From Ian Blake's "Church of the Poisoned Mind," Fall '95 The department store was packed, people were fussing and fighting over purchasing inanimate objects that were in all likelihood going to be returned in a few days anyway. It was Christmas Eve, and I was frantically searching for that "special gift" to give my girl. Okay, she wasn't my girl?yet! But, with the crumpled twenty some odd dollars I had scrapped together by rummaging through my apartments' sofa and "guilt tripping" my mother, that diamond necklace was as good as mine/her's. At first, I didn't pay much attention to the garbled message of the department store's public address system because I was concentrating on purchasing "the perfect gift." Of course, being a realist, the twenty dollars I possessed fell just a little out of the costumed jewelry price range. Cubic zirconias might as well be real diamonds when one has only a few dollars to spend, so I was off to a more choicer (read: cheaper) section of the store. I was rummaging through a few stylish purses in the Women's Accessories Department (actually, I was looking for one with a reasonable price tag), when this leather jacket clad, white male ambled along side me and began fondling the purses on the rack directly adjacent to mine. We made brief eye contact, then being the macho guys that we were, continued our separate tasks. Personally, I was embarrassed, being the man's man that I am. It wasn't easy for me to venture into the female section of the store, let alone purchase a woman's item. But, I was desperate, and my prospective wife deserved the best money could buy. So my machismo went on temporary hold as I jostled with other women for that perfect purse. At that moment, my leather clad companion did the unthinkable. He spoke to me. "Say, man, don't you think these prices are down right bogus? I got a good mind to just lift one of these suckers right on out of here without shellin' out a nickel!" As he finished this declaration, I turned, looked him up and down and cracked a slight smile from the outer rim of my face. I wasn't smiling because I was thinking about what he had said, I was smiling because this fellow shopper's walkie-talkie was peering out from just underneath his jacket. You guessed it-- I was talking to a member of the "department store fuzz." I looked up and down the aisle and realized that besides this store detective, I was the only other Mr. in the aisle. I also remembered the "see Mr. Brown in aisle seven" announcements. Sadly, the pieces of the puzzle began to fall into place. The announcement had been a euphemism for, "suspected black male shoplifter in aisle seven." I surmised this in the span of 15 seconds and almost burst into a fit of melancholic laughter. This rent-a-cop was trying to cajole me into stealing. I say I almost laughed, but as the reality hit me, I was overcome with despair. The holiday spirit quickly left me. Now there was only one thought on my mind, VENGEANCE. The smile was still spray painted on my face as I slid over to him and said in the highest effeminate voice I could muster, "You know, my boyfriend has pretty blue eyes, but yours are prettier. You don't have to steal that purse, I'll buy it for you if you'd like." As I said this, I caressed his arm lovingly and rubbed his back. Picture this, a huge black man with a high pitched voice touching and making loud advances to a white leather clad male in the middle of Macy's. Pretty scary stuff, huh. The detective looked at me like he was going to throw-up. I probably spoke a little too loud, because people were beginning to stare. But I didn't care, my Macy's adventure had begun. The detective, abruptly rejected my offer, and beat a hasty retreat out of aisle seven, but "Mr. Brown" wasn't going to let this fish get away. I snatched up the purse I had decided to buy and bounded after my new boyfriend. "Hi my name is Toni, what's yours?" I said. Again, picture this, a huge black man switching up and down a department store making loud advances to a white man dressed in leather. I know, still pretty scary. Anyway, I skipped around the store with him for two minutes still offering to buy him the purse. I finally, tired of the charade, and as we passed a large group of onlookers, I loudly declared, "This gentleman wanted me to steal a purse for him, and he stole a radio that's hidden underneath his jacket, quick, SOMEBODY CALL SECURITY!" The store detective's face turned holiday festive red, then he shouted, "I am store security!" A thunderstorm was coming. The day was getting late, and it was time to go. My rhetorical civil rights lesson had been effectively taught. The warm rain felt good as it rolled down my face while I left the store laughing to myself. My Macy's performance had been so hilarious, God had been driven to tears. I wonder if I'll ever see my boyfriend again. It's probable, if not, there will always be "others" waiting for Mr. Brown in aisle seven.Comments powered by Disqus
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