It is night. Mist shrouds the booth as usual. Caught in the acid beam of light it is an unhealthy gas station yellow. You can hardly see the barrier. The man doesn't mind, he likes it this way.
With a little sigh he unwraps todays sandwiches. Cheese and pickle, it's always cheese and pickle. He is sure he is developing a mild lactose intolerence, but he starts to eat them anyway.
The booth is small and spare. On the notice board is a postcard from somewhere exotic. It makes him happy to think that there are beautiful places in the world.
He sips tea from a flask and checks his list. It has been a busy night. Three so far. A jogger hit by a motorbike, only he wasn't really a jogger, he was a man who only pretended to be one. He lurked in the dark and frightened women who were out alone.
Then there was a stripper who had gone over a cliff in her car. Getting away because she stabbed a man who didn't realise the show was over and tried it on in the car park. He felt this was a bit harsh, she was only defending herself. He would put in a word for her it usually worked.
And the farm girls, with a shotgun. Teenage triplets they were, and as mad as march hares. Out on the rob to raise their social media profile and get a bit of cash. A police shoot out did for the three of them.
They were funny and cheeky. One of them had asked him what he had done to get the shittest job in the Universe. He smiled and raised the barrier to let them on through to hell.
He knew exactly what he had done. Nothing at all was the answer. In life he had been famous, an incredibly sucessful actor. He had never been out of work and he was always in demand. But oh the pressure to keep it up. Increasing every year like a great iron weight pressing down on him.
He had died in his dressing room surrounded by make up and the script for a film about a toll booth operator.
The farm girl had been right it was the shittest job in the universe and he had chosen it for all eternity. The souls he let through were already damned, he listened to their interesting stories while he ate his sandwiches and drank his tea. He was a good man and he felt that he owed them five minutes before they went.
There was no pressure. Just a little box surrounded by fog and peaceful nowhere, and a little plastic button which raised the barrier.
'Boring as hell' the farm girl had said. She was wrong, hell was full of red hot pokers and stuff, it wasn't boring at all.
There was no pressure here. No need to do anything at all but sit in his little box with the radio on, eat his sandwiches, sip his tea and let them through. It was absolute heaven.