Validation at Fast Phil's (Yeah Yeah Yeah)
By ice rivers
As already confessed, I have a predilection towards singing the words "wild cherry cola" over and over in my brain.
When I mentioned this to my wife, she said "you're out of your mind".
I thought for awhile that I might be.
I am an upstate New Yorker with a lifelong habit of stopping at corner stores which have now become convenience stores. I also like to gamble. Convenience stores now sell scratch off lottery tickets, the profits of which go towards "education"
I was a teacher.
How convenient. Three birds with one stone.
Four, if you count singing wild cherry cola in my mind whenever I go into a convenient convenience and start scratching.
Recently, we left New York and moved to North Carolina.
Among the treasures I left behind in New York was my favorite convenience store which I would visit every other day to scratch and sing. I hated leaving that store because it owed me at least a hundred dollars.
All change includes loss and all loss requires mourning.
For the first week or so in North Carolina I felt overwhelmed, incapable, alienated, culture shocked and marginalized. I wasn't convinced that we had made the right move and my Xanax had run out.
I'm a bad driver so I spent the first couple of weeks homebound and agaraphobic. While shotgunning, I found a potential convenience store within a mile and a half but it involved a complicated series of turns all of them made more complex by the heavy traffic in the Charlotte area.
Perhaps I was out of my mind.
One day while my wife was out driving around, she located a convenience store within a mile and without a complicated series of turns. She provided me with directions she felt I could understand. "turn left...go straight."
I followed the direction to a T and found myself at a Shell convenience store called Fast Phil's. I liked it. I started singing "wild cherry cola". Sure enough they sold scratch offs as well as 79 cent jazz cigars. The display of scratch offs, however was a little off putting. The display didn't show the game itself, only a title card for the game which is unlike the displays back home. I had no idea what game to play until I found a game called "Wild Cherry Doubler".
I plunked down 2 bucks.
Turns out Wild Cherry Doubler is a matching game.
The rules of WCD are if you reveal 3 like symbols in one scratch, you win prize shown for that scratch (or as they call it spin). I scratched off the top row and got three coins...I scratched off the winning amount...2 bucks.
Well, I wasn't gonna lose anything. I scratched off the next row three bananas and this time the prize was also 2ucks so I won. I continued to scratch and continued to win. 10 spins 10 wins.
I realized I was in the right place at the right time. In order to be here at this time, all of the decisions in my life must have been right including my education, my career, my marriage, the move from New York to North Carolina...and singing wild cherry cola.
I wasn't out of my mind.
I'm not out of my mind.
I didn't bother cashing the scratch off.
I knew that I'd take it to my beautiful new home, show it to my relieved wife, put it im my top drawer and eventually take a picture of it and write the story of the moment that I first felt at home.
This is it.
Wild Cherry Doubler
Wild Cherry Cola