The letters had blown off the Stop-n-Shop sign and the weed-choked parking lot was empty, but it was the only gas station for miles. Transman pulled up next to the pump, and he and Son 2 went into the dingy little convenience store.
“Welcome to the Stop-n-Shop! I’m Queen!” the tiny woman behind the counter said as Transman and Son 2 stepped across the threshold. “Lookin’ good, baby!”
Transman was confused because Queen was primping her hair, but looking at him, so he said, “Thanks.”
“Baby, you gonna play the lottery?” Queen asked. Her false eyelashes fluttered behind the rhinestone encrusted glasses perched on her nose.
“No, thanks,” Transman said. “We’re just getting gas and ice cream.”
“Ice cream will give you all the gas you need,” Queen said and laughed. When she threw her head back, her earrings glinted like miniature chandeliers.
Queen took a deep breath and put her hands on the counter to steady herself. “Oh, mercy!” she whispered as the last giggle died away.
Queen tapped a long pearlescent pink fingernail on the machine next to the cash register.
“If you’re not gonna play the lottery, I’m gonna close up the machine. You sure you don’t want a scratch-off ticket or anything?”
“No, thanks,” Transman said and fished Son 2 out of the ice cream cooler. The lad was clinging to a Good Humor King Cone.
Transman and Son 2 went up to the counter and laid out their purchases for Queen to ring up.
As she was punching in the numbers, a man entered the store.
“Queen!” he bellowed, “How you doin’?”
“King!” she said. “How’s my King?”
“Doing good, Queen, doing good.”
“You gonna play the lottery, King? I’m about to close it down.”
King had gone over to the beer cooler and didn’t hear her.
“King! You playing the lottery today?!”
“Not today, Queen. Maybe Friday,” King said, still scanning the beer cooler’s offerings.
Queen put the ice cream and bottles of water in a bag and smiled at Transman and son.
“There you go, my princes!” she said as she handed over the bag.
“Thank you; have a good one,” Transman said and led Son 2 toward the door.
“Goodbye, Little Prince!” Queen said.
Son 2 blushed to his hairline and squeaked out a goodbye.
“You be good, Little Prince. Don’t forget to come back and see Queen.”
We only spent five minutes in Queen’s presence, but she will rule our hearts forever.