Published Features // Columns // Essays
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Feature // A Pandemic Day at Circle K
Big Mike, as he's known around here, swings open the door for customers, greets them with a tobacco-fortified grin and kindly nod. This guy is big, like an ex-lineman, in his 40s, gray beard, swollen belly, black wrap-arounds. There's a pragmatism about him, a honed way of survival. His life's belongings cram a shopping cart, and it is packed, mathematical and neat, folded, arranged, fastened. A giant jug of water occupies the bottom rack. It is parked in the lot like some apocalyptic mini-coop. Like many out today, the dull color of his clothes mixes with the muted hues of dirt and pavement. It is a cool, partly overcast day in late March, and the skies are dripping. It is a beautiful world when the sun is out and it rains too. Big Mike is hardly concerned with any such beauty, and this is fact. It's not the threat of a virus either, he must find shelter from the goddamn rain.
Jason Stark ambles up as Big Mike rolls his shopping cart out of the Circle K parking lot. He is 40-ish, saguaro-skinny and windblown, and wears a gray hoodie and two trucker hats.
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