So, I am currently working in a gas station/convenience store in the middle of nowhere, WA.
In WA, the law states that we CANNOT sell alcohol between the hours of 2:00 AM and 6:00 AM. This does not, in any way, however, discourage people from trying to buy it.
I have a regular. His name is....X. X comes in EVERY DAY, just after 6 AM (and by that I mean 6:01), to buy his four 24 oz cans of Steel Reserve 211. (And the closing clerks tell me he's in around 4:00 PM every day for another 4 cans, not to mention the other 4 cans each he gets around 6:00 AM and 4:00 PM at the gas station down the street - that's right - we talk!)
Now, X is not a young man. In fact, if he is a day under 70, I would be surprised, alcoholic aging notwithstanding. He should know better.
But every now and then, when he "can't sleep", he'll show up at 5:30 or 5:45, and pretend that he doesn't know what time it is, or that he can't get his nectar of the Gods yet.
Now, X is a very nice, polite man. He calls me "sweetie", because I'm not allowed to tell him how much I hate that condescending shit. But he means well, so I cut him some slack. (By which I mean, I don't tell him to knock it off.)
When I first started this gig, he would come in and look nice, for the area. I mean, jeans, not new but not too old, and a plaid shirt unbuttoned over a wifebeater. Pretty standard attire for this far out in cow country. Hair combed, smelled O.K. for a working man - a little sweaty, but fresh, not rank.
Fast forward four years, and he comes in reeking of old catbox, last night's beer, three day old musk, and stale cigarette smoke, in what looks like his PJs, which are stained with I don't want to know what. His eyes are bloodshot, and his breath stinks from all the way across the counter.
He's still nice and polite, though....and he did once give me a ride home when my car broke down...so I pretend not to notice his decline. I try to treat him as I always have - like a good, regular customer in a flyspeck town.
BUT....I won't break the law for him. And he just can't understand it.
For four years, we've been having the same discussion when he "can't sleep" and shows up before 6:00 AM. FOUR YEARS. And he still thinks I might break the law for him "just this once".
"Who's gonna know?!?" he inquires.
I will, Buddy. I will.