|E. Hathorne (leeched) wrote in repose,|
@ 2018-12-19 01:01:00
Elijah didn't deal with the customers, much. There were people for that. People who talked, like birds did, incessantly. They were birdsong chatter in the front of the station, clocked in and called out and clocked out and called out as if they expected it any different than it was ordinarily. There was nothing different. The definition of insanity, according to Einstein. Elijah didn't think he employed Einstein to cash out customers who were pumping their gas, but nothing had been different for a decade. Painted the break-room, once. That was different. But it was also fifteen years ago and Einstein would have given up by now. Einstein had cashed up and closed the entrance by now, with a call in his direction that was lost on Elijah. Probably something about going home. Not that it was self-evident that was the direction one went in on leaving work. See: Einstein.
He had been out back where the real no-hopers were empty carapaces and twisted corpses, gutted them cleanly and ruthlessly for parts. Elijah worked methodically. Always had, always would, he didn't rush. People liked to rush, if you let them. They tapped their feet, they checked their watches, they cleared their throats. The birds didn't let people on the forecourt if Elijah was out there. One too many throat clears and he slowed down. It was safe to; didn't charge by the minute. The garage charged by the work done, had a couple loaners if people needed to get going. Rushing was like saying the work wasn't important enough to enjoy, to allow it to spread into the void of the day. That it could be rushed. Elijah didn't believe in being rushed by other people, particularly not people who thought they could judge what a car needed better than he could but brought it in for him to fix.
There was oil and grease caked under his nails. Took his time in the sink in the break-room, with a nail brush, cleaned carefully until the crescents were white once again. Thought about leaving them that way, less risk. People didn't like dirty people, but Elijah liked being dirty less than people disliked dirty people and the two things didn't balance equally. Cleaned his nails, took his time. There was plenty, the girl from the store had given him time. It surprised Elijah, willingness in people. Willingness was unpredictable, it was why so many people wound up passing through the house. It couldn't be relied upon readily. Didn't expect entirely the store to be open on the dot of ten, but turned up then exactly.
Had watched from the corner of the street as the last few stragglers emptied out and the light glowed behind glass. Elijah didn't speculate on how this looked to the average onlooker. The average onlooker was competing with years of meatier, odd choices for gossip, and waiting out the emptied shop was hardly the oddest. He had a hat crammed down over his hair, and a heavy wool jacket which fell to the knuckles of his hands at the wrists. It was overly large, which was convenient and it made him a somewhat more intimidating figure lurking in street corners. He didn't have a scarf. No one was planning on grabbing him by the throat, and his hands were in his pockets. Had a habit of losing gloves frequently, too much taking them on and off again. You couldn't read a book, play a CD, strip an engine in gloves. Tried, had the destroyed gloves and the edge of frustration for an afternoon to prove it against. His hair was overgrown, and his beard was growing in thicker but it took more than he presently could summon up to visit a hairdresser. Particularly in winter. He wasn't a tall man. Narrow-framed, under the coat. It wasn't grizzly so much as unkempt.
Who knew what the girl in the store thought. He laughed, to himself, a faint gust of steam in night air. There were options, autistic might have been one of them. Elijah didn't care if she thought he was on the spectrum if it meant not glancing fingertips against someone else's in the classical section.
There was no one going in. No one going out. The store was empty and it was exactly ten. Elijah crossed the street and knocked (bare) knuckles against the frame of the door.