Click to Subscribe
▶  More from Harm City The Man Cave Tao of Tony Rooster
A Man of Principle
Dale the Hero Clerk from The Tao of Tony Rooster

If you want to see the worst kind of gambler, go visit a 7-11 in North Las Vegas, any time after midnight.

I worked at the 7-11 on the corner of Lake Mead and Pecos, and lived just 3 blocks away from it. It was probably the roughest neighborhood this white boy had ever had the pleasure of calling home. Next door to me was the crackhouse run by a handful of enterprising young Mexican gangbangers. Everybody called it "McDonald's", since it seemed like there were over one million served. After dark there would be parties in the street, full of drinking and music, the loudest bass crack money can buy, and the festive shooting of pistoles into the air. I only saw the cops once, they rolled up and got on the loudspeaker, "Everybody disperse. Party's over. Everybody go home."

The revelers responded with taunts, "Fuck you pigs!" and "Get out of the car bitch!".

North Las Vegas' finest backed up, drove away and never returned. There were probably 50 people out in the street.

The neighborhood was entirely Mexican except for the huge subsidized apartments down the street, which were entirely black. I never had any problems, besides the occasional dindu running his mouth off. Never went past words. The Mexicans were all ambivalently respectful. I wasn't invited to very many parties, but was never bothered either.

I knew the 7-11 job would be short term. I was expected to get a sheriff's work card(any place that has slot machines requires one), and knew I'd never get approved for one.

There were slot machines and ashtrays inside. The constant fog of nicotine smoke and ding-ding-ding of the machines were ever present. The biggest payout I saw was 300$. You just can't win.

I was new to the area and didn't know how bad it really was. The old white guy Dale was a stickler for the rules. He was tall and lanky, perhaps 55, and had a cast iron head. He carded everybody. He chased away shoplifters. He gave a shit. I, on the other hand, did not.

He'd yell at these black teens, "You little niglets, get the fuck outta here! I ain't selling you no damn cigar!" He really had no patience.

I had to live 3 blocks away from this nightmare and didn't really want to piss anybody off. If an 18 year old wants beer, I'd sell him beer. If a kid looked over 15, I'd sell him tobacco. I really had no principles, I'm a little bit ashamed to admit. My self preservation instinct told me it was best to just go along, get along. 200$ a week didn't seem like very good combat pay to me.

Every night, Dale would take the cardboard out back, and every night he'd get attacked. The black teens would be waiting for him, and goddamn it, if they didn't try their best to jump him every night. They never really got the best of him, seems like he always just got scuffed up. He was scrappy.

After the second night I offered to walk out there with him. He balked at the notion. "You gotta stay here and protect the store. We can't leave it unmanned."

I offered to take the cardboard out myself. It didn't seem fair that he should take all of the beatings. He was having none of it. I tried to reason with him, "Look man, they don't have any problem with me. I'm nice to them. Besides that, I'm 35 years younger than you, and, look at me. I'm six two, 260. I could knock em all down and be back inside before they know what happened."

Dale looked at me like I was a dumb child. "It's the principle of the thing." He told me. I couldn't help but respect this old warrior. Even if I was a scofflaw.

I quit about a month later. Another month after that someone shot the place up, automatic weapon, many many shots fired from the parking lot through the big window. Whoever did it never got caught. Miraculously enough, nobody died.

Sometimes, quitting a job is the best thing you can do for yourself.

Masculine Axis: A Meditation on Manhood and Heroism

Add Comment
Tony RoosterOctober 18, 2017 11:30 AM UTC

I was 2001, maybe 2002.
PROctober 18, 2017 12:01 AM UTC

What year was this? Funny how the perps always have automatic weapons but we aren't supposed to have our semi-autos.