A scene from some hours ago:
With my notepad and iPod, I sit at a round, white oak table in the basement-level cafeteria at my store. This is where workers come to warm up their leftovers for lunch and eat, the lunchroom being perfectly positioned right next door to a sewer. Over on a black leather couch, leaned against a newly built wall with circles of dried up plaster lays [Elian], a short Honduran pastor and security guard. I can't hear but I'm sure he's listening to what he always listens to as he drifts to a noisy snore on the couch on his lunch hour, which is the latest in self-glorifying, self-righteous Gospel. The likes of Paul Baloche or Steven Curtis Chapman or some such mess. We are both Christians, and even though the artists I'm listening to sing religious lyrics as well, I highly doubt he'd approve of them. I highly doubt he'd approve of any of the Christian music I head-bobbingly listen to. That's ok, I highly doubt I'd approve of anything approved by him. I put my iPod on pause.
On top of his gospel, his snoring, and the hum of the refrigerator trying to keep someone's leftover curry and rice with beans cold, I write in this notepad. I feel the underground Parisian expatriate artistic genius in me flow whenever I do, because Barnes and Noble told me that Ernest Hemingway and Bruce Chatwin wrote in this very (kind of) notepad. I loved Hemingway's story on abortion debate over Spanish beer at train stations. So, B&N and moleskine.com have won my integrity and money over because they told me that by buying their product, I could take part of something that was once attached to a chauvinistic, drunk and possibly racist writer. So I begin to write an idea for a sci-fi novel about a cyborg.
A salesman and a carpet stockman come in and quietly play Gin Rummy at $2 a hand at a table next to mine. I write. Elian snores as Paul shouts to the Lord, the frig hums, and all is peaceful.......
Until [Scarlett] bursts in the lunchroom, screaming into her phone and talking faster than certain Ford Mustangs can drive. Lucky Elian, gospel saves him from the racket, but the salesperson lays down a Full House, turns and asks "what the hell is wrong witchu'?"
She waves him off and continues yelling at the phone. "Nah, nah, what da f*** you mean 'dat's just how she is? Dis is her second time wit dat s***, dat's money out my purse, ya understand? I can't afford to keep payin' fo da way she is." She says with rapid fire speed.
You see, Scarlett woke this morning out of her queen-sized bed in East New York, Brooklyn, got dressed, went down to her building lobby by way of a piss, trash and graffiti-covered elevator, crossed a children's park to the street curb and found her Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo with the word "Bitch" on the front hood, and "stop f*****' wit him or I'm beat yo ass [exact wording]" on the doors. This congenial message was scratched into the car by way of a key. In script.
"Watchu mean sit and talk....if I see her, I'm straight smackin' da s*** outta her, dats' it. I on't wanna hear nothin', I don't wanna sit down s***."
The two employees laugh and return to their game, the salesman taking $2 out of a thin stack of singles the stockman has next to him.
Scarlett is throwing her arms around in forceful gesticulations, pacing back and forth with buggy eyes looking all about and an angry, pouting twitching mouth. She puts her hand on her hip to listen. "What...da what? Nig**, is you stupid, I don't know why she does it either. Why don't you ask her, cause I'm telling you if I see her, it's gon be problems, for real."
I mean, I don't know. Scarlett and the citizen on the phone say the woman who did it maybe insane, or perhaps she targeted the wrong car. Again. Logic condescendingly shows me that the woman was angry because Scarlett slept with the woman's fiancee of some years. Well, not angry that they slept together for the 10th or 20th time, but angry that she caught them for the second time. Yes, a second time with the very fiancee Scarlett is on the phone with now. None of us, "us" being me, the two card players, Elian, and the rat I just seen at the edge of the cut open ventilation shaft above Elian, are worried about Scarlett's consequences. Coveting thy neighbor's husband is more a lifestyle for her than a sinful indulgence, and she can take care of herself.
By the turn of the conversation, I'm sure she's learned her lesson, though: "Aiight, good, so you payin' for it then. Aiight........so you still wanna go to dat hotel next week?"