Segment 22: When a Third World Came West

We were driving through a residential neighborhood full of multi-colored turquoise ranch houses and I was going too fast through a school zone that was maximum twenty-five miles an hour and an African-American cop put his lights on and I pulled into the school parking lot with Sam next to me. At first I was mad and I let it be known and then the first time I’d ever see Sam not lose his cool and act calm was when he told me to quiet down, roll down the window, smile and get out my insurance card. But I was pilfering through my whole glove box taking out bills from Firestone for my rear light bulb to be replaced, lists of things that had been broken like my starter, that had been covered by a warranty and that were now fixed. And I found it finally in the pocket of a stitched blue change purse with a butterfly woven in glittered thread and I handed it to the cop waiting with his hand on my window. Kids were being let out of school, little ones in kindergarten all the way up to fifth grade and some were congregating now behind my car and screaming in Spanish to their friends next to a big oak tree with Spanish moss that at least made Sam and I and the cop feel in the shade. My air conditioner had busted somewhere between Fort Lauderdale and here, and now that we weren’t moving and now that there wasn’t air circulating for being by the ocean or just flying by fast speeding on these roads, it was getting humid in here. The cop backed down and said to me to just drive a lot slower, there were kids, little ones around here that didn’t know any better and they could run out into the street at any time. He looked at Sam and I like we might know how this feels someday and then we were off, I was turning right out the parking lot back on our way in North Dade County searching through different apartments that I was going to try and get my parents to sign off on, which I knew they wouuldn’t. So I was just fooling myself thinking that this would all work out. Somewhere along the way Sam and I stopped by this big tower that looked completely out of our league and I stopped anyway, shifted the gear into park and put the parking break up for the hill that we were on. We got out and Sam and I got into an elevator with one of the most gorgeous woman I’d ever seen. She had long curly brown hair and reddish lipstick and a mole above her mouth and she was in a fitted short red dress with a belt around the middle. She was leaning like she was posing against the elevator wall, with a realtor and Sam pretended not to notice her but I was thinking what a great couple they would be. They looked almost like brother and sister. We stepped out of the elevator and onto the seventh floor and a lady with dyed curly brown hair which was receding, walked us to the end of the hall where a man was moving things out of the last apartment to the right. She showed us first the galley kitchen and then the bare living room with fresh carpet, which came right after the kitchen counter and then two bedrooms which split off at oppostite ends at the sliding glass door from the living room. It was perfect. Sam was satisfied and so was I. I reached into my purse and dialed back home right away and the lady led us out of the apartment towards the elevator again. But then before I left the doorway a man stopped us, he was the one moving out and he said that he had put a deposit on this place but that he was changing his mind because they’d did a shabby paint job, but I didn’t care and I thanked him and we walked out anyway.


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