Thursday, 22 August 2013

The Gas Price Blues

Help us welcome guest author Patrick Royal.

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It's Sunday night. I just picked up grub for dinner and passed by the gas station. The price sign read $3.52 a gallon. I passed it and headed to the next one just down the road from it, which is usually lower. When I get there, the price sign reads $3.45. Quickly, I debate whether to stop right then or get it on my way to work in the morning. I procrastinated and decided to wait until morning.

In the morning, I get up, get dressed, pack my lunch, grab my laptop, and head out the door. I started the engine, pulled it into gear, and off I went. On my way through my neighborhood, I glanced at the gas gauge a few times. Stopping at the stop sign at the end of the neighborhood, I turned right and headed straight. When I got to the gas station, the price was still the same, $3.45 a gallon. In a split-second, I ended up procrastinating again, passing up the pumps, just heading into work.

The work day ended, and I'm on my way home. Glancing at the gas gauge, I realize that I'm on my way to running out. A few feet from the gas station, my engine shuts off, and I steer my van into the lot and up to a gas pump. Shew…made it. I smiled and told the attendant that I just ran out of gas a few feet from station but managed to coast to the pump. He chuckled. I hand him a twenty dollar bill and sat back waiting for him to finish pumping it.

I'm pretty happy with myself at this point. As I wait on the gas attendant, I look over at the digital numbers on the pump and the price reads $3.53 a gallon. Not only was the gas station's price higher from the night before, it's a cent higher than the first station I checked.

That's just my luck. Why does the gas companies have to play with the prices so much? Can't they leave it at one price and be happy with it? Why's it I can get gas for a certain price, and the next day it's lower? What's the reason for the hike or drop in prices from one day to the next? I think the oil companies like pissing us off. Why? Because they know we'll buy it because we need it.

Author Patrick Royal

Patrick Royal is a family man. Born in Virginia, raised in Northwest Indiana, he and his wife Lynette have resided in Western Kentucky for ten years. An avid reader of Stephen King. He's inspired to use the gift God gave him to chill his readers. He's also the author of Novels "Jacob's Closet," Sleep Stalker, and Mind Shadows: Book 1: Shattered.


Shattered by Patrick Royal
The only thing that multi-published, award winning horror author, Tom Elliot, wanted was to move to the country for a change of scenery and relaxation, to a quiet part of southern Illinois. It seemed he'd picked out a wonderful spot, miles away from the closest neighbor and even further away from civilization.

Tom couldn't write to save his soul. Weird thoughts trampled through his head and left him wondering if he'd made a mistake moving from Chicago. Could it have been that he ripped himself from his element, like his best friend, Michael Gully, had predicted? That he couldn't answer yet.

Words came and flowed like wildfire, but at what price? Tom's imagination was getting the best of him and running rampant. The very characters that he created tormented him, driving him mad where he couldn't distinguish fiction from reality.


A moan drifted from the next room and teased Tom's ear. Stopping to listen, he struggled to figure out what he'd heard. He stepped slowly into the living room. A woman stood with her back toward him.

His heart thudded fast.

The woman moaned. Her long-fitted skirt hugged her hips, and a pleated white shirt. On the floor by her feet lay droplets of blood.

Tom peeped around the woman's body and caught a glance of her face. "Lady, who are you? Why are you in my house?" he asked and widened his eyes.

Tom still faced the woman's back, and she wept a bit harder. "You should know why I'm here," she said in a soft but shaky voice. She turned around, faced him, and quickly threw her arms out in front of her. Blood trickled and dripped onto the floor from deep slits across both wrists. In her hand she held a yellow hair ribbon.

Tom's jaw dropped open and he stumbled back, widening his view. "Oh my God. Wha…?"

The woman stepped closer to him and held her arms out with her wounds still dripping blood. Her body projected forward, as if traveling in flash.

"You did this! You killed my daughter, and you made me what you see." She shoved her bloody wrists toward Tom.

"No, no. You've made a mistake," Tom screamed and backed away from her. He clung to the wall with his legs weakening and his hands trembling.

The woman stood and laughed hysterically.

Tom squeezed his eyes shut. "You're not real. You're not real," he screamed. Opening his eyes, the woman had disappeared, the room once again silent. Tom sank to his knees, sat on the floor, and leaned against the wall with a blank stare.

Not long after the sun rose high in the sky, Tom's nerves finally calmed. He called Michael, and it ended similar to the other times he called him for some well needed answers. His friend proved unable to offer any help. Hanging up, Tom sat at his desk more confused than ever. Am I losing my mind like Michael fears? He chuckled over his friend's reaction when he told him that he planned to take a small break from writing. He had to admit that it even sounded strange to hear himself say it. Maybe, he was losing it. He had never really been scared of anything. Michael was the one that had always been scared and had nightmares over things that bothered him. What bothered him now was that he loved where he lived, but he hated the idea of being so far away from Michael. He had grown used to driving over to his house and discussing life's little problems, and vice versa.

Buy Mind Shadows: Book 1: Shattered


S. R. Howen said...

I hated that part of working at a gas station. We didn't have a digital sign and had to use a pole with a suction cup on the end to lift these giant numbers up onto the sign, where 9 times out of 10, they became rectangle frisbees trying to slice off body parts on the way down. Gas prices don't make sense!

Patrick Royal said...

I agree, Shawn. LOL

Patrick Royal said...

Thanks for hosting me!

Anthology Authors said...

Last night, Charlie and I went out to the movies. The lowest gas prices were $3.63. On the way back, the same gas station had the lowest price at $3.65. o.O What's with that? It changed in two hours time?

Anthology Authors said...

Our pleasure, Patrick. :)


Jaime Samms said...

Our pleasure having you over, Patrick ;) Also, this is why we don't even own a car. We take the bus everywhere, or walk. Less convenient, but cheaper.