The Layover

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: August 27, 2018

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Submitted: August 27, 2018

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The Layover

By Kent Osborn

 

Roger was due for another long layover in the O'hare airport in Chicago--but this time he wasn’t mad about it, oh no.  Quite the opposite.  He had something to occupy his time.

He remembered very well when he had been trapped in this airport last thanksgiving, with nothing to do for nearly twelve hours.  Ever since that dreadfully boring time, he had promised himself that would never happen again.  For twelve hours, he was forced to sit in the airport and drink $5 waters and  eat an overpriced chinese plate for $15--not only was it expensive, it didn’t even taste that good. 

From that agonizing day onward, he made a vow that if he were ever forced to remain in this airport, or any other, for a long period of time he would bring a project to work on; this time he did.  Did he ever.

Before he arrived at O'hare, he had planned ahead.  He had planned a master scheme.  Roger had stopped at the Dollar Store and picked up a bunch of granola bars, chips, nuts, and packs of gum, and even a bunch of key chains that said Cubs, Bears and Chicago, the Windy City on them.  He also purchased a small folding chair and a folding table from the Big Ten camping store.  Lastly, he stopped by the Goodwill and purchased a black collared shirt, a black hat, a clipboard, and a pair of black shoes.  He had already brought a nametag with him from his previous job, and he knew that with all these professional things combined he would trick them all.  He would make up for all that money he had lost last fall, oh yes he would.

Roger was only slightly nervous when going through the metal detector that they would find his snack and gift collection and question him about it. But he played it cool and cracked jokes with the security guards. He was sure that this had helped him float by without issues. Once he was on the other side of the metal detector all the colors seemed to brighten, and he saw more smiles around him, heard more children laughing.  He thought he felt the way that most immigrants feel when they finally get to North America and see the streets paved with golden opportunity.  

When he looked at the other merchants selling overpriced water and snacks, he didn’t look on them with disgust and hatred, but rather comradeship and brotherhood.  They, with their ridiculously overpriced snacks, drinks and souvenirs,  they were the ones who made it possible for him to charge so much for his merchandise.  They were the ones who made him look normal here, and made it possible for him to become very, very rich.

  He strolled through the terminals with a jig in his step and a slight smirk tugging at his lips.  Why hadn’t he thought of this before?  Why hadn’t anyone thought of this?  He looked at all of the customers standing in line buying their snacks.  The fools, he thought.  The money-burning, fools!  Yes, he had been one of these fools once, but since he had evolved, he had transcended the limitation of his old self.  He had been like them, the mindless consumers.  But now he would service them, as a vigilante airport merchant.

As he walked through the terminals he scanned the area, looking for that perfect spot to set up his shop.  His display wouldn’t take up much room, so there were many options where he could set up.  But he needed a spot that felt just right.  The spot that he would fit into as perfectly as a shiny new contact lens on a moist eyeball. There!  He saw it.  It was ideal. It was a ten by ten spot sandwiched between the Dunkin Donuts and Windy Walnuts snack shop. Business seemed steady here, and it looked like the managers on either side were busy balancing the books and giving orders to their crews.  They wouldn’t have time or desire to see him setting up. The coast was clear, as clear a wine glass fresh out of the dishwasher.

Roger put his name tag on first, gave it a little flick with his index finger and stared down at it with pride.  It was his old name tag from when he worked at Staples, but he had craftily painted a new business name on it: Bo-Bo’s Grab an Go.  It had a clever ring and he knew it did.  Instead of Roger, his new name tag said Bo-Bo, which had a fun, perky, and personable sound that he knew everyone--children, adults, and the elderly---could relate to and love.  He also had a fake mustache that he had made out of the fur torn off of a stuffed animal of a brown moose. Though he never could grow his own mustache fully, he knew that everyone loved them, including himself.  Children liked mustaches because Santa Claus had one, women liked them because it suggested a man’s virility, and other men respected a man with a mustache because gruff characters from the wild west typically had them.  Roger was already wearing his professional clothes.  He was ready to go.

Now all he had to do what set up shop and start stacking up dollar bills.  He removed his small folding table and the chair and sat down. He pulled his head partway inside of his shirt and adhered the mustache with some glue and then popped his head out.  He put on his baseball cap and breathed in a deep breath of air. 

Confidence inflated in his chest and his chin lifted, his eyes staring into the fluorescent lights overhead.  He felt like an entrepreneur for the first time, like a hero, like a man who takes a bull by the horns and kisses it on the lips.  

Filled with this spirit of tremendous brilliance, he pulled out his merchandise from his bag and started to display it on his table.  Though these snacks were factory made and of inferior quality, he looked at them pridefully.  They, humble as they were, would make him filthy rich. He carefully arranged the snacks into rows, color coordinating them as best he could.  As the table was small it didn’t take long until it was filled up with merchandise.  He was ready for business.

He smiled winningly at the people who walked by, and he could tell they were impressed by his mustache, his professional outfit, and his body language which clearly said Let's do this!  Yes, his store might have been small and had limited options compared to the others, but he had something that they lacked--spirit, and a whole lot of it.

In less than two minutes, a mother and daughter walked near him and looked at his table.  
“Excuse me, sir,” the woman said, looking at the table and then at him.  “Is this a store? It’s not like the others.”  

“It most certainly is, Maim.  It’s a legit business endorsed by the O'hare International Airport.  Yes, it’s a bit smaller presentation, but that’s because it’s a sporty, pop-up design, all the rage these days in LA and New York, but hasn’t caught on in the midwest airports.  It’s called Bo-Bo’s Grab and Go, and I am Bo-Bo himself.  He flicked his nametag and then held out his hand to the woman and she shook it and smiled nervously and looked at her daughter. 

“Well honey, do you see anything you like?” she said.  “Yes, Mommy I want the chips and the gum...that pink one!”  

“Very well, dear,” she said, pulling out her wallet and removing $20.

“That’ll be $10, maim,” he said giving her the change with a smile.  She smiled and handed the snacks to her daughter and nodded at Roger.  “Well, thank you...Mr. Bo-Bo, sir.  Good bye now,” she said, and they walked away.

Roger looked down at the $20 bill, the first sale, he had made.  He had purchased the gum and chips for a dollar each and sold them at $10, meaning he made a $8 profit.  It had been easy, almost too easy.  Roger closed his eyes and imagined himself wearing a fine silk bath robe, surrounded by well groomed poodles and receiving a massage from a gorgeous japanese woman.  Yes, he thought, the future is clear now.  

When he opened his eyes he saw that he had a line of customers and they were pulling out their wallets and had cash in hand, ready to make purchases.  They seemed in a rush, in a rush to make him rich, that is.  
Key chains, chips, granola bars flew off his miniature table and he hardly had time to rest.  His wallet was growing thick with money, and his inventory was running low. 

Nearly an hour later, he had a moment to rest and count his money, which he was happy to do.  He had nearly made $600.  He looked at his watch, and it was 4pm, his flight was 3 hours away.  Whew, he thought.  Time flies when you are having fun.  Time flies when you are getting stinking rich! 

