought in Stewart frozen sandwiches, with that little Stewart sandwich sized oven with a Stewart 5 minute timer. On the Stewart display board that sat above the oven were the choices, prices and suggested cook times for the food-like items.
My favorite was the Chuckwagon. It was the biggest and the baddest and therefore, required the full 5 minutes on the dial. And what did you do during that 5 minutes? Well, you bought other stuff to eat.

When I ran out of lawn mowing scratch and unable to locate my mom's coin purse, we (and I say we because I did not act alone and I WILL NOT rat-out my friends) turned to petty crime.
Just outside the restrooms and underneath a few tall pine trees at the filling station, was a small newspaper rack with a coin box. Whether there was 2 or 3 or 4 of us, we were always loitering around the place anyway, whether we were filling our bike tires or just stopping in for a pop. So it was no big deal to be hovering around the Coke machine outdoors. Only now we were also acting as lookouts for Johnny Law or Forrest himself while one of us turned the newspaper rack on end and shook the shit out of it till all the coins fell out.

I'd never seen so much loot. And where do you think we spent it? It's not like Forrey lost money. We just moved it around a little, like from one account to another. OK, so maybe the newspaper lost money, but we didn't know them.

That Forrey Wilson, he was a rough and ready old guy. His gas station was full service so he was always under the hood, at the till or on a wrecker call. They had those rubber ropes that rang a bell in the garage whenever somebody ran over one in front of the pumps. He'd quickly trot out while wiping the grime from his hands on the red rag he kept in the back pocket of his blue work pants. He had old sailor tats on his arms you only saw in the summer when he rolled up his sleeves. And he always sat straight up, stiff as a board when he'd ride that dirty, old Harley into work. There was a mechanic named Link there for a while. And one by the name of George. George was a high school drop-out, but the girls thought he was cute...and kind of dangerous.
And then there was Forrest Junior, who looked just like his dad, minus the glasses.
I don't think they liked us much, us neighborhood hooligans. But I think they must have liked our money.

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