A Quarter For Every Year

Sampson put his four quarters into the air machine slot and reflected upon the date of each coin as he popped them in. Memories from each year began to flash through his mind like a microfiche in a dusty library.

Blurred pictures and experiences. Some cancerous, some benign. The coins made their way from slot to slide and to what is assumed to be a pile of quarters in the belly of the machine, with a sensor keeping track of how many quarters were inserted. One dollar will get you four minutes of compressed air. Better take those valve-caps off first...

Click, Slide, Clang.
Click, Slide, Clang.
Click, Slide, Clang.
Click, Slide, Clang.

And with a few knocks and a sputter, the whirring vibration of the air machine sprang to life like a man jolted from a trance.

Thirty-two pounds in each Good Year brand tire.

"It has not been a good year..." he muttered to no one in particular but the lug-nuts and pitted rims of his 1992 Chevrolet G-10 short-box van.