He looked at the other snack shops around them.  They were selling well, too, but the cashiers were not able to keep those huge profits.  Most of them worked at minimum wage, though they deserved more.  Who was collecting these huge dividends? No one knew. Most likely, they were mysterious, overweight, cigar-smoking men in dark penthouses, that’s who.  He knew what it was like to be one of those workers, one of those cogs in the corporate machine.  It didn’t feel good. It didn’t feel good at all.  Perhaps he could help them, he thought.  Maybe he could free them from this life of drudgery and servitude. He could give them something to live for, dream for, die for.  Well, not the dying part, but all the rest...yes!  He could!  But how…

Roger stroked his mustache contemplatively and took out his clip board. There was something satisfying about having a clipboard.  It made him feel smart, like he was tracking information that the majority was oblivious to.  He jotted down some notes, tallied up some numbers, drew a picture of a T Rex, and practiced his 3D drawing skills, making floating cubes and a city scene.  This all was fun but suddenly a thought struck him like the lightning bolt that struck Ben Franklin: I’m almost out of merchandise, and I am supposed to fly soon!  

This glorious dream would end prematurely.  He would be on the plane soon, flying away from the get-rich-quick fantasy dream world. Then his tight-lips turned into a loose smile.  No, he thought.  It doesn’t have to be this way.  I can turn this dream into a reality.  But it would require a lot of faith. He would have to believe in himself like Thomas the Train had decades before.  
Roger removed the airline ticket from his pocket and stared at it with annoyment as though it were a parking ticket.  This plane ticket shackled him to that old world, the world of the slaves.  But he was done with that world.  He had options, yes...He could go back to the dollar store, buy a bunch more snacks and come back to the airport in time to get back in the terminal.  But this would mean missing his plane.  This would be a bold move, the boldest he had made in his whole life, but it was worth it.  He held the ticket before him and, closing his eyes, visualized that it was iron chains, and with the verve of his belief in freedom he tore the ticket in half, and then tore it again and again, the scraps falling to his feet like so many snowflakes.  He kicked the pile of ripped paper away from him. Winter was over and spring had come.  Flowers were on their way.

Roger packed up the remaining merchandise, and left the airport and was soon in a taxi.  It wasn’t like him to get in a cab like this.  The old Roger would have taken a bus or a train to save money.  But the new Roger knew that great abundance was on the way.  His butt hurt as he sat on his overstuffed wallet.  He removed it and looked at it like it with an arched eyebrow.  His wallet was huge, impregnated with money until the seams threatened to break.  He would need to buy a few more wallets at the dollar store, he knew.  He had better prepare for the huge quantity of money that was to come.

When he was at the dollar store he filled up the cart glibly as though he was on a limitless shopping spree.  The other customers and workers there could feel his freedom, his sense of boundless jubilance and glee. Some admired him, some envied him, and most felt a mix of these two emotions. 

It didn’t take long until was back in a cab again, racing to the airport.  In the back of the seat, he carefully packed the snacks into his suitcase, which was a tight squeeze. He had to press the lid down to zip it up.  He was soon back at the metal detectors.  The security eyed him curiously this time, as they had recognized him returning again, but there was nothing they could do but pat him down and let him go through as he had his boarding pass in hand.  Nothing could stop him now.  He was a butterfly emerged.  No cocoon could contain him.

He was back at the spot for his makeshift storefront, but this time there was something strange in the air.  He knew that he would face challenges.  It wouldn’t be so easy, like it was before.  But he was ready for anything, especially when he put on his nametag and mustache again.  Bo-Bo felt unstoppable.

After his table and merchandise were set-up he waited his first customers, but the terminal was more empty this time.  No one came for some time, and he felt and eerie sense of failure and distress sneaking in. But he knew that if he thought about this too much it would only attract more failure, so he did something to keep his mood up--draw more dinosaurs.  Yes, in this way he was quickly able to forget all that pessimism and it seemed to be working, as an elderly man and a middle-aged woman came up to him and bought some snacks and a key chain.  

Holding that money in his hand, his courage blazed forth again, and he could feel the warmth of his spiritual flame attracting customers to him.  Soon a line started to form before him again, and he gladly sold dozens of snacks, his wallet growing fat again, this time his inventory remained stocked, and he knew that it had been worth it, that he had won, that believing in himself was worth it, that….that--and then it happened.

The last customer in that long line of customers was not a customer at all--it was the manager of the neighboring Dunkin Donuts.  He stood before Roger with arms crossed, wearing an expression like he had smelled Roger cut the cheese.  Roger smiled at the man warmly, yet he couldn’t hide his nervousness, so he reached for a pack of gum and opened it, pulling out a piece.  Once the gum was in his jaws, he felt his mustache bobbing in rhythm with his chewing and he felt more at ease.

“Just what are you doing here...Bo-Bo, is it?” the man said, looking at his name tag doubtfully.

“I’m working hard, and glad to take a break.  I was just thinking of going over to get a donut and a coffee to dunk it in.  Fine product you folks have over there.  Real fine.” Roger could tell that this flattery fell on deaf ears, but he didn’t let the man’s sour face get to him.  Can I interest you in a snack, sir?”

“No you can not.  What you can do is tell me who endorsed you being here.  Where is your paperwork for being in this spot?  You can do it right away or I will call the police.  I see through your dirty trick here, and it’s not going to last.”  The Dunkin Donuts manager glared at him and did not flinch.

Roger saw that the man was trying to transmit his stress and heat his blood, but Bo-Bo didn’t play along.  Bo-Bo remained as cool as a sea breeze whisping through a jazz club on a summer night.  The man saw that Bo-Bo was unaffected by his accusations, and this made him doubt if he had spoke wrongly, and his eyes flicked over to his business, wondering if he should return.

“I like the way you talk...Peter, is it?” Bobo asked.  “You speak clearly and firmly.  You are the kind of man who takes control.  You are an entrepreneur in spirit.  You are the kind of man that is a true man, not some child to be bossed around by some corporate overlords.  I can see that as clear as day.  How long have you been working for Dunkin’ Donuts?”

“Well…” the man thought. “It’s no business of yours,” he said at last, his tight anger loosened a moment, but then he was suddenly upset again.

“Just answer my question, and I’ll answer yours.  You aren’t afraid to tell me, are you?” Roger asked.

“Going on twelve years now,”  the man said gruffly.

“Twelve years, that’s good.  That’s a long time that you’ve shown your commitment and service.  They trust you.  I trust you. I’m very good at sensing a worthwhile person and I am certain you are one. And I want to make you a deal that can make you rich--filthy rich,” Roger said, removing his overstuffed wallet and removing a hundred dollar bill.  He folded this neatly and shoved it in the man’s breast pocket.  

“I can see your shop is getting busy now, so why don’t you run on back. When you have a break come back and we can chat a little more about my proposal.”

