Last Gas

I stopped at $25.00, though the little car could have taken a wee bit more. I was only buying gas because it would be rude to sell the vehicle near empty. For a car that uses gas, the Fiesta is a wonderful thing. Forty mpg still, even after ten years and over 173,000 miles. I was getting ready to sell her to a neighbor who will give her a makeover and enjoy the fuel economy. He assured me I’ll get to see her, showing he understood how a person can bond with a car. She’s been a loyal companion, bright blue and beautiful, and I’ll miss her.

But not gas.

As I pumped, I looked forward to going electric and never dealing with the stuff again. The stink. The spills. The general griminess of it.

A guy on a motorcycle pulled up on the other side of the pumps. There were fancy leather saddlebags on his bike. He had a thick short beard and wore a cowboy hat, leather jacket, and aviator shades. When he walked into the station, his shoes made clinking sounds like spurs. I turned to look. The noisy shoes? Cut-away cowboy boots turned into a kind of slip-on mule. How he got the sound effect, I don’t know.

Nor do I know how his cowboy hat stayed on when he rode away.

At the next set of pumps, a skinny man with the kind of long white hair that you think is blond until you realize it’s nicotine stained got out of a battered, late 50s-early-60s car-truck, in the low, wide, sharp-edged style that was trendy once upon a time. The back half was pick-up truck, the front half was car—the mullet of the automotive world. It emitted a deep rumble when it pulled away, louder than the cowboy’s motorcycle.

I won’t miss gas. But I might miss gas stations.

Image: Ghost gas station in Pecos, NM.