Wings and a Pray-er

August 31, 2007 at 11:11 am (Cussed Dumbers, That's not funny...)

The work week ended on a positive note. (Hallelujah!) Except for maybe two, people were nice all day, and at the end?

I saved a life.

Sounds dramatic, huh? More on that in a minute. First, to the less- than-pleasant:

Mister ‘I-just-got-here from Illinois’; “You sir, are a bigoted asshole.” That’s what I should have said. You may have the excuse of being drunk, but it is NOT COOL to snap out of your reverie, look up to see an African-American, and announce, “Holy crap, a nigger!” As they say, the silence was deafening. We could not believe our ears. You were coherent enough to get moving, before we could 86, call police or find worse ways to deal with you. And the fiftyish gentleman in the nice suit you were referring to? I hope he went to his car, slipped into a little something more comfortable, and dragged you into an alley and gave you a real lesson on race relations.

I assure you, if your body floats up in a few days, none of us saw anything…

And to the oh-so-entitled Sarah Silverman lookalike: Thanks for coming back and being nice the second time around. I’m sorry we don’t sell Sharpies. (If you’d been less snappish, I might have loaned you the one in my backpack.) I realize, since you’re so irresistible, you must get hit on every five minutes, so if my friendly demeanor came off as a flirt (and yes, it can be taken that way) I sort of apologize. But damn, that was an icy comeback. The guys standing behind you were laughing into their hands. I wanted to bust out the C-word, but I save that for only the MOST appropriate occasions. This wasn’t that bad. Had you not came back and made it right, you would have gotten nothing but monosyllables from me until the end of time.

BUT, you came back, in a much better mood, and spent way too much money on a pack of Newports. You were overly friendly the second time around, which I take as your way of saying “My bad.” That works for me. Prepare to be flirted with at a future time!

And now, the wildlife report. (What, you ask? Isn’t this place always about wild life?) This is of a critterish nature. On one of my periodic prowls of the front of the store (“Move along. No panhandling. Don’t pee there, etc…”) I noticed a grasshopper on the sidewalk. My staring intently at the ground caught the attention of an older couple. “Look, a grasshopper!” I looked around. There was nothing but concrete, asphalt and tall buildings. “Where’s the grass? Oh wait, it’s downtown, and we’re on the Avenue!” I gave the old guy a wink.

“HAH! I get it!” He chuckled, and explained the joke to Marge as they wandered away.

Later, I got into a conversation with a former gutter-punk about street families, murder and dope. As we talked, a bright green flash went past the man’s head. I blinked, and so did he.

“Did you see that? I haven’t been smoking anything, I swear!”

“Nah, dude. I saw it too. What the fuck?”

A brief check of the area revealed, perched upon a map of Vancouver, a neon-green praying mantis. He (or she) was about three inches long, and definitely in need of a map. After showing him off to the next few customers, I managed to coax him into a 32 oz soda cup, and we took a walk outside. A couple of shakes, and his glowing green ass was flying off into the night.

It’s not easy being green downtown.

The African-American man came in again later. We didn’t speak of the earlier incident. I told him about the praying mantis.

“You didn’t kill it, did you?” he asked.

“Of course not. I walked it outside and set it free.”

He shook my hand. “Thank you.”

I said, “I only kill things that deserve it, and that’s usually not my place to decide. Besides, some things deserve killin’ more than others.” I looked him square in the eye. He got my reference.

“You are so right. Take care, my brother.” (He always calls me that.) We shook hands, and he was off into the night, chasing my little green friend.

Here’s to little green friends everywhere! I think I’ll go find mine right now…

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