The man looked at the Dunkin Donuts store.  Roger was right.  His co-workers needed him.  Peter seemed flummoxed, peeved, but also, deep down, energized.  He nodded his head quickly and walked back to the shop without another word.  Roger adjusted his name tag to maintain its straightness and combed his mustache with his fingernails.  He restocked the snacks at his table and organized them neatly, folding his legs and braiding the fingers of his two hands together as he awaited the next customer.

 

 

Chapter 2

 

Bo-bo got into the zone of selling with ease once again.  This was in his blood.  He was a natural.  As he sold the snacks and collected the money, he was able to maintain his charm and grace, all the while allowing his mind to roam to more expansive subjects.  He loved what was happening in the present moment, yet he couldn’t help but to extrapolate, to plot and plan his beautiful future. For a moment he imagined heavenly visions of luxury as he had before, but these thoughts were interrupted by ones more fearful in quality. 

There would be others like  the manager of Dunkin’ Donuts, others that would try to shoot him down out of sheer jealousy of his freedom. Sure, the manager of the donut shop was already in his pocket, subdued into docility by the crisp, folded hundred dollar bill. He would do his best to bribe and recruit them, but a day would come when one of them couldn’t be corrupted by money.  

This person, the incorruptible one, would come, and Bo-Bo knew that he may as well plan for this moment.  In his mind’s eye, Bo-bo saw the silhouette of the incorruptible one.  Bo-bo despised this faceless one from the future.  The wheels in his mind turned as he thought of ways that he could prepare for and defeat this person.  

Bo-bo stroked his mustache shrewdly and saw that bits of it were coming off.  This damaged his ego something fierce, and he felt that he were slowly being neutered.  This was a most painful symbol—his confidence and his dream was falling apart one hair at a time.  The customers who came to him seemed to pick up on his curdled emotional state. They saw right through his forced smile and thinning mustache.  They could see its patchiness, and could see the sheen of glue on his upper lip where the hairs no longer were adhered.  

Subconsciously, Roger sent out symbols of shame and weakness, not making eye contact with those who passed him by.  These potential customers felt this and kept their distance from him.  They were soon served by other snack shops who were more receptive and eager to receive them. As time passed, fewer and fewer customers came to Bo-bo’s Grab n’ Go.  His cheery attitude had left as well as the customers who had been attracted by it.  They beheld him just as he felt, an unsuccessful outcast.

With little to no business, Roger tossed his worried head from side to side.  This rubber-necking inevitably brought his gaze to meet Peter’s, standing behind the Dunkin’ Donuts counter.  Peter quickly picked up on Roger’s lack of faith in himself, and it made his anger and distrust return.  Earlier, Roger had won the Dunkin’ Donuts manager over, had whisked him away beneath a magic carpet of charisma, a future of bounty and providential partnership.  But now Roger’s dour temperament was turning that flying carpet into a soiled doormat, and he was about to be walked all over.

At any moment Peter might turn him in, balling up the hundred dollar bill he had been given and throwing it at the gravestone of Bo-bo’s Grab n’ Go.  Roger’s mind dashed about like a starved old greyhound on its last legs.  As his mind panted and raced, so, too, did his fingers, raking through what remained of his mustache as though he might find an answer or a gold nugget in there if he kept looking—yet all that he accomplished was removing more of the hairs from his already patchy mustache.  The hairs fell steadily down onto his shoes, falling from his face like autumn leaves from a tree branch hit by a bitter cold, early winter wind.

  This depressed him to see, yet he kept fiddling with his mustache anyway, like one mindlessly scratching at an already bleeding mosquito bite.  He suddenly noticed that the glue on his upper lip was getting under his fingernail.  He stopped suddenly, slumping his shoulders in defeat.  He sat this way for a good minute as though he were a mannequin in an foreclosed department store.

And then, as if jolted by electricity, he sat bolt upright.  He looked at the people walking by.  He was no longer Bo-Bo.  He was merely Roger.  Now everyone would know who he really was--who he had been all along.  He looked at the workers across the way.  Roger looked at Peter.  The Dunkin’ Donuts manager scowled at him like a spiteful grade school teacher who was contemplating the many ways to deal out his punishment.

 

 

Chapter 3

 

They could all see that his mustache, his business, and he himself was fake.  Roger realized that the end was drawing near.  He stared at the 7-11 kiosk across the way, his eyes fixating on that ubiquitous logo until his eyes grew dry.  

He looked at the clerk working behind the counter, rushing to add up the total for a few bags of chips and a soda.  The clerk looked only half-alive, like a robot or a zombie or a computer animated imitation of a human. Roger looked from the half-alive worker to the 7-11 logo.  He thought about the old, greedy men who were profiting from all the sales that his worker bee made.  

Roger looked over at Peter and knew that he too had sacrificed nearly two decades of his life working for similar corporate scum lords.  Sure, Peter had advanced to being a manager, but the truth remained that he was still being managed, still following the rules given to him by some shadowy elite sitting in large skyscrapers.  Peter had been content by climbing some illusory ladder within the business, pacified by being called a “manager” and being able to order around his employees and give them menial jobs.  But was Peter any more free than they were, really?  Certainly not. 

Gazing at the 7-11 logo again, Bo-Bo grinned.  He had an idea. Staring at the 7-11 logo, he started to stroke his mustache again.  His optimism bloomed, his heart started pounding, and he showed his teeth as he smiled largely.  He kept stroking the mustache, and felt that his upper lip was nearly bare now, but this was okay, yes this was meant to be!

Yes, he thought, Let the disguise fall away. I don’t need it anymore.  I have transcended it!  I don’t need it anymore.  It served its place, like flower petals.  But the petals must fall in order for a plant to bear fruit.  So it is with me and my future.  So it will be.

Bo-bo clapped his hands and nearly shouted ‘Eureka’ but restrained himself.  Now he knew how he would win—this plan required him to become trickier than he ever imagined possible.

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 4

“As true power evolves and expands, it often becomes less overt and more subtle.  True power does not require brute force. A glance, a raised finger, or a nod of the head by a wise person can be more influential than any fist or gun.”  

 

These words echoed in Bobo’s head, yet they were not his own invention but something he had read or heard somewhere long ago.  He knew that these words were true.  Those who were truly powerful did not need to display it explicitly.  They simply are powerful, and in knowing this they remain subtle.

As much fun as Bobo had had in starting up his Grab N’ Go business, buying the materials, designing and printing the logos, picking and wearing the costume, he knew that it had been more fun than anything.  It had been pomp and circumstance and was unnecessary.  But all was not lost.  The business called Bo-Bos Grab N’ Go had had its day.  It had crumbled as Rome had before it, but only its name and guise would fall away—its spirit would transmigrate and remain in the airport. Sure the Grab N’ Go business was done, but Bo-Bo would remain in spirit.  When Roger felt like a winner, he became Bo-Bo, though this title remained in his own head from then on. 

 

Yes, Bo-Bo could still do it. He could still capitalize here, taping the unrelenting geyser of riches that surged forth from the airport market. But he would have to be a wolf in sheep’s clothing. He would have to open up a new kiosk, posing as a well-known chain business like 7-11 or some such place.  No one would ever suspect him then.  In this way, he would reign as victor!

