I walked into the all-night store, past greeting cards. It took all the will power I had to avoid reading them. The slightest deviation could prove terminal to my sock quest. Yet, secure in my conquest of temptation over Hallmark, something entirely different caught my attention.
The store like several others featured an automated pony; this one was white. It took just one penny for a lower-middle class kid to feel like a millionaire. But this was not the case.
An older man, looking at least in his seventies, placed a penny in the coin receptacle. Having no shame he then jumped on it. I had trouble believing it at first for not only did he ride; he rode with gusto. He held the reigns, waving his arms wildly and screaming. None of the employees took notice.
“He does this every week,” one said. “I think he regrets not moving west.”
“That isn’t it at all,” another replied. “His wife left him for a rhinestone cowboy.”
“That’s stupid!” the first retorted.
“You’re stupid!” interjected the second.
I didn’t stay to hear the rest of the argument. Between them and the man on the pony yehawing at the top of his lungs I was getting a headache. Also, a pair of Hanes comfort soles awaited me in their respective aisle.
After finding the right size and value I headed back. The old man was dismounting the pony. Curiosity getting the better of me I asked why he returned every week.
“I just like to ride,” he said, putting on a cowboy hat with the price tag attached. He then walked out the door whistling an old west tune into the moonlight. I never saw him again nor did the employees.