Hegemony and Junior Brown at Zaguán


this is how i learn languagesChapter 1.0 – Ordering

On a mild and clear fall day in Dallas, Texas, we decide to sit outside.  We’re on the corner of Oak Lawn and Routh, about to order arepas and cachapas from Zaguán World Bakery and Café.  The air temperature feels good on me, like clean clothes.  The dome blue sky provides perfect acoustics.  I am alive.

The server asks what we want to drink.

Bo scans their selection of natural juices.  He says the drinks here are excellent.

Of superior quality.

And he lives in Dallas.

-I’ll take a mango, señorita.

The server writes loops on her notepad. Her fingernails, unpainted.  Cuticles, pushed back.

The mango is probably good, I think, but I want something different, something not so predictable.

-Uh, guanabana, por favor.  Me parece que guanabana va hacer muy buena.

More loops on her notepad.  Her thumb fatter than the others.

I can’t help but wonder if my Spanish was intelligible.

Oh well, I think, so long as she gets my order right.

Chapter 1.1 – Eating

Bo just finished his cachapa.  I have exactly two bites left on my last arepa, three if I try to conserve.

Our drinks are at the dregs.  Bo begins telling the story of how he got his new iPod.

-Get this, man.  I sold my old iPod for the price of this new one.  I used craigslist, that goes without saying in today’s economy.
-Why did you sell your old one?
-It ran out of space. 80 gigabytes wasn’t enough for my collection anymore. I needed to upgrade to the 120 gigabyte iPod.

Bo sucks his remaining mango juice through a straw.

I take one of my two, maybe three remaining arepa bites.

-Who did you sell your old one to?
-Some hairstylist who works out in bumblefuck. You should’ve seen this guy. Think South Korean hipster. Plaid pants, wallet on a chrome chain, spiked hair, tight Hawthorne Heights t-shirt, Buddy Holly glasses.
-Hawthorne Heights, huh? What about all your songs? Did he have you format the hard drive?
-That’s just it! This guy specifically wanted all my songs.
-But it doesn’t seem like he has the same taste in music as you. What about all your country songs?
-He wanted everything. That was why he was willing to pay a premium for it. He coughed up $150 for an iPod he could easily buy for half the price precisely because of its 15,000 song library.
-Did he tell you why?
-Korean mafia. He wasn’t buying it for himself. He was shipping it to South Korea. There’s a huge demand for US iPods over there. Huge. They sell like whoopie pies on the black market.
-Hell yes.  Everyone’s trying to learn English, especially South Koreans. They buy US iPods to help them get ahead in the game. The more extensive the music library, the greater the price tag. This hipster knew what he was buying.
-I guess so.
-It’s amazing when you think about it. A whole black market centered around US iPods. Those South Koreans will do whatever it takes to be the best, and they’re damn creative and efficient about it, too.
-Like buying your iPod.
-Like buying my iPod.  I can see the headline now:

US iPods Pave Road to Hegemony

Chapter 1.2 – Paying

I finish my arepa. Two bites is all it took.

The server sweeps by our table. I look at her face. Then I look at the pigeon sitting on the fascia board behind her.

Similar eyes.

-Do you want dessert?

Bo gauges my appetite.

I give him a blank face as I suck at the meniscus of my guanabana drink.

-I think we’re good for now. Just the check, please.

The server pulls her notebook from her marsupial pouch and leaves the tab on the table, equidistant between Bo and me.

-Think about it, man.  Right now, as we’re sitting here on our asses in sunny Dallas, some South Korean is learning English from Junior Brown.

It’s good to see you baby it’s been a long long while
We’re both a whole lot older and seen a lot of miles
But things are really different now since the good old days

And you’ve been in some trouble, since we went our separate ways
We’ll have to say hello, maybe some other time instead
‘Cause you’re wanted by the police, and my wife thinks you’re dead

Somebody spread the rumor, that you had lost your life
Least that’s the way I heard it and what I told my wife
Now here you’re showin’ up again and talk is gettin’ round

And I can see that one of us will have to leave this town
If you think that I want trouble then you’re crazy in your head
‘Cause you’re wanted by the police, and my wife thinks you’re dead

You never called or wrote me, just up and disappeared
Nobody knew what happened, where you been for all these years
Now trouble’s what you’re lookin’ like ’cause troubles where you been

And I can see the kind of trouble you could get me in
You better pay attention to every word I said
‘Cause you’re wanted by the police, and my wife thinks you’re dead

So goodbye to you baby, I’m glad we got to talk
But I’m faithful to my wife and I don’t ever break the law
I don’t know where you’re headed for but I know where you been

We reminisced, now lets just go our separate ways again
Go find another ex-sweetheart to hang around instead
‘Cause you’re wanted by the police, and my wife thinks you’re dead
I said, “You’re wanted by the police, and my wife thinks you’re dead

October 5, 2009 1:03 pm

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