Anchored behind a counter at an all-night convenience store is an all-night convenience store clerk, ear bent in the direction of one small town blowhard after another. Now praise the lowly clerk who is prey to all the grown men who believe they are supermen in a world of mere men, mythic warriors armed with story after story of their fabled superiorities. Blowhards and braggarts. The reason DeKalb County, Illinois wants to become the windmill capital of the world is due to our abundance of wind.
Irv, the "whiteman's nightmare," is a bigshot in the Mexican community, involved in assimilating new people into the new Mexican neighborhoods that they're "taking over," as he puts it. "Make no mistake. We are taking over. You don't believe white flight? Look what's happening. And it's great. uHA! AK!" Irv has an infectious disease. "From my mother's nursing home, which I'm suing, purple splotches up my arm, big lump the size of a fist on my neck--e-HUH! UH! They give me the wrong medicine at the hospital, went from a 1 to a 4 on a scale of 6 with 6 being you're a dead man, so I'm suing the hospital too." When factory workers on break come into the store, Irv knows them all. He used to be a janitor there, now he's suing the bastards. A customer wants to know why he can't buy a lottery ticket at night, and Irv is all over it: "It is eelegal to close the lottery down, you can never close down the lottery, it's unconstitutional, and I can sue you for that!"
Seth Thatch introduces himself and somehow manages to work into the first ten seconds of conversation the fact that he plays 22 instruments. His story requires three successive nights to tell; parts of it are told in song. Ax in hand he obliges easily, and when the clerk tends to business, he sings to the parkers. As the nights go by he tells other stories that bring sour tears and gasping sobs and questioning looks from customers. One story brings screams at an invisible girlfriend in an empty parking lot long past midnight. Seth disappears from a couch on the third day and is thought to have returned home to Indiana.
The rule of three says that if you have two examples, you must have three, but there are hundreds, and each a potential lawsuit. And the clerk has to get to work.