I walk into the gas station on the corner of 25th and College, its walls and tiles a dingy white, perhaps stained by the the cigarettes whose stale smoke I can still smell clinging to every orifice. I look at the girl in front of me in line, and am slightly sickened but somehow not surprised to see that she is sucking on a baby’s pacifier. She’s at least 25 years old. Her hair is cropped close to her head, her features flaccid and unemotional, although I can feel her staring at me, perhaps to see my reaction to her oral fixation. She and the man she’s with, a slight fellow maybe half her size with layers of masking tape wrapped around the arms of his plastic glasses frames, purchase six boxes of black and milds, then saunter away behind me somewhere to my left. They don’t leave. I step up to the counter, my twenty dollar bill already out. “Boy or girl?” the boy behind the counter asks me, his accent ambiguous. I notice the smell of weed at the same time I look into his red rimmed eyes and see his lazy slur of a smile. Surprised by his question, in a way that only a first time mother should be at 35 weeks, I involuntarily put my hands to my stomach before answering. “Girl,” I say. “Pretty soon too.” He smiles, nods barely discernably. I feel awkward, and would like to make conversation if only to return the friendly gesture. Instead, “I’m on pump 7,” I say, extending my money toward him. “How much?” he asks. “Twenty,” I answer, then “Have a nice day,” after he nods once again and takes my money. After I leave the building and fuel my car, still feeling vaguely disconcerted, the cigarillo purchasers finally exit the gas station and begin walking across the parking lot. I have a brief, hysterical vision of them taking me hostage or threatening to steal my baby, and wonder what I would do. First I figure I can take them, then try to pretend that I didn’t just think that, but still. In the greenish twilight of this woebegone gas station, it seems somehow that anything is possible.