Written by notthatoneeither.
TALES FROM THE 7-11
It's a Sunday evening and I'm hanging out with my fuckin' special lady friend, let's call her Kim. We had spent the whole evening watching Firefly and listening to Radiolab. You can upvote that if you want, but I promise that's not what I put it there for - that's what we were doing. She has class in the morning so she left around midnight. Like a sir, I walk her to the door. As we pass through the living room, my roommate isn't there. The TV is on, but nobody's watching it. I don't think anything of this; he's a smoker and often leaves the apartment for short periods.
My apartment building is small. It's split down the middle by a hallway. External doors open on the north and south ends of the hallway. The hallway is very small. There is, in fact, only one apartment on either side of the hallway, so it was quite uncommon to run into our hallway-neighbors, or really any of our neighbors.
I walk Kim to the door, we exchange our "goodnight"s and I return to my room. Only perhaps 45 seconds pass and I hear a terrifying inward scream. You know the kind where someone inhales instead of exhales? It doesn't sound like it came from Kim.
The prior afternoon my roommate, who we'll call Desmond had discovered a veritable treasure trove of Tales from the Crypt episodes streaming on the interwebs. I won't mention where, because if the copyright holder were to take them down over this, Desmond's wrath would surely be visited upon me. This, as a matter of course, INEXORABLY lead to a Tales from the Crypt marathon. By the following evening, when these events took place, Desmond was watching season 4. By about midnight, he was feeling malnourished and walked the half-block to the 7-11.
In the autumn, or in this case a particularly mild winter, we'll get pockets of fog about the city so Desmond didn't mind the fog on his walk. Like myself, Desmond somewhat enjoys the fog. To me, it feels like nostalgia.
Once he arrives he notices that nobody's there. "Hello" No answer. "Hello" a moment's pause.
From behind a door at the back end of the store out stepped a man who Desmond doesn't recognize and from his description I don't recognize him either. Bear in mind Desmond smokes and I've been a confirmed bachelor for neigh on the last 2 years - we feel we have a firm familiarity with the 7-11's attendants. He wasn't wearing an attendant's uniform either. It was just a white smock. "Stock boy" Desmond assumed.
The stock boy - who is too old to be called a boy by any measure, but stock man doesn't sound any better - walks around to the counter. "Can I help you?" he says to Desmond as he walks. His accent is unfamiliar. A phonology one might hear in Creole country, but not out here in the midwest.
"Yeah, I'd like to get some nachos. I have a gift card; I don't know how much is on it. Can you charge me first?" Desmond asks after him.
"Of course, let me ring you up" he answers back in a slow, lilting tone.
There is enough on the card to get nachos, so Desmond walks over to the nacho dispensary.
"Oh!" The stock boy calls him with a languid arm outstretched. "I'm sorry, but I done sold you something that we do not have, and I cannot give you." He begins walking over to Desmond. "Got no chips"
Maybe it's all the TftC episodes he's been watching, but Desmond suddenly feels very apprehensive about this man.
The man locks eyes with Desmond. "Got no cheese...." He opens up the drawers that normally contain nacho fixin's. "No chili neither. We got..." He pauses "Donuts... They're freshh." He drawls on "fresh" and the word hangs there for what seemed an eternity, but was likely only a fraction of a second longer than is usual. His mouth opened wide and into a slight smile as if to be certain to enunciate as clearly as he could.
Desmond's Crypt Keeper sense is going off like crazy. He's seen enough TftC to know that those donuts probably turn you into a zombie or incapacitate you long enough for someone to harvest your organs. This is how they get people. Donuts.
"Uhh... no thank you. How about this sandwich? It's a dollar more. How about I give you the dollar and we call it even?" Desmond asks.
"Nah... we're good."
"We're good?" Maybe he feels bad about the nachos, so he's willing to cut a deal on the sandwiches. Right?
"Yeah, we're good." He pauses "I tell you what... why don't you take a donut anyway? On the house."
His soft, smooth voice almost has Desmond convinced. But a dollar off the sandwich? And a free donut?
Maybe Desmond rejected the kindness of a stranger, or maybe he averted some grisly fate. #do# #do# Another man enters the store. It's good to see another person. At any rate, Desmond left with his thankfully pre-packaged sandwich. But as he stepped out the door he could hear what the two men said to each other.
"Could I offer you a donut, sir? It's free." He pauses "It's freshh."
"Sure, I'd love one!"
Desmond just wanted to get home, but he knew that nothing had really happened. It was foggy. It was just an attendant he hadn't seen before. There was nothing in those donuts. That dude wasn't going to turn into a zombie or have his organs harvested. He was just freaked out. So he compromised with himself - not in a full run but rather a light jog he headed back to the apartment in the fog.
Kim had forgotten her cell phone in the apartment. She wasn't able to call me, so she knocked and waited for a moment. My room is the furthest from the door, so I didn't hear anything until "GEAAHHHH!!" - an inhaled gasp of a scream from the hallway. I dashed to the front door and I stepped out into the hallway and uproarious laughter. Desmond was so worked up into a panic and wasn't expecting to see anyone, so he just flipped his lid to find Kim just standing there, in the hallway right in front of our door.