Today was another extremely hot and humid day, and two figures away from the triple digits. The air conditioning from the small convenient store on the corner of seventh felt therapeutic against my skin. I stood there admiring the large Bob Marley picture on the wall while enjoying the cool atmosphere and was thinking that the store manager might have to go throw me outside to get rid of me. Obviously I wasn’t the only one or thing, thinking that way.
A girl and her Boxer Collie mix breed walked in, she joined a short line and I noticed admiringly, that the moment the dog’s leash went loose it sprawled out comfortably on the floor and closed its eyes. I couldn’t help gawking adorably in awe as like everyone else at his tall, poised structure covered with a well-groomed velvety brownish tan shag coat and easily decided he was one spectacular sight. While I wouldn’t want one for myself, I would definitely walk this one sometimes, I thought.
I chewed away at the gum I had bought and the customers after me were all gone now. The girl stood looking thoughtful with a pack of sanitary napkins peeping through the thinness of the faded white plastic bag she held. I could tell she was contemplating the heat and the rest of her journey. Her face was oily and she looked exhausted. I bet she was regretting her walk with such a terrible heat wave hovering.
I stared interestingly at her vividly uneasy appearance and then at her dog sprawled out in a totally opposite mood, so undisturbed and peacefully sleeping. Several minutes had passed before she took up his blue and yellow twisted cord leash and gently tugged it. The dog didn’t even stir so she momentarily pulled at it to attract its attention.
By this another line was filing out and getting closer to where the dog had laid motionless. Now the girl was silently upset and whispering in a firm tone: “Let’s go Vinny. Let’s go Vinny.” The dog didn’t budge even with her hands on him gentle shaking him. She cracked an apologetic smile at everyone and said, “He’s never like this.” She shook her head and impatiently poked Vinny to get up. He was making a fool of her and she was kind of looking embarrassed, more like pissed to me.
Finally Vinny opened his eyes and she cracked a smile of relief. “Let’s go Vinny.” She urged impatiently. She poked and tickled him to get up but Vinny still didn’t move. I was totally amused now and so were all the other patrons. Probably ‘Minutes Away Food Mart’ was the only little convenient store that allows pets for ten minutes. It was written boldly next to the Bob Marley picture on the wall and I guess that was all the time one needs to get their purchases. It was a little expensive to shop there so patrons as myself mostly buy an item or two that really was needed.
The manager, no doubt had been watching the show all along, got out of his secluded tinted glass cubicle and stepped briskly towards Vinny and his temp. The dog didn’t even look up and I felt pleased that now I had good reason to linger for a while longer in the convenience of a cool air without feeling like a squatter.
Unlike everyone else, probably I was the only one who already knew the reason behind the dog’s behavior. Simply put–Vinny was just trying to escape the terrible heat too. Christ the dog is sensitive enough to understand good from bad temperature.
The manager firmly poked Vinny to get up, but the dog just looked at him for a second then turned his head away while the poor girl pleaded and pulled at the leash. The manager akimbo, tapped his foot impatiently and told the girl firmly to lift her dog out of the store.
Vinny was more than half her size, probably over 70 lbs and it was already tormenting enough outside plus carrying a big dog was unimaginable. I had to stifle down an outburst of laughter as the poor girl panted and struggled to lift the stubborn dog up. She was glaring at Vinny as she stumbled outside. The manager shook his head in disbelief at the unusual situation. Once outdoors and back on the road the girl roughly dropped Vinny to the ground. The dog reluctantly but skillfully landed on his paws. I’m sure she wasn’t taking Vinny for a walk any time soon after today, I thought in much amusement.
The poor and middle class are the most likely to feel the effects of the decision at the end of the fiscal cliff saga…let’s remember it’s a season of sharing, loving and giving.
Have you ever wondered why bullies are usually a group thing with persons of the same mindset? This is mainly a defense mechanism because bullies often gets lonely and scared too. They usually win because the abuse goes unnoticed or silent for long periods in the life of the victims. The victims are either too scared or embarrassed to talk about it. Fighting back is the last thought in the miserable mind of the victim but in the end is the best medicine for the problem.
It was a tiring period of picking pigeon (gongo) peas and broad beans that had grown entwined along slim make shift plum-tree stalk on my family land. A strategy my mother came up with to grow peas all year round trying to make a reasonable living. The tiny worms from the pods were my elder sister’s pet peeve but I had long grown accustomed to them, more gaping pitifully as they were being squashed by everyone except me during the long draining hours of peas shelling.
I had barely graduated out of calico bloomers and was rejoicing giddily in soft sear sucker underwear with only the stigma of pauperism that had a tinge of dampness on our Christmas which somewhat threatened my glee. Apart from that I was determined to spread my excitement until there was nothing left of the Christmas spirit except for the taunting memories of humiliation unleashed upon me some weeks before by a set of cowards. Yes! COWARDS as they all were.
A total of ten, thirteen and fourteen year-old girls driven by boosting and bribing of each other to mercilessly rage wrath on me because I was from a different side of the track and seemed like the perfect pushover. The abuse on me prolonged for the last three weeks of school before the christmas break and what made it more terrible was the fact that it was my most favorite holiday.
They started out by jeering me about my freckles. I knew my freckles were cute and scantily sprinkled about my brown oval-shaped face. I usually liked them but afterwards I started to hate them and hate myself. Shortly after it was my old twisted school shoes and then my extremely faded navy pleated tunic worn with a usually clean but badly stained white inner blouse.
I was shocked how easily they changed my good spirit making me very unhappy and miserable to the point that I hated myself and those wretched few weeks of school. It was heart pounding and humiliating every afternoon as I managed to squeeze in the small overcrowded, overloaded J. U. mini bus and sat down to the ache of a dozen hands pounding on my head in a split second. I couldn’t figure exactly the ones who hit me each day but I knew the set of girls.
The pain moistened my sad eyes and I struggled to hide my tears that would further embarrassed me should they start to spill. While everyone else ignored what was happening, some of them out of fear and the others out of loyalty. From then on I felt very sad and alone as the beating got worse and I was being humiliated at every opportunity the group got. Out of fits of anger I started to imagine myself fighting back. Then out of desperation I thought of a plan which I put into action a day before school break for the holiday.
After school adjourned that particular day, I got off the bus a quarter-mile before my scheduled stop. Someone had told me of a short path home where the girls had to pass to get to their home and I had hidden a firm broom stick there the evening before . My heart pounded dreadfully in my stomach and neck out of fear of what I had planned to do. One against ten I thought nervously but my raging anger saturated by misery was a relentless force and I swore on my grandfather’s grave I’d die fighting them today.
The four p.m. sun was ripe and pelting and I noticed the group of noisy girls as they came closer through its fierce glare in the distance. My breaths became sharper now that they were closer, displaying much vulgarity as they chatted and giggled heartily and carefree.
They hadn’t seen me and for a second I thought to drop the broom stick and hide but I bravely stepped out in front of them and angrily wielded my weapon several times across them all. I huffed and puffed for breath as the broom stick connected with several of them and I just kept on madly swinging and hitting them as they screamed out for mercy and scattered. I was breathless but smiling a victorious one as I stood alone.