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Syndic Literary Journal

Syndic No.43 ~ Bob Cooperman

Incident At Local Target

By Bob Cooperman

Narrated by Charles Rammelkamp


Wendy, Christmas shopping without

her daughter’s or granddaughters’ help—

and forget her son, who comes over only

to eat and say nasty things about anyone

who doesn’t look like him—was lugging

a carton bulky as a sea turtle, panicking

to watch it tilt over the cart’s side,

like deck cargo falling overboard in a squall,

when a young African American woman

rushed over and stopped a few feet away,

and soothed as if to a thunder-terrified puppy,

“Don’t worry, Baby, I’m just lending a hand.” 

“Oh, thank you so much!” Wendy gushed, thinking,

“Am I just a frightened old bigot in her eyes?” 

She fought tears, and between the two of them

manhandled the box into her car trunk.

“You have a wonderful Christmas,”

the young woman wished her.  “The same

“to you and yours, dear,” Wendy hugged

the woman like long-lost friends

who know they’ll be parted all too soon.

Later, Wendy described the incident to her son,

who in between forking down her apple pie,

commented, “Sure she didn’t take your wallet?”

“I won’t even dignify that with a denial,”

Wendy shot back.  “She was just so kind.” 

But after Sam left, Wendy checked her handbag,

ashamed of herself all over again.



Compiled/Published by LeRoy Chatfield
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