A satire of dysfunctional politics and economic disparity.
Chapter VI: Day/Page 62 CONTINUED FROM YESTERDAY. . . . Over the next few minutes the woman excitedly explains something to Sofia, which, of course, she doesn’t understand a word of, but the gist of what the woman is saying is clear—getting a boat is not possible.
(Oh, forget it. This is pointless. Thanks anyway, but I need to go.)
Realizing the futility of the situation, Sofia bows deeply to show her gratitude and prepares to leave, but the woman makes the motion of eating with her hand, and pulls Sofia over to a table in the corner of the room. On the table is a filthy rag covering a mound of something.
“I don’t have much,” the woman says. “But we must all share what we have, I believe. We are all God’s children, which makes us related in some way.” She flips back the soiled rag to reveal a moldy, greenish crust of hard bread, several festering black bananas, some other kind of oozing, mucilaginous-type fruit with dead flies stuck to it, a bowl of something purple and gooey with little white dots, and a pitcher of grubby grey water. (Oh, crap! Not those mushy black tubie things again. And what the hell is that other stuff next to it? Did it just wink at me? Oh… no, never mind, it’s just a dead fly.)
The woman rips the moldy bread in quarters; gives one piece to Sofia, one to her daughter, takes one for herself, and puts the last piece back. She cuts a banana in two and gives half to Sofia and half to her daughter—taking none for herself. Then she pours a half-cup of grey water and covers everything again with the rag.
(This woman has nothing and yet she shares what little she has. And look at her daughter—she’s practically starving. So you eat that mushy black tubie thing and act like you like it, because here stands a person of character—respect it—it’s rare.) Though sickened by the sight and smell of the meager food, Sofia cannot offend the kind woman who possesses nothing but pride; so she washes the moldy bread down with the warm fetid water, and forces down the rotten banana, this time without the blistered black skin, after seeing how the daughter had peeled it. (Well, it’s a bit better without the skin, that’s for sure. Thank you.)
“Thank you,” Sofia says, surprising them both when the words came out. (Hey, that just popped out. But I know what it means. That’s weird.)
She takes the 0.50 coin from her purse again and tries handing it to the woman. (Here… take this please.) But is met with a flurry of hands.
“No. That is more money than I’ve ever seen, or ever will see in my life, I’m sure. But I can’t take your money. You obviously need it too. Please, you don’t owe me anything,” says the woman.
(Too much? How about this one?) Sofia tries handing a 0.10 coin to the woman instead, but is met with the same negative flurry of hands.
Sofia points to the little wasted girl with spindly limbs. . . TO BE CONTINUED TOMORROW. . . .
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, organizations, places, events, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
Copyright © 2013 by Gregory James All rights reserved