Creative Writing: PIN



ATM (Photo credit: Modern Relics)

The rain patters lightly on the black surface outside, creating a gentle, white noise that makes fighting off sleep harder for Kyle than he would like. He sits behind the cash register in the Kwik-Stop gas station, waiting for the obviously drunken business man to make his selections from the cooler. Staggering to the counter with his blue jacket slightly off his left shoulder the man hands the skinny gas station attendant his purchase, a bottle of sports drink, and his debit card.
He does not mean to pay attention, but Kyle cannot help notice the PIN the man enters. The customer stumbles out the door and into his Mercedes and it is not until the car has disappeared into the night that the card on the counter is noticed. Kyle takes it into his fingers delicately, as if attempting to hold a poisoned needle. The numbers sit at the front of his brain.
Looking across the store, all bathed in fluorescents, he ponders the ATM in the far corner. He thinks about how much he wants a new smart phone, about a better apartment, and he thinks about asking Darlene to the movies. He thinks about his crappy little job, with its crappy little pay, and how he can make it easier for just a little bit.
He is not stupid. He would never use the ATM here in the store. He could take the bus across town in the morning, take out what he can, and toss the card into the canal. No one would ever know. He would never get caught.
Kyle can imagine the advice Steve would give him. Steve the ex convict. Big, burly Steve with the tattoos, who Kyle tries hard to convince himself that he does not admire. He would say the suit had it coming, that you have to take what you can, and then Kyle would chuckle nervously and tell him he is right. He would say Steve is right because Kyle has always played by the rules and that has landed him right here, in the Kwik-Stop, with no hope and less pride.
He grips the little, silver card in his fist for a moment and with more effort than he would have imagined pushes it into his front pocket. Kyle will get a little for himself. He will ask Darlene to the movies. He convinces himself he will not feel bad about this, that it will all work out.  He may even believe it.


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