Smirking with triumph, Bo-Bo rubbed off the remainder of his mustache and started to pack up his kiosk.  As he did so, he imagined himself at Office Max, printing out posters of 7-11.  He would have to seek out a 7-11 uniform in good will or in an online store. He would have to make sure his presentation was believable, and polished, and this would take time and focus.  But fortunately, Bo-Bo once again had money to invest in this brave and brilliant endeavor.  

Peter watched Bo-Bo packing up his kiosk but didn’t say anything.  He knew that the invitation Bo-Bo had extended had been taken back.  Peter would just go back to what he knew. Another twenty years at Dunkin’ Donuts and then he would retire and feed the pigeons in the park until they packed him off to some nursing home where he awaited his death in front of a television doped up on pain-pills.  It was better this way.  It was the safe and normal thing to do.

Chapter 5

 

It took Bo-Bo four days to gather all of the materials necessary to materialize his fake 7-11 business and when he was done he hardly had enough money to get a taxi to the airport. He took a bus instead  and during this long ride a swarm of butterflies flew around in his stomach.  If, for whatever reason, this plan didn’t work, he would have nothing, except the posters, clothes, and various 7-11 props that he had invested in.  He glanced intermittently at the other passengers on the bus—an evangelist christian manically reading the Bible aloud, a skin scratching crack addict, a pregnant teenager and her boyfriend who looked like a hard drug-dealer, a foggy-eyed, senile homeless man muttering conspiracy theories to himself—their lifestyles might be as hopeful as his if he didn’t succeed.  

Bo-Bo closed his eyes, and saw himself succeeding, setting up the kiosk, making loads of money, everything working out well. He visualized various aspects of the forthcoming abundance, the smell of the money, the tightness of the fat wad in his pockets, the loose way in which he made purchases and tipped waiters. Yet every time he imagined these scenarios, the face of a girl he had never met kept interrupting his visions. He wondered,  Who was she?  Why did she keep returning? She wore a uniform of some sort, but the details were hazy.  The reoccurrence of her face in his mind seemed too clear and concrete to be happenstance.  He would see this girl one day soon, he knew. 

When he arrived at the airport he was once again excited, yet there was something in the air that was different, but he couldn’t quite place what it was.  And then it hit him--he had no airplane ticket, and no money to buy one.  Without a boarding pass they would never let him past the metal detectors.  He was screwed.  What could he do?  

Roger frowned and sat on a bench.  People rushed by him on their way to their destinations.  They had direction.  They had purpose.  He had none.  He sat here in a daze for maybe an hour, his mind blank, his frown frozen on his face.  He wanted to cry and he felt like a big baby.  All the sounds of the plane announcements, people talking, laughing, arguing--all these sounds blurred together into a drone.  The sound of his own beating heart filled his awareness, and he thought of the blood beating in his veins.  Nothing with stop me, he thought.  I will give my lifeblood to realize this vision. Thinking this, it was just a metaphor at first, and then he realized that he could do this quite literally. He could donate plasma in order to raise the money for the plane ticket.  It would take a week or two and he would be able to make the purchase.

Bo-Bo clapped his hands and jumped up, walking gleefully to the bus stop.  As he rode the bus home, he fell into a daze and soon was asleep.  In this day dream he saw a vision of the mysterious girl again.  Her image accompanied him the next two weeks as he donated plasma and slowly earned enough money for the ticket.  He was both enchanted by this strange girl as well as afraid of her.  What was her significance?

 

Chapter 6

 The time had come.  Bo-Bo had returned.  What he had lost in weight and plasma, he had regained spiritual fervor.  He was strong in ways he had never felt before.  He had his ticket in hand and was walking to the metal detectors, his suitcase neatly packed with his faux 7-11 poster, snacks and beverages.  Carried by a wind of invincibility, Bo-Bo walked through the security zone and metal detectors as though he were walking into his own birthday or graduation party.  He acted as though he knew everyone, and that everyone he saw loved and missed him.

Soon enough, he found a good spot to set up his new kiosk, with power outlets nearby and a good amount of space around it, and it was far enough away from the next 7-11 to seem believable. He was able to set up his booth quickly and was pleased by the presentation—it was nearly identical in appearance to the other 7-11 kiosks that he had seen. No one would ever knew the difference.  

Bo-Bo was a genius and he knew it—he was a trailblazer, a risk-talker, a virtuous imposter who now held this corporate logo hostage, secretly demanding ransom.  He was here to collect.

Bo-Bo quickly set up his faux 7-11 booth, put on his uniform and nametag. He set up the snacks in mere minutes, and soon found himself back in the groove of selling.  This was the same groove that he had known when working in his Grab N’ Go. Once again he found himself intoxicated by a sense of unstoppable gusto and verve, and he could not help but fantasize about his future.  As he sold snack after snack, his wallet steadily fattened up.  

Slender though he was now, Roger visualized himself fat and merry laying in a hammock on a paradise tropical island.  He would lay there eating t-bone steaks and sirloins as he had his feet massaged, smoking fat cigars and drinking fruity mixed drink with tiny umbrellas.  He lost track of time as his mind floated in these fancies. This timeless space shattered abruptly as he now saw her standing before him.  She had come.

 

Chapter 6

 

It was the girl he had had seen in repeated visions.  She was now standing before him, eying him calmly yet intently.  She had to be Latin or perhaps Asian, and was nearly two feet shorter than Bo-Bo.  She was tiny compared to him, yet she had a commanding and sober focus that struck a chord of fear in Roger.  He blinked a few times when he noticed she was wearing a 7-11 polo shirt, like his own.  Beneath the counter of the kiosk, Roger’s fingers fidgeted, his palms grew warm and sweaty. 

She did not look like a manager of 7-11, indeed she was around five years younger than Roger. Yet the cool expression she wore, arching her eyebrows, a subdued grin tugging one corner of her mouth, made her seem in control of the situation.  Adding to her sense of superiority, Roger found her to be quite beautiful in a natural way.  Her full lips were were pouting out slightly as though they wanted to be kissed, at least that’s what Roger thought. 

“A new kiosk opened up, I see,” she said. “Are you the manager here?” she asked, still grinning slightly.  Roger paused before answering, his toe-tapped as he thought of what to say.

“Yes.  Yes I am!” he said.  “Roger is my name.  And yours?”

“Estella.  I work right down the way.  By gate 26,” she said, gesturing in the distance. 

“That’s nice,” he said.  “It looks like we are neighbors, then.”  She stepped back and observed his kiosk.  

“Looks good,” she said.  “Very convincing.”  Roger swallowed hard.  His legs shook against his will.

“Look,” she said, raising her eyebrows in a bored manner.  “I’m just going to get right to it.  You aren’t as clever as you think you are.  What you have done here today has been going on for a long time. It’s not unique, Roger.”

“What…What do you mean?” Roger asked, but his resistance was weak and they both knew it.

