"Untitled" a fictional story.
"I don't need a bag" but he robotically places the brown paper bag inside the black plastic. My request echoes in my head as I stare at my late night purchase. I'm not sure if it is the language barrier, the heat, or the hour that stopped the balding man from even acknowledging my presence. Most likely a combination of the three. Something about the emptiness behind his eyes didn't match with the blue tooth headset stapled to the side of his head. I exhale, attempting to let the mild frustration melt off me like the sweat on my neck. But like the sweat, the frustration clings to my subconscious, aided by humidity, and continues to irritate me as I walk out, bags in hand.
I feel like the inconspicuousness of my parcel was lost on anyone who might pass by me. I hate black plastic. It screams. A white plastic bag could contain any number of items. Acceptable purchases are placed in white. The virgin box of cookies, clothed in white, paraded for the entire neighborhood to see. But black is the color of sordid investments. Black plastic is neither discreet nor ostentatious. The black sack hanging at my side oozes of squalid hobbies shamefully acted out behind closed doors. My purchase is only as obscene as the imagination of the other allows.
The walk from store to home is short; A nice walk in Spring, miserable in Summer, invigorating in Fall, and an unmanageable in Winter. The trail takes me past two 24 hour laundromat occupied by hispanic women and children, K's an underground dive, a mattress store that never has anyone in it, a mixture of ethnic restaurants, and several beaten down apartment buildings. It's an old neighborhood, a conveniently forgotten one. As the roaming tamale vender says "Gentrificación no aquí en mi casa". I approach my building. It's residences are almost all asleep. The light of a forgotten lamp, a television projects a dance of colors onto a curtain, and the ever present hum of old air conditioning units; signs of life in an quiet building.
My keys sit firmly in my right pant pocket. I reach in with my free hand and grab the warn leather strap attached to the key ring. On the ring are five keys; the front door, apartment, post office box, storage space, and a safety deposit box located downtown. I am proud of my efficiency with keys, and when I reach for them, a small grin of trivial satisfaction emerges. The simplicity of my pockets contents are known and celebrated only by me, and is something that does not need to be known by others. To them, it might just seem like I'm proud of monotony.
The sound of heals reverberating off the brick and tile seem to be following me as I enter the building. The rhythm of the walk paints a picture in my mind of the owner these shoes. I imagine they are yellow, mostly because I see a lot of women wearing yellow. If Dorothy had been wearing sapphire slippers instead would she have gotten home. I doubt it, and remember that in the novel, Dorothy has slippers made of silver, which I remember enjoying as a child. Does the owner of these shoes have any opinion of the works of Mr. L. Frank Baum? I doubt she would even be able to make to correlation. To busy finding dresses to go with the yellow shoes.