Thursday, July 28, 2016

Pay It Sideways

It happened in a very unlikely way from an even more unlikely source. But it made an impact on me and my coffee addicted self that I'm still thinking about.

A few nights ago I was buying a cup of large coffee in the nearby Wawa convenience store, which is  by the way the greatest convenience store in the world located right here in our Philadelphia area.  The cost: $1.80 - no king's ransom, but enough that I usually dispense a large cup of Colombian, gulp a whole bunch down right away, and then dispense more to fill the cup.

I'm classy that way. 

As I got in line, I eyeballed the guy in line in front of me facing toward the cashier. He had so many tattoos it looked like he'd fallen asleep in the chair of an insane tattoo artist snorting crystal meth. He was wearing those large round black earrings that some younger guys wear these days that look like ... well, the knobs you pull to dispense coffee at Wawa. Clearly he was not the kind of guy you bring home to your Jewish mother.

As the well-inscribed one purchased his beef jerky or whatever, he turned to his right side to look at me and turned back to the cashier and said:

"This is also for his coffee."

What? What did he say? Have I forgotten to wash out my ears the last nine months?

"Thank you," I stammered, "but why?"

"Pay it forward," he smiled and was gone.

"Or in this case, pay it sideways, " I muttered to the cashier.

She smiled and said "this happens more than you'd think."

Yeah, I wouldn't think it would happen at all. Obviously I'm a shit. But what a nice way to brighten someone's day!

The next day I found myself in another Wawa.  Behind me in line was a young man, no tattoos or coffee urn earrings, with a short stylish haircut I would have laughed at when I was twenty but which I wish to God I had enough hair to muster today. Time for me to pay it sideways.

"This is for his coffee," I said with a bright smile, turning to the young man.

"Why are you doing this?" he replied quizzically."You coming on to me?  I have to tell you, I'm not gay."

"No, no! I'm not coming on to you!"  I blurted out.  "I'm paying it sideways!"

"Look, Bub, if you're trying to lure me into an alley ..."

"No, I just want to pay it ..."

"Oh, then I'll let you pay it."

"Thank you, because I only wanted to..."

"But don't follow me out of here!" he scowled and was gone. 

Notwithstanding this minor (and highly fictionalized) debacle in my attempt to follow in the steps of my well inked Wawa benefactor, I'm not daunted.  I will yet succeed in my efforts to pay it sideways.  Or next time, maybe even pay it forward.

But I've learned something: You never know where you will find kindness and class in this world.  Sometimes it comes from the most unexpected sources. 

And although I may forget that in days to come, it sure makes me feel a lot better right now.   


Or maybe sideways, as here.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Shopping Cart Confidential (FF)

FF- Friday Fictioneers
Copyright - Janet Webb

"Boy, is he one cute shopping cart!"

"Go ahead.  Talk to him."

 "If only I had a few drinks in me first ..."

"You silly, we're shopping carts.  We don't eat or drink."

"Oh yeah, you're right. Okay, I'll try."

"You can do it!"

"OMG, wait a minute!"

"Why are you stopping?"

"Because we're Kosher carriages." 


"He can't be Jewish.  Look at the size of his basket!"


I knew those shopping carts could talk. Imagine what they say about us when we don't return them to the cart return area when it's raining hard!

The other Friday Fictioneers may not write about shopping carts talking, may have them drinking and eating, or may even have them standing indignantly at the Kosher Meat Section complaining to the fellow in the yarmulke there "Mr. Rosenblatt, these rib steaks were terrible!" Click here to find out.

I'm sorry that of late I've had so little time to read the stories of the other Fictioneers, but life circumstances intervene.  I hope to get back to it soon. In the meantime, my shopping carts and I love what you're writing, Kosher or not.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

If Money Really Did Grow on Trees

It is the first days of September.  This time of year, when the warmth of the sun begins to lessen and summer draws to its unwilling close, has always been a special time for my family and me.

For it is here on our modest plot of land in Northern California that we annually begin the harvest of the crops that our family has grown for over 95 years. In those shortening days of September we commence harvesting the one dollar bills, the tens, the twenties, and the Benjamins to be rushed fresh to the waiting wallets of good folk all throughout America.

Kropotkin Farms, our family business, is one of the largest independent growers of money in the State of California.  Our Moolah Mulberries, Lucre Locusts, and Dough Dogwoods have been third place winners in the American Association of Money Tree Growers (AAMG) Annual Arbor Awards for two years running. And it is our goal to provide you and your family with an excellent money vintage every year.

We are hoping for a fine vintage again this year 2016.

In September, our entire family except for our profligate cousin Herbie ventures into the vineyards to survey our newly grown crops.  Yes, they are virtually bursting with financial flavor! We carefully check the buds to make sure there is no pest infiltration. Naturally we grow all of our money organically to assure that Kropotkin Money will never be the root of all evil.

Should we find infestation of any kind, we take great pains to separate the tainted crop from the top dollar.  A boll weevil contamination last year inflicted extreme distortion to the $100 bill orchard, causing the image of Benjamin Franklin to look something like David Crosby.  This failed money can only be sold for nominal value, generally to the kind of Baby Boomer who likes to hum "Wooden Ships on the Water'' while picking out his plus 55 retirement home. 

The inspection completed, all of the A1 crops are then plucked from our Folding Money Orchards, Coinage Bushes, and New York Subway Token Shrubs by a team of crack illegal aliens. There is not a moment to waste; if you miss the peak of freshness the New York Subway tokens will only work in Philadelphia.

Next our crops are processed on Kropotkin's modern third-rate equipment and necessary refinements are made, such as inscribing the fictitious words "In God We Trust" on all paper money and removing the language "We Believe in Humanism" as actually forms on money as grown. From there our produce is flash-frozen and shipped to happy money purchasers from coast to coast.

There are challenges ahead, of course.  Harriet Tubman seeds will be very hard to come by in the coming years. We will try to breed our own unique Tubman by putting a bonnet on Salmon P. Chase. We are confident we will be up to the challenge, just as when we first added a beard to the clean-shaven as grown Abraham Lincoln in 1937.

It is the pledge of the Kropotkin Family to provide you with the best money that money can buy.

From our table to your table, assuming you count your money on your table, we wish you "Delicioso Dollars!" 

Mange La Money!


Friday, July 22, 2016

The Clean Up Crew

"What a mess! Can't believe we've got to clean up this whole place!"

"That's the job. Sweeping, vacuuming, dusting, prying up stuck chewing gum, white-washing "Lock Her Up!" graffiti - most of it misspelled- fumigating women's air spray ...."

"Gee, you'd think by 2016 Republican women would have a developed a little style already."

"Guess not.  Now get to work!"

"Did you watch the convention?  Everything was so one-sided and divisive. You'd think Hillary Clinton was Lucretia Borgia!"

"Hey, you missed a spot!"

"Sorry.  All those religious people sucking up to a guy who's had such a wild life with women. Hey, look at that Melania!"

"Put a little more elbow grease into that mopping, will ya?"

"I'll try. Did you see that strident General practically foaming at the mouth the first night?  That was right out of Dr. Strangelove."

"I didn't see that movie."

"And Trump, he promises all kinds of things but doesn't say how he'll do it!"

"Hey, are you going to work or just yap all day?"

"I'm sorry, guess I'm a little old for this."  

"Look,  Ailes,  you were lucky to get this job!"

"Sorry, sorry, I'll get on it!"

"And one more thing?"

"Yes, boss?"

"When you talk about Melania Trump, take your hand out of your pants!"