Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Loaf

In Texas, I worked at an ice house,
for a cranky old New York transplant.

Little black kid brought pennies for a loaf--
old man blew up at him, chased him to the door.

Kid pushed, door stayed, face so scared.
I said "pull", he did, just in time.

Old man raised a newspaper rack at him, but I caught it from behind.
Kid went hungry.
_______

66 words for Words Count with Mama Zen.

In the early 80s, I had a job in a not very great neighborhood at a 7-11 type store. Texans call them ice houses. The owner worked the night shift with me, and he hated the locals. This little boy put all pennies on the counter for a loaf of bread, and this man took it as the boy messing with him, but the pennies were probably all he had. That was thirty years ago but I never forgot it. I've always wondered, if I hadn't been there to stop him, if he really would have brained that little boy with the newspaper rack over some pennies. I kind of suspect that boy never forgot that night, either.

20 comments:

TexWisGirl said...

sad. that encounter probably did stay with that kid, just as it did with you.

Kay L. Davies said...

Oh, shit, Shay, this made me cry. How could a grown man treat a child that way? I remember the 60s, and I thought things had improved by the 80s, but I guess I was wrong.
Pushing on a door that needs pulling is one of the things that always makes me feel helpless and stupid. Add terror to that, and I'm sure that boy still remembers how awful he felt in that store.
K

Kay L. Davies said...

PS, I love the photo of Catblossom in her scarf.

Mama Zen said...

God, how sad. Why must people be such assholes?

G-Man said...

And that little boys name was Will Smith.
Later on when he grew up, he crept into the old man's room
and smothered him in his sleep with his own pillow.
The coroner said he died of natural causes....

Cloudia said...

What we do in the moment can live on always! Glad you are you.



ALOHA from Honolulu
Comfort Spiral
=^..^= <3



HermanTurnip said...

"Loaf" is a funny word.

That withstanding, I liked the raw emotions you were able to convey with a limited palate. It was as if this piece was an actual internal monologue going on in somebodies head. Very well done!

Sherry Blue Sky said...

This poem - and event - packs a gut-punch and the brief word count makes it hit home even harder.

I hadnt noticed Catblossom and her haiku deflecting scarf till Kay mentioned it. I love it!

hedgewitch said...

Thank goddess you were there, Shay, though who knows what would have happened as you say--people snap sometimes, and then the consequences can get out of hand, and so out of proportion to the event. This reminds me of the days when I paid for my popsicles with the deposits on bottles I collected, and how patient the old Jewish storekeepers always were as they accepted my barter system. Being poor is no joke.

hedgewitch said...

LMAO at the scarf!

humbird said...

Sad story penned in short frame - I saw this scene!
P.S. LOve Cat and scarf too.

Sioux said...

What a powerful story, Shay.

Margaret said...

This is a heart wrenching story... Leaves me wondering what you said? Perhaps you were too young. My poem I wrote was based on a much younger self - I can only imagine what I would say today... as I wouldn't remain quiet.

grapeling said...

yeah. f*kr. glad you were there, too. you do in brush strokes what takes others reams.

Marcoantonio Arellano said...

gives me pause to recall when I was a little tot in a large city, Indy in 1959 just brought over by mamasita from Medico, I walked into a store to get a candy. An old large bald guy behind the counter would not take my nickle. His young son also behind the counter came around the counter took me by the scruf of my neck and pushed me outside the door turned around but not before he punched me in the stomach. I thought I was going to die, couldn't breath. I cried because my nickle was still on the counter. Looked through the closed glass and the old man and the mean young guy were inside laughing.

Didn't learn till a little older I was in a neighborhood where the John Birch society was founded and the KKK was quite prevalent. Sad!!!! I see some shadow or closeted resemblences being manifested now days

Kerry O'Connor said...

This makes me sad. Sometimes a job can get to a person and drain them of their humanity. And sometimes people are just awful human beings.

Susan said...

What happened to the pennies? This boss is a thief as well as a heartless brute! Glad you were there, glad you are telling the story.

Lynn said...

I'm glad you were there to help, FB!

Helen said...

My hero .........

Susie Clevenger said...

How awful...it was great you were there.