The gas station had one pump, the old kind with a mechanical dial. Their sign was swinging back and forth, just a little. Wasn’t much of a breeze. And it was crooked, hanging sideways by a single eye bolt, the other one rusted off. The Sinclair green dinosaur had long since been bleached white. 
When I stepped out of the Impala, its door kerrunked. All I heard was the ker-runk and nothing else. 
I wished I'd gassed up in Albuquerque but it was my own damn fault. At some point I must have gotten off the highway, detoured, and right about the time I realized there were no more cars as far as the horizon in either direction, I looked down at my gas gauge sitting inside the red hash mark.
I hadn’t seen the man sitting on the milk crate so when he stood up, I jumped. He wore an old Sinclair filling station hat, his face leather. He lifted a squeegee from the plastic reservoir of blue liquid on the side of the pump and shook it once before dragging it across the windshield. He dragged it again and again, moving from top to bottom.
What are you doing?
Winders. I was going to check your oil then decided to do the winder first. We’re full service here so you might as well get your money’s worth. Included with gas. You go in and have a slice of pie. There’s fresh apple.
The man had no teeth. He slurped when he spoke. And he was missing an eye. Looked like a sink hole on that side of his face.
When I walked though the door, a man was laying on the counter, two people bending over him: A large man in a white apron splattered in blood, a waitress in a red checkered dress also spattered. Both had their hands inside the man’s belly. And they were arguing.
I stood as still as I could.
“No one going to tell me how to run my burger joint,” the man said.
“It aint a burger joint; it’s a goddamn diner, shit for brains.”
“Do you see diner on my sign? Look at it. B-U-R-G-E-R.”
She looked out the window and did a double take because I was standing in the doorway.
“OK. You’re right. It does say burger. One point for you, Merle.” She spoke a little slower. The man in the apron noticed me too at that point.
“Tilda, you have a customer.”
“Yes, I saw the man, Merle.”
The waitress took her hands out of the man’s belly and wiped them on her apron, making it bloodier. 
“You can have a seat in the booth by the window, mister. The counter is closed.”
“Mister, our specialty is burgers. I also deep fry thinly sliced Idahos then, of course, I waffle them. You might say the waffle fries are the house spec-iality; that and my melted Kraft/Hellman’s entourage. I call it my entourage. Most places don’t do mandatory mayo. We do mandatory mayo.” 
He pulled his hands out of the man’s belly as well. The man looked dead. Pale, grey, green in places.
I didn’t see any customers and couldn’t imagine there being any. The air smelled heavy, like grease and blood.
The waitress glanced over her shoulder into the kitchen then said again,
Mister have a seat in the booth by the window. I'll bring you over a new place setting.
I didn’t see a burger sign, I said. I didn’t know what to say.
The waitress said, It’s a beautiful sign you made, Lester. I will say that – and the Kraft angle struck a motherhumpin’ bullseye.
Yes, I know, Tilda. Thank you.
Tilda was being nice to Merle since she noticed me. When I walked in she had been giving him shit. 
I used the Sherman Williams I got in Kerky and did not use it sparingly.
There were older signsI had seen: Pie quarter mile ahead. Casino straight ahead. 
Three old dusty slot machines rest against the wall each with a quarter inch of silt
I see your slots but . . . the man outside said there was pie. I don't know why I said what I did. I felt I had to keep talking.
Are you a pie man?
I’m just saying I don’t see pie. I like pie.
You might not see something but if you ask, you’d be surprised.
They had a dead man on the counter. I was trying to be conversant.
Usually Diner's keep their pie on the counter. 
I didn’t know what to say. I turned and walked back out the door.
The hood was up and the old man was wiping his hands with a rag. 
I need to get going, I told him.
Haven’t even gassed her. I needed to clean and gap your sparks. You want me to adjust the idle on that Holley while I’m at it?
I didn’t think I had a Holley carburetor, I said. I was telling the truth. I actually didn’t think I had. 
The man didn’t appear to hear. My spark plugs were lined up on top of the battery and he was cleaning each by hand.
I heard creaking.
The man, Merle, was standing in the door way, his apron bright red in the sunlight. He waved me over.
You must have forgot to pay the check. The old man said.
I looked around. I hadn't noticed the odor before, like burned hair. I swatted a fly- there were plenty of them. And I also hadn’t noticed the clothesline with the entrails hanging off of it, covered in flies, like moving black stockings.
We were roasting mutton earlier, the old man said. But I believe they got everything tidied up inside. Or did they. Was it tidy inside?
Merle called out: Tilda poured you a nice cup of coffee. It’s sitting on the booth by the window. She got you a knife and fork and as they say in England, a serviette. Halprin looks to be cleaning and gapping your plugs. You an egg man? I pegged you for a three egg omlette man soon as you walked through the door. I’m usually not wrong, my first impressions. Butter patty on each slice of Wonder toast, how’s that sound?
He was right. I was an omelette man, an egg man. I walked back inside. I didn’t know what else to do.
Yeah I’m an egg man. You have cheese?
We got goddamn Kraft.
The man opened the door for me. Then closed and locked it. I knew that wasn't good.
You should have filled up in Kerky mister and miss the jag that took you out here. See we only count on one or two people a month being as dumb as you. Two in one day is unprecedented. That little jag out of town you took? You must have seen our sign for pie and paid more attention to it than your department of highways map.
When the knife went into my belly, I looked down and saw it sticking out. My voice, the voice that’s talking to you now, stopped and all I heard was, 
“Mutton! We got ourselves some roast mutton!”
My intestines spilled out onto the burger joint’s floor. I wasn’t getting the eggs they promised me.

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