A satire of dysfunctional politics and economic disparity.
Chapter VII: Day/Page 74 CONTINUED FROM YESTERDAY. . . . “Here, take this too,” Marianova says, tossing in the hairbrush.
Sofia squeezes the older woman’s hands in hers again. “Thank you,” she says. “You are very kind.” More words flowed, drop by drop.
“You’re very welcome, my child.”
Sofia slings the knapsack over one shoulder and walks out onto the sunlit promenade. Ivana stands to the side in the shade of the boutique’s awning smoking a cigarette. Sofia nods. The beautiful, elegantly-dressed woman with the tight blond ponytail flashes a cold hard glare, flicks the lit butt of her cigarette at Sofia’s boots, turns and re-enters the store.
“Bitch!” says Sofia, recalling another new word.
She dons the sunglasses and continues south along the promenade, past the chic cafés, past other boutiques, past flower stalls and bicycle-rental stores, past ice-cream stands where plump little children tug at their mother’s skirt, begging for a three-scoop cone with sprinkles on top; while two miles west in a sordid dirty hovel lives a wasted little waif about their same age, with spindly match-stick limbs. Only two miles distant—but an entire world away.
As Sofia walks she recognizes words on signs, posters, and billboards. As people chatting pass her on the sidewalk, she catches words here and there that she understands. When she sees the word “Bank” on one of the buildings, she enters, removes a 0.50 coin from her purse and slides it under the thick glass separating her from the teller behind the counter.
“Exchange, please,” Sofia says, recognizing the word from a poster.
“We don’t normally exchange gold,” the teller says.
Sofia shrugs. “Exchange, please,” she repeats.
The teller frowns. “Please wait,” she says, then walks to an office in back where Sofia sees her talking to an older, portly male, pristinely dressed in expensive-looking clothes. The man stands, smoothes his short black hair, comes around from behind his desk and approaches the counter. The teller follows close behind.
(This doesn’t look good.)
“Hello, I’m Mr. Cocosaco. I understand you have gold to exchange. That’s a bit unusual, but not unheard of. May I ask you where you got it?”
“I don’t think she speaks Equitorian,” says the teller.
Sofia slips the coin under the glass again. “Exchange, please.”
Mr. Cocosaco inspects the coin with a magnifying glass he takes from his waistcoat. “The quality looks too good to be contraband.” He looks up. “You know what the penalty for contraband gold is, don’t you?”
Sofia says nothing. Smiles.
“Mm…” says Cocosaco, placing the coin on a digital scale. He punches numbers into a calculator and holds it up. The screen shows +1,503.20.
Sofia nods agreement. (Sure… whatever. How should I know?)
Cocosaco examines the coin again with his . . . .
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