Convenience Store Maniac: an Ode

It’s only natural to mourn the things you loved and are no longer with you, whether it be a person, a pet, a childhood house, etc.

Convenience Store Maniac was a semi-autobiographical portrayal of a man working at an S-Mart gas station and convenience store too seriously. who only lives for his job. One day he snaps, believing that commerce is a religion, and he is the but a humble minister. This means an inquisition of sorts with his regular customers, some of whom really piss him off. And then he starts killing people. It was clever and a little over-the-top, and that’s exactly what we were going for.

I remember when Shane first conceived of it, in depraved journals he wrote in during his overnight shift at the convenience store he’d been shipwrecked in. I read a few of the entries, and what I saw was a rambling, incoherent, violent mess, and I told him, “I don’t know what this is, I want in.” I loved what I saw, and together we breathed life into Leonard, playing to each other’s strengths, arguing over the use of a single word, as well as brainstorming our way around corners we’d painted ourselves into. We named all of the regular customers after classic country-western performers (except for the teenage assholes, who were Kurt, Chris, and Dave). Even though the names were never said aloud, they helped shape the personalities of people who got maybe one line in the whole movie. We manufactured and fine-tuned chaos. We wrote the first act, at the end of which Leonard takes his first victim, and then I got married, and my asshole cat broke my hard drive, and the first part of Convenience Store Maniac is lost forever.

What isn’t lost forever is the memory of the long weekends I spent in his house on Bear Town Road twenty years ago, getting baked and joining forces with my best friend to create something great. We haven’t talked about it in decades, and if we put our minds to it, we could bring it back to life. On the other hand, there’s nothing I could type that will live up to the first fifty pages that lives in my memory.


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