Christopher Walken’s Crisp Twenty

He didn’t say a word. Not a "Thanks," nothing. Neither of us spoke. He pocketed his change and took the bag.

Five years ago, I had a job working the night shift at a convenience store in a northern suburb of Chicago. I was reading a novel when the door opened, and in walked Christopher Walken.

You don’t spot too many celebrities in the northern suburbs of Chicago, or even in Chicago proper. Walken was my first. How was I sure it was Walken? No easy answer, but he is an extremely distinctive person; there’s no one else he could have been, given his appearance and the way he glumly entered the store and, without looking at me, turned down an aisle. He shopped for about a minute before he reached the counter.

This is what he bought:

1 24-oz. bottle of Lemon-Lime Gatorade
1 small can of Vienna sausages
1 can of Carnation baby formula

Too starstruck to speak, I fumbled while putting the items in a bag, took his twenty—which I remember as the crispest twenty I’d ever come across—rang him up, and gave him his change. He didn’t say a word. Not a "Thanks," nothing. Neither of us spoke. He pocketed his change and took the bag.

Finally, when his back was turned, I had the courage to call out: “Hey—you’re Christopher Walken.”

He opened the door, paused, and turned.

“So?” he said, almost indignantly. Then he left; the door closed. I watched as he drove away, then went back to my book.

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