He left me with a word I could not understand
The roundness of a wedding ring, as opposed to tossing a quarter in the air differs in that the ring is sacred, and the quarter can buy me gum, given that I catch it back, because as you know it can always fall off to the side of the street and disappear for ever under the ever passing cars.
Published on LatinoLA: October 29, 2003
Believe it or not many times I stand on the street watching cars, just for the heck of it. The strangest of things, and cruelest of lessons, happened to me once in that divine and unhollyest of places we call the street.
I stood on the sidewalk, in one of those days, flickering a quarter. I saw a man, not just any man; this man drove a green Nova; an Old Green Nova. But you see, it wasn?t just regular green, it was ugly fucken Christmas green. The kind of autumn green you can only get by years of exposure to the sun. The kind of green that makes you wonder if the car doesn?t run on photosynthesis.
I being a Native American, native to this land for thousands of years, and knowing nothing of my ancestor?s language, but only being able to share my feelings through this second hand English, given to me in exchange for the riches of the New World, wouldn?t have ever thought that the day would come when I finally understood the divine nature of white man?s presence, and that that white man would appear to me driving a Nova.
Well, anyways, this man driving the Nova was white, (Need I mention this again. I beg your pardon I do), and he waved his hand at me as he drove by. (Over the years I have come to learn that it is not polite to wave your hand at strangers that they might think you are mocking them. -This man was a stranger to me-).
He had a bearded face, or otherwise known as the face of a man down on his luck. (While Santa?s beard represents kindness, a beard on a decent man represents lack of hygiene due to bad luck). As I said he waved his hand at me showing me his smile, not embarrassed by the absence of many teeth.
I did not answer back, but instead tossed my quarter once again. He passed by and made a U turn. He passed by only to make a second u turn and drove towards me again. He stopped in front of me and screamed something, as he stared directly into my eyes. It was something I could not hear, and something, I was sure, I had no use for.
I returned his stare frowning, making sure he would realize I couldn?t hear what he was saying. He then moved his heavy body, with an ease unusual for an overweight person, to the passenger seat, and rolled down the window.
He said, ?Calamity. Yes damn it, calamity.?
I was really puzzled. ?Calamity?, I thought.
?What does this man want? I thought as I looked left and right.
Abnormally for this time not a car could be seen, so I had no choice but to direct my attention to this man. ?Calamity?, he said again. I held my coin tight in my fist with determination. I then tossed it into the air looking at the man square in the eye, feeling reassured. Just as I opened my hand waiting for the coin to land his right hand reached out of the car and caught my quarter. I stood stiffly in disbelief. He then drove away. I shrugged, consoling myself perhaps.
He had taken my quarter, and left me with a word I could not understand.
Could I possibly use this word to get my quarter back?
I decided to become an actor as a short cut to a career in politics.