A satire of dysfunctional politics and economic disparity.
Chapter VII: Day/Page 71 CONTINUED FROM YESTERDAY. . . .
Marianova speaks rapidly, ivory-white teeth flashing through cherry-red lips, pointing excitedly to various items around in the shop.
Again, Sofia thinks she recognizes a word here and there, but can’t be sure. It all sounds familiar, yet then again not. Some words ring a bell of cognition, but she cannot dig up an appropriate response, so she merely shrugs. (Sorry, I don’t understand what you’re saying, but thanks for shutting up that yappy bitch.)
“You don’t understand what I’m saying?” asks Marianova. “You’re not from around here?”
“She understands,” bleats the blond Ivana. “They just pretend not to so they can cheat you. You’re so gullible, Marianova. Why do you think you see so many of them with little babies begging in the street all the time? It’s disgusting. There should be laws against that. Actually, I think there already are. They should enforce them better, so we don’t have to be subjected to such ugliness. I’ll bet they’re not even their real babies. They simply use them as props so people like you feel sorry for them.”
(There goes the yapping again—that didn’t last long.)
Sofia points to the boots on display in the window.
Marianova’s face lights up. She studies Sofia’s feet while bobbing the spool of wire on her head side to side, then disappears into the back.
Minutes later she returns with the boots, a small hand-towel, and a bucket of clear cool water, which she places by Sofia’s feet. “Here you go, dear. Why don’t you clean yourself up a bit first. It looks like you’ve been walking barefoot for days.”
(Oh, you wonderful woman. You can’t imagine all the crap I’ve been walking through barefoot today.) “Thank you,” Sofia says.
“It’s nothing, my child.”
“See, I told you she understands,” sneers Ivana from behind the counter, pretending to fold shirts. “It’s all a trick. She probably makes herself dirty and smelly on purpose. While normal people take showers and put on makeup to go to work, she puts on dirt to prepare for her day. Probably has a dozen little beggars working for her—a whole moocher business—and lives in a big house on the hill from all the money she cheats from decent people like us.”
“Don’t listen to her,” Marianova whispers.
Sofia dips the towel into the bucket of cool water and wrings it out. First she gently wipes her face and neck. The cool water is luxuriously refreshing. She dips the towel into the water again and rinses her arms and legs. Lastly, she washes the dusty red clay from her feet and ankles. By the time she finishes the water is reddish brown and the hand-towel effectively ruined.
Sofia makes a gesture of apology for the towel, but Marianova simply smiles with her bright red lips and swats the air dismissively. “It’s nothing,” she says, handing Sofia a pair of socks which she procures like magic from nowhere.
Sofia paces around the store . . . .
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