“Save me the effort, Roger.  No one lies to me and gets away with it.  That’s why the tops hired me. You might be able to trick some people, but you won’t be able to get away with any of that with me,” she said flatly.

Roger inhaled deeply and then sighed deeply, his posture sagging visibly. 

“I’ll let you know something.  About a third of the businesses in this airport are like yours—fakes.  People have been doing this for at least ten years now.  None of the customers know—how would they?  But those who work here can tell.  It’s easy to spot a fake here.”  Roger looked like he had bitten his tongue by accident, so pained and shocked he was to hear this. He scanned the shops in the distance.  Considering how one in three of them were fakes.

“I don’t believe you,” he said.  “A  big corporation like 7-11 would never let an imposter go.  They’d be too concerned that the fakes would do things wrongly and give them a bad name.”

Estella laughed and wrinkled her nose as though she were about to sneeze and then brushed it away.  

“That’s what you think.  Money can make almost anyone shut up, especially a large corporation.  They care about nothing more than making lots of money quickly, trust me. I know them well.  In the event that something goes wrong with one of the fakes--they sell a stale product or wrong a customer in someway, well then the imposter will be revealed for who he is—a fake in disguise.  Of course the corporation will not admit they had any sort of alliance or association with the imposter.”

“So what are you saying with all of this?  7-11 is going to blackmail me so I can stay here?  I’ll have to pay some sort of imposter tax?”

Estella nodded her head and leaned a little closer. “You are aren’t as dumb as you look.  Yes, they require an imposter tax, and I am here to collect that tax,” she said.

“You?  But you must be younger than I am!  You probably just want to pocket the money.  I don’t know you work for them.”  The girl wore the cool patience of a zen master or a children’s social worker, willing to wait hours for Roger to express himself fully and calm down again before she spoke.  When his temper relaxed, they both looked at each other in silence.  

“I assure you, Roger.  I do represent the corporation, and I have been sent to collect the dividend that is owed to us, which is $1,500.”

“$1,500?!  Are you kidding me?  That’s absurd.  I don’t have that much!” Roger exclaimed.

“Oh no?  Very well, we will simply collect half of that amount now and the rest later on, when you have it,” she said nonchalantly, yawning as though this conversation were a matter of routine that she had grown tired of long ago. 

“Oh, will you?”  laughed Roger with a challenging air.

“Roger, rest assured we have been closely monitoring you today and we are very aware of how much money you have made already.  Neither of us have time for these petty arguments.  We both have important business to attend to, after all,” she said, wiping tears from her eyes that the yawning had produced.  Roger still doubted somewhat that she was who she said she was, yet the professional manner in which she spoke was very convincing. 

“Why would 7-11 send a young woman like you to collect this…this imposter tax?” he asked.

“The same reason it is strange to you is why they sent me.  No one would suspect that I am working with the tops of the corporation.  No one would see our talking as strange or expect anything. An outsider would just think maybe we are friends or flirting, neither of which is the case,” she said with a smile.  Roger wanted to frown but held it back.

“A discreet, quick interaction in these matters is best, Roger.  This conversation is lagging, and I have other clients to speak with and collect from.  I will take your money now.  I will provide no contract, receipt or any proof or assurance that I have been hired by the company for collecting the imposter tax.  You will have to take my word for it.  You have two options, Roger.  Pay the tax or prepare to close down your kiosk very soon.  Decide now.”  

Without pausing, Roger dug into his pocket and produced the $750 and gave it to the slender girl, gritting his teeth as he said, “There you are.”

She quickly counted the bills and then put them in a large envelope that had lots of money in it already.  I will be back for the other $750 soon.  Don’t worry about contacting us.  We are watching you and we will know when you have it,” she said cheerily.  Nodding, she pivoted and left.  

A knot formed in Roger’s throat as the girl and his hard earned money retreated from him.  What saddened him was less about the money leaving him and more the fact that his freedom had been robbed.  He was back in the grip of the corporate scumbags.  They were wringing the freedom out of him, suckling his life-blood like so many vampires.  He thought that he has escaped them, but his plan had failed.  He felt alone and small, like an ant that crawled next to the huge boot of the corporate overlords.  They would crush him if he didn’t comply.  

But Roger knew that ants were much stronger than they looked.  And when ants worked together they could make huge shifts, and indeed had the power to move mountains.  He thought about what Estella had said.  There were many others who were doing the same as him, imposters who were paying these taxes.  Roger knew that if he identified these other imposters and teamed up with them that they might be able to rise above this corporate controllers.  Without another moment's hesitation, Roger rapidly packed up the merchandise on his table and darted after Estella, keeping a safe distance from her so that she wouldn’t see him.  He quickly bought a newspaper and every time she stopped at an imposter booth, he would pause and pretend to read the paper, his face shielded by the newspaper.

This process of following her and identifying the imposters lasted for nearly an hour, and in the end Roger had counted nine booths that were imposter booths.  Later that afternoon he would privately speak to them and reveal his master plan.

 When he went home that night though, he wrote a small letter and printed them out to distribute to them the following day.  That letter read as follows.

 

‘Dear fellow Imposters:

I have recently been caught by the business I was posing as and forced to pay a large tax which saddened and aggravated me to no end.  I was informed that there were several others like myself who had been selling products behind the guise of a corporate identity.  They, like me, were being charged an imposter tax to remain open.  I know you feel sad and angered by this as I do. For those of you who are tired of this and ready to be done with it, we will be banding together tonight in order to think of a solution.  We, the independently thinking, will now become interdependently acting—and we will win against the corporate overlords that mean to control and dominate us.  This is a call to action and alliance.  Meet us tonight in terminal G, gate 20 at midnight.”

Sincerely, Bo-Bo, the Bridge Builder

 

Chapter 7

 

As Roger waited for the bus to come, he felt a fizzy youthful eagerness fill his chest.  He hadn’t felt this way since the first time he rode a bicycle without training wheels.  By leaving those letters for his fellow rebels he had planted seeds, and could feel them starting sprout.  Together they would grow and harvest a beautiful garden. It was only a matter of time.  

Tomorrow was a big day for Bo-Bo--it was the first real time he had assumed his role as a leader.  Deep down, he knew he was a born leader, even though he had always been merely a student, an employee, a follower of orders.  At last he was ascending, and following his true calling. 

As Roger entered the bus, he realized that he had no plan of action to share with the rebel group the following day. Instead of feeling anxiety over this lack of preparation, he felt a coolness in his belly, a fresh certainty that all would work out if he only remained calm and faithful.  He had no solution, but he was confident that one was coming to him very soon. Though he had no real clear direction, he acted as though he did.  He knew like attracts like, and that he would have to feel it in order to have it.

The bus finally arrived, and with a loud moan and hiss it slowed down to let him in. As he climbed the stairs and paid for his ticket, he could tell that there was something different about this bus somehow.  He scanned the passengers and they appeared the same as always: homeless, schizophrenic, senile, drug addicted, gang members, or all of the above. But this time something felt very different in the bus--or someone.

