He watched them begin construction. When the tanks came, he knew it was another gas station.

Mac was very democratic about dispersing his fuel purchases; every pumping station within the city limits had seen him visit. New stations were a cause of celebration. He remembered each inaugural visit, each promo giveaway.

This station had some unusual features as they built it, though. He kept waiting for the convenience grocery to go with it. True, some places just had a booth for the cashier to sit in, with chips and cigarettes, and that was about all. But this place didn't have anything but pumps and a canopy.

And they opened it that way.

Turns out, only credit card purchases were accepted. "Any time day or night, any day of the year." But no cashier, no live person. And no go for anybody who only had crumpled bills and change stuffed in his pockets. No cash possible.

He watched as cars went in and out in no time at all. Zip, zip, pull the handle, rip the tag of paper when it's over. Some people in a hurry just left the receipts hanging.

Mac's exclusion marked the closing of a gigantic door that he hadn't even known was there.