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Syphon Theory
by Zach Smith

Somewhere between the United States and the United Kingdom a man looked for his car in a parking lot. He found a man crouched on the asphalt with a hose in his mouth. The car he was crouched next to had the fuel tank opened, jimmied by some nefarious method not know. The other end of the hose was stuck down through the open nozzle and into the fuel tank.

“What the hell are you doing?”

“I'm syphoning out this jack ass’ gas,” said the crouching man, with a mischievous laugh.

“That’s my car.”


The crouching man looked shocked and scared.

Neither man spoke for a moment.

“Did you just swallow the gas?”

“The what?”

The man tapped his finger next to the opened gas door.

Oh, that, yeah we call that ‘Petrol’ where I come from.”

“You just called it gas a minute ago.”

“Shut up!”

“Hey now.”

“Wait a minute, I just swallowed gas.”

“Yeah, I thought you did.”

“Quick I need chips.”


“Yes, potatoes, that’s what you’re supposed to eat when you swallow gas.”


“How would I know?”

“Well you’re in luck, I got a bag in my car, hope you don’t mind Sour Cream & Onion.”

“No no, not crisps, chips, it’s… oh how you say… French Fries.”

“French Fries?”

“Yes, there’s a chip shop right down the street. You need to take me.”

“Now wait a minute.”

“There’s no time.”

The man closed his gas door, opened his car door and started his car. The other man got up from the asphalt, opened the passenger door and got into the car, stinking of fumes.

While the man pulled out of the parking lot his passenger pulled out a pack of cigarettes.

“Fancy a fag mate?”

“Excuse me?”

“Sorry, a cigarette.”

“Don’t lite that in here.”

“Pansy,” said the man under his breath.

“You just bought your own chips.”

“Don’t have any quid.”

“Somehow I'm not surprised. Anyways you just swallowed gas… petrol. You might blow yourself up.”

“That’s true.”

At the chip shop the man with the car purchased six orders of chips and quick as a wink the man who has been syphoning out his gas had eaten four of the orders.

“Look man, I bought you all these chips and you didn’t even give me one.”

“I know mate, I'm sorry, but you have to eat potatoes when you drink gasoline.”

“You mean petrol.”

“Can you pass the catsup?”

“Here. Why don’t you just eat potatoes?”

“Eh, too bland.”

“Can I at least get a fry?”

“Sorry,” he said, tilting his head back and pouring the last of the fries down his throat. “None left.”

The man with the car shook his head.

“Come on, I’ll give you a ride back.”

The two unlikely friends got back in the car. The smell of gasoline had dissolved to only a subtle note within the cabin. The key was turned and the engine coughed a few times then quit all together. In response the man banged his head against the steering wheel.

“What’s wrong?”

“Out of gas,” he said. “You wouldn’t know anything about that would you?”