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Thursday, February 26, 2009


This just in: even us old time East Oakland shop owners can get fooled. I didn’t have an appointment for my eight o’clock slot this morning, so I was busy writing in the backroom when a neatly dressed woman rushed in the front garage door. She gasped for breath, calling out:

“Excuse meeeeeee… anyone here!?”

Having some experience in the past with kids and teenagers getting chased into my shop, I grabbed the cut off steel rocker arm shaft with taped handle. Cut me some slack. I'm almost sixty. :) I met the woman halfway, watching for pursuers. She grabbed my arm in a pleading manner.

“Please… Highland Hospital called. My Mom’s been in an accident. They’re admitting her right now. Can I borrow two dollars for the bus?”

I admit it. It was early in the morning and I was distracted. Her eyes appeared in the Bat-cave’s lighting to be full of tears and she sported an agonizing look of worry.

“C’mon,” I told her, walking toward my pull-down front door. “I don’t have anyone coming in for an hour. I’ll drive you over. Give me a second to close up.”

“No… I don’t want to be a bother. I’ll take the bus.”

Okay, now the bells are ringing. Hello, Bambi, how many years have you been running this place in East Oakland again? I will be known as Bambi for the rest of this post - a deserved limited title of ridicule.

“It’s no bother. I’ll take you to Highland right now,” Bambi insists.

Gone went the agonized expression. Gone went the tear filled eyes. Her mouth turns up at the corner in either amusement or arrogance. I’m not sure which. It’s an overcast day and I don’t have all the lights on in the Bat-cave. Her pleading arms drop limply to her sides.

“I’ll take a ride down to McArthur,” she tells Bambi matter-of-factly.

“Ah… no, you won’t,” Bambi replies, gesturing for the young woman to hit the bricks.

“You were ready to take me to Highland a moment ago! What’s a quick run to McArthur?”

Incredulously, Ms. Stat’s pleading has evolved into anger at Bambi. Bambi is having none of it.

“Leave now,” Bambi directs, “or I call Oakland PD, and have them give you a ride.”

“&*#$ you!” Ms. Stat tells me and storms out.

Bambi can’t help wishing Connor and Ellie were driving by(my fictional novel Oakland police officers for any newcomers to the blog). Ellie could hop out and give the young woman a nice nudge with her stun gun. On the bright side, Bambi headed into the back room again to post this and continue working on his Connor and Ellie manuscript which is nearing the 70,000 word mark. :)


Jordan Summers said...

Wow, those are elaborate lies. I wouldn't even think to throw that one out there without it being true.

BernardL said...

When there was a crack-house across the street in the late eighties and early to mid nineties, Jordan, I had people come in crying because a mother, husband, wife, aunt, uncle, brother, sister, etc. had died and could I give them five dollars (the going price for a load in the pipe) to get to the funeral. This young woman didn’t come close to the elaborate lies I used to hear. It’s just that Bambi didn’t put his brain in gear before popping out of the underbrush. :)

Beth Partin said...

Amazing what some people will do to get a few bucks. Thanks, Bernard.

BernardL said...

I've given up wondering why people do what they do, Beth. That young lady needs to point those theatrical talents in a different direction - politics for instance. :)

raine said...

I was just about to say, you should've given her the address of a local theater group, lol. Quite a performance.

Don't be so hard on yourself, Bambi. Your reaction was very kind.
(and congrats on the ms progress).

BernardL said...

Thanks, Raine. Bambi forgot when something happens to someone's Mom, they don't stop to get bus fare. They do a Forrest Gump: jump in the ocean, or in this case run to Highland Hospital, or run in the shop and actually ask for a ride to Highland. I kept thinking, all that for two bucks. Maybe when she low balls the bid, she gets a ten or even twenty.

Virginia Lady said...

Wow, for two bucks? Amazing what people will do.

BernardL said...

She fooled me, VL, and that is no easy feat. I imagine people hand over a five, ten, or more when she performs. She's a natural. Too bad they don't have an American Idol acting show. My money would be on her.

Chumplet - Sandra Cormier said...

I get caught almost every time I enter the grocery store. Now I just say I don't carry cash (use my debit card) and if they want a sandwich I'd be happy to bring one out to them at the end of my shopping.

They usually just purse their lips and say no thanks.

BernardL said...

They want the money, Sandra. That's for sure - and it won't be going to buy sandwiches.

Miladysa said...


70,000? WOW - Really looking forward to the book :D

BernardL said...

You will get the whole story, Miladysa, whether it gets published or not. Thank You. :)