Segment 24: When a Third World Came West

I was putting three quarters into the grimy pay phone booth just north of Washington Street and to the south of Miami beach where hookers were already starting to hang out on the corner of fifth near the block and a heavily noisy club on the corner. I was on the phone with my mom keeping her updated to the latest and she was supportive and all ears when I’d told her I was scouting out community colleges around North Dade County, which I had seen a few and scrawled some down on a tiny pad of paper Sam and I had taken from the motel with pink floors three days ago. But really I was just reassuring her that all was well and that we were staying in the Pink Flamingo Inn if she needed to get in touch with me because my cell phone had died two days ago and I couldn’t afford to get another charger for it so I’d stuck it in the grey back pocket of my passengers seat for safe keeping until I figured I’d get a job to put more minutes on it. Hours earlier Sam had passed a restaurant chain where he’d worked at in California and he remembered the tiramisu was good and he walked in to the place and said this to the waiter who at three o’clock gave him an application to fill out and I stood by the door hot in my blue leggings and pull over shirt-dress thinking how hard it was to get minimum-wage employment. And I walked outside looking for other places we could stop by and fill out applications but there was just a gas station north of a parking garage that charged twenty dollars for all day parking and I thought right then where was my car? And I remembered it was back at the motel where I’d given the manager the number to my charge card with the 2200 dollar credit limit and thought oh know my car could be towed if my card didn’t go through and if he’d called the tow company on us. So I asked Sam to hurry back with me to the hotel and I ran ahead of him faster than he could in my flip-flop heels then skirting the sidewalk as I went and turning the corner to two blocks down until I saw my car in the lot in front of a red Mercedes and behind a grey sedan and I hurried further rushing up to the side entrance by a run down bar that wasn’t in service anymore and went around the side watching the pool enviously and tying up with the manager at the counter inside the lobby any loose ends that needed to be taken care of by giving him the second number to my other credit card.

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