As the man behind the counter looked on impatiently, the woman in line ahead of me at the bodega counted the change in her hand to buy ‘one’ condom. She walked out with her ‘one’ Trojan as I got out my wallet to pay for the bananas that the proprietor was bagging. Suddenly, the woman came back up to the counter ignoring the fact that I was making a purchase.
“Can’t use this…don’t want this one…” She said as she gave the condom back to the man behind the counter.
I pay for my bananas as she perused all the snacks on the point of purchase display before finally grabbing a single pack of Twinkies. “I’ll take these instead,” she said as she walked out the door.
Two African American women ahead of me at the corner deli were buying cigarettes and seemed very excited as if on their way to a party. As they slid the packs of smokes into their purses, they asked for a lighter, one of those free BICs I guess you get with your cigarettes.
The Middle Eastern man behind the counter handed her one that she examined closely with a wrinkled brow. “Washington Red Skins?? She shouted. I don’t want this racist bullshit! Give me a different one!”
He looked around behind the counter and finally found another. “This good?” he asked giving her an ordinary blue BIC.
“Yeah thanks!” she shot back with a laugh and a smile as she left. “Get rid of that racist shit, man.”
I stepped up with my milk and looked at the lighters on display. They ALL had the Washington Red Skin’s logo on them. “You have a lot of those.” I said.
“Yes, nobody wants them.” He said shrugging his shoulders.
In front of the brownstone were various chairs and lamps along with a moving van full of boxes. The movers sat around the van with dark sweat stains on their back as if on a break.
A large angry man walked out of the brownstone pointing at the men. “I’m not disrespecting you, but it was obviously your people!” He shouted. “There’s shit in the down stairs toilet and shit in the upstairs toilet and the water’s been turned off!! What the f*ck man?! You can’t flush the f*cking toilet with the water off! Now we’ve got to move the rest of what’s on the second floor and find a way to clean shit out of the toilet? I mean…This is unbelievable!”