Squinting his eyes, Roger sensed a distinct presence humming pleasantly at the back of the bus.  He could hardly see the small, tan-skinned woman in the darkness, but could knew that this woman was responsible for the massive shift of positive energy he felt.  He made his way to the back of the bus, and saw that she was the smallest woman on the bus, humble and unassuming; but her spiritual presence made her seem larger than anyone there.  Roger felt drawn to her as though she were a long lost relative or the bearer of a message that was intimately related to him.  Without hesitation, he took the seat next to her. She smiled knowingly at him without lifting her eyes to meet his. 

Sitting here, Roger stole glances at her every now and then. She was likely Hispanic, of mostly indigenous descent as her dark, broad features suggested.  She had a motherly air about her, and was in her late fifties or early sixties.  She wore a faded brown and yellow poncho, a beige and purple weaved scarf covered her neck, chine and mouth.  She also wore a brimmed suede brown hat,  so that all he could see was her small, dark, almond-shaped eyes.  Her eyes glittered like she had been crying, sleeping or laughing very hard recently.  

Her head was bowed over some beaded craft she was working on with a needle and small.  Roger could tell she was in a deep flow state that was easy for her to access, a flow state that she had been in most of her waking hours for many years. As she worked it looked like something was working through her, and she were passively watching the process.  The tranquility that she felt while working on the beaded artwork seized him and he felt this peace as though it were his own.  He had never felt this way on the bus. 

In the low lighting Roger had to squint to see exactly what she was working on.  In her left hand she held a small wooden loom with a large beaded design strung on it, and her right hand held a metal needle with one bead on the end.  She added one bead at a time to the design on the loom, always returning to the plastic tray that rested on her lap to pick out another bead.  The whole design was nearly as large as Roger’s hand, but he couldn’t tell what it was.  He continued squinting at the artwork, but couldn’t make it out.

The bus slowed down at the stoplight in an intersection.  The light from a neon billboard suddenly shone through the bus window and fell upon the beaded design, and Roger saw what it was: a fire-colored eagle or condor...no, it was Phoenix.  Its entire body was made out of flourecent lemon, magma, lava colored beads, its eye an electric snow white that left sun spots in Roger’s eyes when he closed them, it was so bright.  

The woman covered the design with her hands modestly and smiled at Roger, though her girlish grin seemed playful, as though she were not timid in the least and was covering the design just to play a game. Of course, her hiding it only made Roger want to see it more

Her face, which had been hard to make out in the dark, was now more visible.  Roger glanced down at her hand and noticed that the beaded phoenix design was glowing underneath in some mysterious way that baffled and frightened him. He suddenly stood with shock as though he had been stung by a bee, and he almost ran from the woman.  But he felt some captivating, magnetic power slowing him down and make him turn to face her.  The woman was smiling and shaking her head, as if to say, “Be brave and stay.  Your cowardly days are over.”

In his mind’s eye, Roger saw the face of Estella, the imposter tax collector. He was afraid of both of these women, but deeper down he respected them and knew that they were prompting him to do something better, to do something that he had been born to do.  

A strong sense of decision or confidence spread throughout Roger and he felt himself stand a bit taller.  The Hispanic woman removed the beaded phoenix from the loom and tied off the string at the end of it.  Her masterpiece was finished and she was satisfied with it.  Roger had not noticed that it was a necklace until now.  The woman held it from the cord before him and he wanted it more than anything in the world. 

“Are you selling that?  How much is it?” Roger asked.

She smiled back at him, and it was apparent that she didn’t speak English in the least. Roger tried to recall some Spanish that he had learned in high school.

“Cuanto cuesta?” he asked.

“Gratis,” she said calmly. “Eso es para renovarte, para darte energia y alas, para volar como quieres,” she said, and handed the necklace to him.

Roger didn’t know what she was saying exactly but he heard her say that the necklace was free, which he could hardly believe. He didn’t understand why this woman would want to give him this necklace which she had painstakingly made, investing countless hours. Roger wanted to refuse the necklace, but his modesty lost against the force of sheer desire to wear it.

The woman raised her hands with the necklace and Roger bowed down to receive it. She tied it on him and stepped back to look at the Phoenix that now rested against his chest.  Roger placed one hand on top of the firebird and the other went to his forehead.  He closed his eyes as though in prayer.  In his mind he saw a gust of bright electric white snowflakes, smoke and lightbeams shooting towards him.  This light tore through obstacles and barriers in his mind, bricks of darkness shattered and were pulverized to a dust and then vanished.  He suddenly knew what to do, how this woman and her artwork would help him and direct the rebellion he would lead.

He watched the woman working on the beaded design closely, and her intense focus became his own.  He watched her like a son watching his mother, or like a student watching a teacher, until it felt like he was making the beaded design, or that that they were making it together.

The woman could feel this unision, this creative collaboration, and she smiled becuase of it.  She stopped and raised her eyes to look at him for the first time, pulling her scarf down so that he saw her uncovered face for the first time.  Her wide, full lips parted in a huge smile, so that two gold teeth shone at Roger and glittered in his eyes.  

“Mi nombre es Inez.  Maestra Inez,” she said.

“My name is...Mi nombre es Roger,” he replied humbly.  She nodded kindly and returned to working on the beaded Phoenix.  With that nod, Roger knew that she already knew his name and the name of Bo-Bo and what that symbolized to him.  She knew all of this, and much, much more.

 

 

Chapter 8

 

After she put the necklace on him, he entered a timeless space of dreamy tranquility. At some point he got off the bus with the woman, and he bought her an Orchata drink at a Mexican grocery store.  Later they boarded a bus that delivered them to the airport.  They walked directly to the meeting place walked through the terminal towards the meeting place, but at some point through the walk the woman disappeared. 

Roger looked on both sides but couldn’t find her, but he felt sure that she was still with him. He saw the option of panic, of desperation but did not submit to it nor resist it.  He merely observed it until it vanished of its own accord.  He kept walking, feeling of the large beaded necklace bouncing against his chest as he walked, how its wings seemed to flap with each step he took. When he arrived to the meeting place at terminal 20, he bowed his head and closed his eyes, placing one hand on the Phoenix.  Once again the light filled his head and overtook everything, and again he felt the sense of limitless confidence.

He opened his eyes and looked at the group of nine with gentle authority, like a grandfather addressing family at a reunion party.  They looked at him, and then at the large beaded necklace he wore, and then back at him again. There was a variety of opinions they had about the Phoenix necklace, but one thing for sure: it won the attention of the whole group.

“I’d like to welcome you all here, tonight,” Roger said.

“I admire your bravery and willingness to be here.  My name is Bo-Bo.  We share much in common. We are all brothers and sisters here, a philosophic family if you will, and it is about time that we acted like one,” he said. 

Some people seemed in support of this idea and others less so.  Roger felt his confidence shaking and so he touched his necklace again and it was instantly restored, and he stood a bit taller.  Bo-Bo took a drink of water and looked at them all with compassionate yet courageous eyes.

