The left regards [individualism] as a kind of
stubborn perversion, which they ignorantly
and twistedly confuse with racism or elitism
How I Got My TV
a Piece of Fiction
by A.X. Perez
Attribute to L. Neil Smith’s The Libertarian Enterprise
I’ve known the Awats for the last fifty years or more. So when Farah showed up at the counter to pay for a couple of pounds of ground beef and a loaf of bread I thought nothing of it.
“Shakira, Sam,” she told me.
“Thank you for your business,” I answered. Say hi to your brothers for me.”
So about two hours later a guy in a suit shows up. I’ve seen him on TV before, usually explaining how this, that, or the other bunch is destroying America. Sometimes they show his picture and some talking head explains how his group and people like them are destroying America. Makes me want a Scotch and soda, maybe start smoking regularly again. Speaking of smoking…
“How can I help ya?” figuring he wants a pack of smokes or a cigar from behind the counter.
He looked me in the eyes and said, ‘Someone told me you sold stuff to a woman in a hijab. You shouldn’t sell stuff to foreign terrorists.”
“The Awats lost two kids in Vietnam, and her uncle lost a leg in Urgent Fury. They ain’t foreigners.”
“They’re Muslims. That makes them foreign terrorists in the eyes of right thinking folk.,” He told me with a straight face.
“Are you here to buy something? Otherwise don’t waste my time, I got cash customers and paperwork to take care of,” I lied politely. What I really meant was get out before I shoot you. Maybe he twigged to that. Maybe he just was done talking too.
Tommy Awat called me a couple of hours later, “Thanks for selling my niece food. People have been turning her away.”
“What the fuck? Tell her come down whenever, I’ll even set her up with store credit , no interest.”
“Thing is her Imam has suggested she shouldn’t do business in a store that isn’t halal.”
“Well, if that’s the way it is,” I started. Tommy interrupted, “I told her you’re halal enough for us.”
“Yeah, well, anyhow..’
“Yeah, anyhow. Say hi to the wife.”
Comes up 7:00 and it’s time to close. Jerry from ATF comes in. Old Man Sanchez sold me the store when he retired and none of his kids wanted it. I had just retired myself and suddenly realized I was bored without work. Thing is part of the business was a small but steady gun selling section. Usually I have a couple of shotguns and rifles, a couple of revolvers, a Hi-Point pistol and a SIG Sauer 226 from back in the Eighties neither Old Man Sanchez and I haven’t been able to sell. Occasionally I get some Rock Island .45's or a Glock in, and I do a bit of sale through special orders. Bottom line, Jerry comes in every so often to check my paperwork and whether or not to pull my FFL.
“Hey Jer. Weren’t you just in last week?”
Jerry gave me a look, “Someone called in a complaint you’re selling ammo to terrorists.”
“Just some assholes bent out of shape because I sold some food to Fara Awat. When this shit start around here?”
“So you haven’t been selling ammo to Muslim extremists?” Jerry asked. “Don’t get mad, I have to act like this shit’s real.”
“Not to my knowledge. And not today. Haven’t sold any ammo today.”
Jerry said, “OK then. Look, my boss said be a dick, so are the excise taxes on your cigarettes paid?”
“Point out a pack and I’ll hand it to you to check.”
“Third pack of Kools from the top. Even pay for.”
I gave him the pack of smokes and he took a picture before pocketing them. Then he ran some app that said the tax stamp was okay. The machine said his credit was clear.
“Take care,” we told each other.
There had been riots in the area ten years ago so there were steel shutters for me to lower and protect my windows. When I came back the next day they were covered with graffiti condemning me for selling to Muslims, me for selling non Halal food to Muslims, Muslims, the Ku Klux Klan, White Supremacy, Neo Nazis, Alt Right, Antifa, BAMN, and I kid you not, jock rot. The last one made sense and gave me a laugh. Around ten the first bunch of demonstrators showed up. Then the counter demonstrators. Sold both sides hot coffee as it was 40 degrees Fahrenheit out there.
A truck full of casual day laborers showed up to buy fixin’s for lunch around 12:30. I sold them some cold cuts, cheese, condiments, bread, chips, and sodas. I thought I’d had problems with protestors before!!! I never realized so many people felt they hd the right to tel me who I could and couldn’t sell things.
So around closing time I get a call. It’s an invitation from an honorable man to meet for dinner. While I don’t do business with his associates, at least not knowingly, I don’t need him to think I don’t respect him.
He waited until we were enjoying desert and said “Mr. Duran, I hope you enjoyed your dinner.”
“Thank you, I did.”
“Good. As you know, I’ve left you alone out of respect for Mr. Sanchez.”
I answered, “He is a good man and he has many good friends, It’s an honor he sold me his store when he retired.”
“He is a man of great respect in and out of the life. Anyhow, we have left you alone, but some of your neighbors are friends of ours, special friends who have a variety of arrangements. It is difficult for them to meet the financial part of their obligation with all those people making a fuss outside your place.”
My father called the Communists he fought I the old days those people in the same tone of voice.
“I’m sorry about that,” I answered.
He looked in my eye, “It’s not your fault. I called you here today to let you know some of my associates will be explaining to these people that we do not appreciate their interference with our friends’ business. I assure you that by noon tomorrow they will no longer be bothering you. It’s bad for our friends, and bad for my investors that these crazies are making a fuss on your block.”
“I’m grateful of course, but I need to know what this will cost me.”
“Out of respect for Mr. Sanchez, I’m doing this for our friends. It’s just a coincidence you benefit.” Then he gave me a big smile, “My daughter is attending school at St. Gabriel Possenti’s and they are having a raffle. It would be a good thing if you bought a book of tickets.”
Which is why no one can tell me who I can’t sell to. Also why there’s a frakkin’ huge TV in my den. Really big. Huge. Ginormous.
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