I drove into a gas station late last night, and a single pump stood alone on the concrete lot. It had no hose for bringing gas to the nozzle, and no nozzle for putting gas in my car. It was a naked pump. I went inside and asked what was the matter with that pump outside? “It has no hose,” I said. “No hose or nozzle at all.”
A short man emerged from a back room with the missing hose wrapped around his neck, like a mink scarf, or like a pet snake. He clung to it as if it were profoundly important to him. It was his only article of clothing. I needed that hose and that nozzle, and he knew it. Our gazes locked together. He saw the desperation in my eyes, and laughed wildly.
With the hose still firmly in his possession, he leapt onto the nearest candy rack. He ran along its top, shaking Twix to the ground. “Hee hee,” he said. I made a grab for his legs, intending to knock him down and remove the hose, along with its nozzle, from his possession. Instead, I stumbled into the shelf, causing it to tip and spill on top of me. When I finally dug my way out, the sinister man was waddling urgently outside, hose and nozzle in hand. I sprinted for the door, but found that he had chained it shut behind him. Gleefully, the short man unwound the hose from his neck. I watched as he attached it to the pump and stuck the nozzle in my car. The gasoline left the pump, flowed through the hose, through the nozzle, and into the fuel tank of my vehicle. When it was full, he let out a final “Hee hee!” and drove off. The doors rattled against their chains.