Propane Tanks

Posted by DesertFox on Oct. 7, 2013, 8:01 p.m.

The propane tank gleamed in the setting sun, light bouncing off the white-painted encasement.

He wasn't exactly proud of his work; at best he could describe the feeling as a friendly but distant relative from which you could see the family resemblance. In short, it was a feeling that could in a pinch step up to do the job while the real emotion went and took a smoking break. However, this was enough for him, as the work was good, provided for his family, and all in all had made his life content. He simply didn't have anything better to do, and he felt he might as well do a good job while he was at it.

The light didn't reflect in any sort of special way, either. It was just white paint. Meticulously applied, allowed to dry and cure, a smattering of dust embedded on the top where it had drifted while the pigment was still wet. Not all of the tank was white - the nozzle was bare brass, and the little valve twist-handle was of course painted universal red. There were a few scuff marks too. Unavoidable, but he did his best to maintain them. He didn't care about this propane tank in particular; to him it was like any one of dozens, dozens that he had just finished putting into storage.

He stood at the doors, staring at the empty tank in the middle of the floor. It had always bothered him that he didn't have a better term for it. 'Handle'. It was more of a knob, really. As far as he was concerned, handles were more like levers. Door handles, bicycle handlebars, the grip of a wrench - even his coffee mug had a handle. Sure it was curved and attached at both ends, but he knew that when he picked up his morning coffee, he technically used the handle as a lever. For him, knobs were not handles, and it was a very important distinction.

He sighed. Lying to himself, distracting himself didn't accomplish anything. He knew that. Of course he did. If it weren't for recent events, he'd be feeling different. He did love his job, he was proud of his work. But events weren't different - they were exactly as they were, and that was that. This tank was special, if only because it was the last - the last tank of the night, to be put away before locking everything up. It was special, not because of any intrinsic value, but because of the value that it gave to him. As long as that tank sat on the floor, misplaced and daring someone, anyone to trip over it, then his job was not done, and everything was fine. Lies are tricky like that, especially when you tell them to yourself - that is when they are the most believable.

He sighed once more, turned, and closed the doors. He would take his victory where he could; the lone propane tank stood, still on the floor, a lone sentinel defying the emptiness. A job, not unfinished, but instead not ended. The padlock clicked shut with a well-practiced motion of his hands. He'd had more than thirteen years of experience with that gesture, thirteen years of locking up as the sun fell. As he walked away, behind his back, a bit of dust drifted down onto the tank - knocked into the air by a draft of settling air. There would not be anyone to clean it off in the morning, nor would there ever need to be. Tonight, like any other night, Strickland Propane closed, but afterwards, it would not be opened again.

He would always be, a Propane and Propane Accessories Salesman.

Comments

JuurianChi 10 years, 8 months ago

panzercretin 10 years, 8 months ago

The mundanity of the story is half of what makes it so heart-wrenching. Holy shit.

aeron 10 years, 8 months ago

Quote:
He would always be, a Propane and Propane Accessories Salesman.

Actually, I hear he took up pokemon training:

Thanks Jeremy xD

LAR Games 10 years, 8 months ago

@Aeron

That was one of the funniest things I've ever seen.

JuurianChi 10 years, 8 months ago

Quote:
That was one of the funniest things I've ever seen.

You must not get out much, eh?

DesertFox 10 years, 8 months ago

aeron - what @_@

LAR Games 10 years, 8 months ago

Quote:
You must not get out much, eh?
I take it you didn't think it was funny?

Quietus 10 years, 8 months ago

Quote:
Quote:
That was one of the funniest things I've ever seen.
You must not get out much, eh?
this comment has been flagged for being too hipster

JoshDreamland 10 years, 8 months ago

I hate that show so much. Sorry.

Is that the joke?

Because that show is just so boring, I could never watch it for five minutes at a time. I had no idea he had anything to do with propane.

Acid 10 years, 8 months ago

Josh be hatin.