The Hunger

Hank approached the front door of Sid’s Convenience Store and pushed, as the sticker on the glass instructed. The door didn’t move. The man stepped back, confused, and wiped his brow in frustration. A voice came from behind him.

“Store ain’t open yet.”

Hank quickly turned to face the source. A young boy, maybe seventeen years old, stood looking back at him. The boy had his hands on hips and a cigarette hung from the corner of his mouth. He wore a collared polo shirt with a logo that matched that of the convenience store.

“You Sid?”

“Name’s Steven,” said the boy pointed to the nametag pinned to the breast of his shirt opposite the store’s logo.

“Open the door, Steven.”

“Store don’t open til ten.”

“It’s two minutes to ten,” said Hank, looking at his watch.

“And the store ain’t open.”

Hank paced back in forth while Steven took his time sucking the cigarette down to the filter. Flicking the butt, the boy pulled out his key ring, jingled around for the right one and opened the door.

Hank slowly walked up and down the aisles of the store.  He touched the handle of the gun tucked into the waist of his pants. He was just giving Steven time to get settled behind the cash register. As Steven turned on the radio to a country station, Hank knew that it was time to make his move.

Hank casually walked toward the register, removing the gun from his pants and hiding it behind him. Steven looked up from fiddling with his cell phone to face the man.

“You need some smokes?”

“No.”

“Whatcha need? You didn’t bring anything up here.”

Hank lifted the gun, pointing it at Steven.

“Give me all your Moon Pies.”

“Moon Pies?”

“Yeah, Moon Pies. You gotta problem with me wanting the Moon Pies?”

“Not really,” started Steven. “Never seen a man rob a store for Moon Pies. Maybe you’re the one with the problem.”

“Shut up and get the pies, Kid.”

Casually and in no hurry at all, Steven climbed down from the stool and walked down aisle two where the snack foods were kept. The whole time, he glared at Hank who stood his ground, following him around the store with the barrel of the gun.

“I got three boxes,” said the kid from aisle two.

“Only three?”

“That’s what I said.”

“You got anymore in the back?”

“Maybe.”

“Maybe?”

“Yeah, maybe.”

“Well if I had a gun on me,” Hank began. “I think I’d be going and looking.”

From the front of the store Hank watched Steven disappear into the stock room. After the door swung shut Hank went and collected the three boxes of Moon Pies from aisle two, stacking them neatly on the counter.

“How’s it looking back there, boy?” called Hank from his position at the cash register. He gave a pause for Steven to answer, but none came.

“Don’t make me come back there with this cannon.”

Silence.

“You’re gonna be regrettin’ this,” mumbled Hank as he made his way toward the stock room.

The back room was crowded with brown boxes, but Steven was nowhere to be seen. Another door further in the back, leading out into the alley hung wide open, slowly swinging in the breeze.

As he walked back to the cash register, Hank sighed. He grabbed his three boxes of Moon Pies and headed out the front door, tucking the gun back in its hiding place. Next time, he’d call ahead.

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