The Tower Journal

Jeffrey Zable

Selective Taste

I’m eating a sandwich in the parking lot of Trader Joe’s
when a homeless guy appears on my wife’s side of the car.
When she rolls down the window I say to him,
“What can I do for you?”
Looking at my sandwich he says, “I’m very hungry. Can you help me?”
Putting my sandwich down, I take out my wallet, hand him two ones
and say, “This should get you something at Trader Joe’s—good luck!”
I continue eating my sandwich when all of a sudden it hits me.
“What the hell is wrong with me!” I say to my wife.
Why didn’t I give him the other half of my sandwich!”
My wife responds, “You could still catch him if you wanted to!”
With that I get out of my car and see him standing in front Joe’s
begging for money.
“Here!” I say, and hand him the other half.
He looks at me and asks, “Is it a good sandwich?”
“Is it good!” I say to him, “It’s chicken with pesto.
It’s the best you’ll ever eat!”
When I get in my car my wife asks if he appreciated getting the sandwich.
To which I answer, “I don’t know. I’d have to ask him.
I get the sense that he has very selective taste. . .”

In the Suburbs

I spent several hours today in the suburbs at the malls.
There were thousands and thousands of things to choose from
but mainly we were there because I promised my wife a new stove.
We looked at all of them at Sears, our first stop, at which the salesman
was as arrogant as could be. I didn’t like him immediately. Every time
my wife or I asked him a question he answered as if we were stupid,
as if a two year old would know the answer. It came down to should
we buy an electric or a gas stove because ones that used both would
have cost us around double what we were willing to pay. My wife
seemed to be most interested in a gas one that had five burners,
but it was selling for the least amount of money saved as a ‘come on.’
Finally my wife said thanks, we’ll take a little walk and talk it over.
As soon as we were close to the escalator she said, let’s go, I’ll think
about it. I said, are you sure, and she said let’s check Lowe’s up the road.
So off we went to another mall only to find that the price of the same stove
was over a hundred dollars more. After three more suburban stores that are
powerhouses in the business of providing everything one needs to survive
in this day and age, we decided to call it quits. By the time I returned home
I felt as if I’d taken a bad vacation. I was tired, frustrated, and angry—
yet glad I didn’t live out there like a lot of people. . .

Copyright © 2016 Jeffrey Zable

Jeffrey Zable  is a teacher and conga drummer who plays Afro Cuban Folkloric music for dance classes and Rumbas around the San Francisco Bay Area. His poetry, fiction, and non-fiction have appeared in hundreds of literary magazines and anthologies. More recent writing in Serving House Journal, Sick Lit, Unscooped Bagel, Mocking Heart Review, Kairos, Dead King, Ink In Thirds, Tigershark, Drunken Llama, DogPlotz, Vending Machine Press, Third Wednesday, Bookends Review, Futures Trading, Revolution John and many others.

The Tower Journal
Winter  2016