“A family comes together; they care for one another. Why don’t we?  We all share a common story,” Bo-Bo said, looking at them all in turn. “We were like the majority out there—working like dogs...or employees...call it what you will,” he said, gesturing to the sky scrapers in the distance.  We did this for a long time until one day we couldn’t take it anymore—the dam burst and we demanded freedom,” he said, pounding his fist into his open hand, and startling some in the group.  They nodded with enthusiasm and for the first time looked at each other squarely in the eyes, acknowledging what they shared in common.

“I couldn’t take it anymore,” a bald, stocky man said, with a furrowed brow.

“I had to get out, too,” a red-headed woman said.

“Yes,” Roger said.  “Many people in society feel this way, but they never act upon it.  They live, grow old, and die as wage slaves.  I don’t mean to insult these people.  But there was and is something different about us.  We have some spark of freedom that grew into a fire.  Before the corporate scum got us, taxed and shackled us, and put out our flames.  But by our being here it is clear that the coals from this fire are still smoldering.  Our passion for freedom is still burning hot within, only covered by a thing layer of ash.  We will flame forth again!”  A few in the group clapped and someone in the back said “Yeah!” Empowered by this group support, Bo-Bo drew closer to them, weaving his way amongst the nine people seated there.  He held the necklace in his hands and raised it before him so that everyone in the group could see it closely and clearly.  They stared at it as though possessed and delighted by it.

“Like this Phoenix, we are rising out of the ashes of our old selves.  Who we thought we were is not who we really are.  We are so much more,” Bo-Bo said, looking at each person there individually.  He could tell that they were all on board with him except for a tall man who wore a leather jacket and had crossed arms. Roger felt a sinking feeling in his chest and the man raised his hand to speak. Roger nodded at him to go ahead.

“Well that’s an interesting necklace you have there, and you are are right we have some things in common, but I still haven’t heard what your brilliant plan is?  How do we avoid paying the imposter tax?”

“I’m glad you asked,” Roger said.  “I thought about our dilemma a lot but it was only recently that I realized the truth.  Whether we work at a corporation or pretend to work for one, one fact remains: we still sell corporate garbage.  Sure, we are free from bosses, but at the root we are still supporting the same people by selling this garbage.  Roger took out a bag of Frito-Lay chips from his pocket.  “As long as we sell this trash, we represent corporate greed, and we are under its reign.”

“But we have kids to feed, bills to pay. How are we going to make ends meet,” a woman with a stocking cap said.  One by one the members of the group who had seemed to be siding with him started to turn against him and furrow their brows in doubt.

Roger looked at each one of them and then glanced behind them.  They were had been monitored this whole time.  Estella was standing there, glaring at him with her arms crossed. In the distance there were two armed airport security guards that seemed to have come with her.  She glared at Roger as though he were a pound dog that had escaped from its cage and was now going to be put to sleep.

“We have been watching you on camera for some time now,” she said with a wicked smile.  “It’s about time that this little party of yours crashes and burns.” 

“Oh, it’s burning all right,” Roger said with a defiant smile of his own, holding his necklace out for protection.

She looked at the necklace with both horror and nostalgia.  Her face and body suddenly paused and glitched like a dvd with a scratch in it, and then she resumed her old angry self.  She walked closer to the group, and the security guards drew closer too. 

“Where did you get that?” she asked as though it were contraband.  Her eyes flashed at it with some strange digital brightness, like the screen from a broken cell phone.  

“From a very wise woman,” he said, holding it up to Estella who shrank back from it like a vampire looking at garlic cloves. “Well, nevermind that.  The important thing is that you all have been caught.  This party is over, and unless you all leave right now all of your imposters’ taxes will be raised. Is that understood?”  This threat seemed to work on half of the group, who starting to pack their things in preparation to leave.  But the other half of the group could see the effect of the Phoenix necklace on the woman, and knew that there was something fishy going on.

“Wait!” Roger said.  “I think we should clarify that there will be no more imposter tax because we are not imposters anymore.”  The nine people looked at each other with befuddlement, excitement and anxiety in rapid waves.

Estella had slowly been backing away from his necklace as he spot until she was almost touching a flat screen monitor behind her attached to the wall.  Without turning, she reached her hand back and dipped it inside the television as though it were liquid, and she grabbed a handful of metallic rainbow pixels and started to throw them like glitter at the nine in the group.  Roger was unaffected by these assaults because of the Phoenix necklace, but some of the others clearly were becoming confused and distraught, like they just realized they had a bad flu.

“Para!  Para bruja! Ya NO ya!” boomed the voice of a newcomer.  It was Inez.  She was standing as tall as he small body allowed, her poise as solid as a statue. Roger’s posture imitated her’s.  The group looked at this woman with a smile of relief.  Just to hear her voice and gaze upon her made them feel better, made the clouds part that Estella had cast upon them with the pixels.

 Small though she was, Inez took a commanding and frightening presence.  Though there was no wind in the airport, a breeze fluttered her poncho and long dark hair dramatically.  As she slowly walked towards Estella she reached her hand into the white leather pouch that hung around her neck. She removed her closed hand and pulled it back preparing to throw whatever was in it at Estella.

“Trabajamos por la libertad, la creatividad y la alegria. Ganaremos y vas a ayudarnos!”  Inez threw a huge handful of colorful beads at Estella, the same that she made her necklaces and bracelets from.  As they soared through the air time seemed to slow down and nearly freeze, and the group saw the face of jungle animals--jaguars, snakes, gorillas, lions, and many others.  When the floating beads came to Estella they flew around her in spirals and seemed to turn into hummingbirds and butterflies.  They swirled around her faster and faster until they turned into twinkling light, like quartz crystal dust, and then disappeared completely. 

Estella staggered, blinked several times as she recovered from the spell that Inez had placed upon her. She looked at the group with a confused face as though she didn’t know who they were, then she smiled at them nervously and apologetically as though she had made a terrible mistake. She then looked at Inez shamefulily, and then her face froze solid.  She scratched her wetting eyes and did a double take at Inez.  

“Madre?  Madre?  De tiempo no te he visto!” She ran close to Inez and hugged her.  “This is my mom!” she yelled to the whole group.  I haven’t seen her in...too long.  Years I suppose.”  The group seemed shocked and some didn’t believe her.  But looking at Inez and Estella it was very clear that they were related.

“Why haven’t you talked to your mother in so long?” the red-haired woman asked. The whole group looked at Estella with some disappointment and confusion. 

“I’m very embarassed to admit the truth, but I will tell you.  When I went to college to work in the airport I started a very different path than my mother, who is from the Huichol tribe.

“And so are you,” the man with the leather jacket added.

“Yes, so am I,” she said, looking at the floor and then back at the man.  “That’s just it.  My mother has always been very connected to our lineage of the Huichol people.  All she does is make that beadwork all the time, and I couldn’t understand it,” she said as more tears started gather in her eyes. The red-haired woman approached her and handed her a tissue. 

