The Midnight Clowns

They say the freaks come out at night.

I adore the night.

Take the corner deli. As an institution, I freaking love them. It’s a comfort, knowing I can buy energy drinks, malt liquor, cigarettes, cheese doodles, lottery tickets, condoms and male enhancement products , all within the same four walls. No-Doz pills, twinkies, Penthouse magazines; lighters, ice cream, debauchery.

It’s trash of the soul and I love it.

Of that list, I’ve only bought energy drinks and cheese the last year, anyway. But you see them: the 40 oz Old English and the oversized 99 cent cans of Pepsi and the people who buy them. I’m genuine, I mean it, it’s a comfort, even just to see the shelves.

It’s like a counter-culture.

A roadside Gulf station, that’s fun at midnight or three or four. I prefer to people-watch at these sorts of places, at these oddball hours of the night.

7-11, that was fun for awhile. I’d order a hot dog and fill it to the point of overflowing with the chili and cheese dispensers, which are meant for the nachos, really. The cheese is funny, too. It’s like soft-serve ice cream, only bright yellow.

7-11 has got some decent fucking coffee.

My favorite of this type is actually a distant cousin: the diner. The American diner. Love it. Waffle fries, eggs at 3:30 am, coffee and a ragged turkey-necked gimp of a waitress who has inevitably mistaken your name for “honey,” and you know this because that’s what she keeps calling you in between coughs and rubbing her mascara into her left eye, smudging it. Dios mio, I love the diner. They’re all the same. Every diner is the same. Go to a diner in Ohio, and then go to a diner in New Jersey: they’re the same. If that’s not comforting, well, I don’t know what is.

I figure interstate truck-drivers experience comfort and a kind of Twilight Zone bizarre feeling. Each time must be new and strange, all at once. And, it’s the middle of the night. Strange thoughts happen when you could be dreaming, but instead, you’re not.

…which is why I’m going to try to get some sleep, tonight.

Thanks for reading.



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