(This took place circa 2008.)
An L.A. Valley College parking lot had been
Appropriated during these
Weeks before Santa’s arrival to sell some fir,
Pine, cedar & cypress trees.
There weren’t many trees left. The salesman
(A sleazy “Jersey Shore” kind of guido)
Was barking into his phone, one imagines to
His stewardess girlfriend in San Pedro.
Then he saw her walk onto the lot: somehow
I sensed this would be an epic fail.
She was tiny, quiet, from the Middle East and
(Good guess) was wearing a veil.
He forced a smile at her. She nodded and then he
Said into his cell, “I’d like to fling this
Muslim woman right off the lot --- I’d bet heavy
She can barely speak a word of English.”
She hovered beside the saddest tree on the lot --- to him
This was worthy of derisive laughter.
It didn’t look like a tree anyone took home but like those
Seen unsold on a lot the day after.
“How much?” she asked. He gazed with contempt
And then blurted out, “Fifty.” One
Then noticed she gave him the once over and felt
That he, not she, was the shifty one.
He just lost it. “Get the hell out of here. Go home
To your Koran and your kebobs ---
You … people … please … you disgust me with your
Body odor & convenience store jobs.”
She knew she was being disrespected in ways
That made her feel both hated & also dirty.
Her vocabulary was limited but sufficient: she
Looked at him, the tree & shot back, “Thirty.”
Did this piss him off? Do you really have to ask?
Oh, yeah. Not a little but plenty.
He swore and yelled and then swore some more
Until she calmly replied, “Twenty.”
I left before this transaction ended which sort of
Makes it difficult to finish this poem:
I bet she kept haggling until he broke down and
Gave her $10 to take it and go home.