 “Thanks...I was always embarassed of my mom. My friends thought she was super weird.  She doesn’t just make her art to make money and pay the bills.  For her the act of making those necklaces and bracelets is a prayer. When she makes them she says she goes to other worlds, and communicates with animal spirits and beings from other worlds she says. She even talks to people who died long ago.”

“But she isn’t so strange compared to you,” Roger said.  “You were doing some magic yourself back there with the television pixels.”

“I know...As time went on, I realized that some of the magic of our culture was in my blood whether I liked it or not.  What I learned is that what I spent my time on most, that’s what I could take the power from.  I guess that’s true for everyone in a way if you think about it...Anyway, I always spent time looking at my phone, television and computer screens, and I learned that I could manipulate that energy.  I could pull out the pixels and use them to get what I want.  Usually I just used them to distract people or make them get upset.  It helped me get what I want.  I know it’s not good, and I feel so bad that I used my powers that way.  When I was learning to use my powers, I never really had a teacher who could show me.  

“Now you do,” the man with the leather jacket said, glancing at Inez who was looking lovingly at her daughter.

“I know I do!” she said hugging her mom and kissing her cheek.  The whole group was quiet as they looked at the love that they shared. 

Inez raised her hand as though to announce that she would speak.  She reached into her poncho and removed a large purple, blue, and white beaded flower necklace and pet it like it was a kitten.  Her heart began to beat strongly and they could see the beaded flower pulsating as it lay on her chest.  They could tell that she seldom revealed this necklace to others and that this was a very special occasion.  She removed the necklace and put it on her daughter whose tears freely fell upon the beads. She hugged her mother a long time until Inez pat her three times on the back and separated herself.

“Con permiso, me gustaria hablarles,” she said, looking at the group then to her daughter.

“With permission, she would like to speak to you all,” Estella translated.

“Todos somos magicos.  Todos tienen poderes magicos.  Casi todos olvidan.  Cuando estaban ninos han supido, pero suelen olvidar rapido,” she said with a harsh snap of the fingers.

“We are all magicians.  They all have magical powers.  Almost everyone forgets.  When they were children they knew. They tend to forget quickly.”

“Cada uno tiene poderes magicos differentes.  Y mayormente los poderes son invisibles.  Pero lo que no podemos ver existe todavia. No puedes tocar el amor, ni los emociones, ni filosophia pero tienen mucho mucho poder.”

“Everyone has different magic powers.  For the most part, the powers are invisible.  But that which we can’t see still exists.  You can’t touch love or emotions or philosophy but they have lots of power.”

“Obtenemos nuestra energia no solo de comida.  Recibimos la mayoria de lo que ponemos la atencion.  

Si pasas tiempo con la arte, la musica, la danza, el teatro o la naturaleza, sueles recibir energia muy bueno por que es de creatividad y expresion.”

“We get our energy not only from food.  We receive the majority of our energy from what we give our attention to.  If you pass time with art, music, dance, theatre, you tend you receive very good energy because it is from creativity and expression.”

“Pero! Si pasas los dias haciendo cosas sin pensar, como jugando con tu celular todo el dia, mirando el televisor, peleando, discutiendo, o hablando de tonterias, vas a obtener poderes no muy buenos.”

“But if you pass your days doing things without thinking, like playing with your phone all day, watching tv, fighting, arguing, or talking nonsense, you will obtain powers that are not very good.”

“Somos humanos.  Somos suaves. Absorbamos lo que acercamos. Podemos programar nuestros mismos o el mundo va a hacerlo en nuestro tiempo libre inconsciente. Creas tu mismo o dejar los otros a crear usted como quieren.”

“We are humans.  We are soft.  We absorb what we are around.  We can either program ourselves or let the world program us during our unconscious free time.  Create yourself or let others create you as they like.”

“No gastas tu tiempo.  Cada dia, cada hora, cada minuto es un regalo del universo.  Pasa los dias con la belleza, la arte, la fascinacion y passion.  Si vives consciente y despierto vas a tener poderes de luz de amor y de alegria.  Lo haremos asi.  Listo!”

“Don’t waste your time.  Every day, every hour, every minute is a gift of the Universe.  Pass the days with beauty, with art, with fascination and passion. If you live consciously and awake you will have powers of light and of joy.  That’s the way we will do it.  Ready!”

The whole group broke into a cheer and applause and all drew close to the mother and daughter.  Roger hugged the mother and daughter, and then the rest of the group hugged them, so they were in a big hugging molecule.

When they separated again, Inez went into her woven bag slung over her shoulder.  She reached inside and pulled out a big handful of beaded bracelets.  She laid them out on a nearby table.  The whole group was impressed by the handiwork of the colorful crafts and  they looked at them closely.  Inez picked them up one by one and handed them to each of the people in the group, and helped them tie them onto their wrists. She even gave one to each of the security guards who were watching all of this with great interest.

“Estos son regalos para ustedes. Las pulceras son bonitas pero tienen su poder tambien. Son pulceras de cazador. Es para recordarte a fijar bien. Les preguntas: En que estas concentrando, y por que?  Cuando dominas tu concentracion puedes tener todo.”

“These are gifts for you all.  The bracelets are beautiful but they have their power, too.  These are bracelets of the hunter.  They are to remind you of what you are focusing on. They ask you: What are you concentrating on, and why?  When you dominate your concentration you can have everything.”

The group touched their bracelets with care, feeling the effect that this added significance gave them.  They looked at Inez and thanked her many times.  Afterward the group took a photo with Inez, Estella, Bo-Bo, all wearing their bracelets.  Inez looked at Bo-Bo after it was done and smiled.

“El fenix vuela otra vez,” she said without smiling.  “Debes seguir con los avisos que he dado al grupo tambien...o tus alas cortaran.  No olvidas.”

“The phoenix flies again,” Estella translated.  “You must follow with what I advised the group, too, or your wings will be cut.”  Bo-Bo nodded at Inez.

“Gracias Maestra Inez,” Roger said, touching the wings on the Phoenix necklace.

 

In the coming weeks the group banded together to form a non-profit organization called “Hearts Beading” to support the Huichol tribe of Mexico.  A local church became affiliated with the group which Estella knew would help them get into the airport.  With the assistance and legal knowledge from the members of the group, along with Estella pulling some strings on her end, they were able to open a shop of beaded art in the airport that did very, very well.  

They received regular shipments of beaded works from the Huichol tribe in Mexico as well as learn how to make the crafts themselves with Inez as a teacher. They even offered free classes people in the airport who were awaiting their planes.  From the sales of the artwork they supported the members of the group, Inez, and two pueblos of indigenous people. 

Roger managed the gift shop and was respected becuase of how gentle and humorous he was.  He vowed to never be like the demeaning bosses he had had and to always speak to his employees in a tone of equality and kindness. As the months passed, he noticed that his facial hair grew in more full on his face than it ever had before, and he decided to grow his own mustache instead of using a fake one.  On his birthday he legally changed his name to Bo-Bo. By his next birthday he was married to Estella.  By his next birthday she was pregnant.

 

The End

 


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