Isaac Brock’s favorite restaurant in Oxford, Mississippi, is a BP gas station. An Indian family operates it and, along with Snickers, pork rinds and Genessee 12-packs, they sell some of the best chicken curry the Modest Mouse frontman has ever tasted. “I eat here almost every night,” Brock says, parking his rental truck out front.
Tonight there’s a clerk working whom Brock has met only a couple of times. He’s in his late 20s, sporting blond highlights and a shirt stitched with flowers — it’s the look of someone who learned about American style from 90210 reruns.
“Hey, man,” Brock greets him. “How ya doing tonight?”
“Oh, pretty bored.”
“Well, shit, man, you wanna get a beer later?”
The clerk smiles and furrows his brow.
“You should call me,” Brock says, bundling the invitation in his lisp-tinged drawl. “I can at least tell you about some good bars.”
“You know, really … ,” the clerk says sheepishly in heavily accented English. “I want to go to strips.”
“Shit, I don’t know any strip joints around here,” Brock says, frowning. “But let me find out. Here’s my cell. Call me in an hour.”
The clerk takes down Brock’s number and thanks him politely, if warily. Brock buys a pack of cigarettes and two Indian dinners, then steps out into the November cold. “I feel for that guy,” he says. He lights a cigarette and waves it at the highway overpasses that surround the BP. “Just dumped into a gas station in the middle of nowhere. No shit he’s lonely.”
I have never even eaten at that gas station (the BP across from Kroger).