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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

"Hey Mister, You Wanna Buy Some Popcorn?"

It's for a good cause!

This is a sketch I drew while waiting for my wife to finish shopping at a local thrift store. Therese is always looking for bargains for her class, either for projects, gifts or supplies. So a few weeks ago we drove up to Franklinton, LA, which is only about ten or twelve miles north from "downtown" Folsom to checkout the deals going down. A friend, at Gus's restaurant, suggested she go there if she was looking for some inexpensive spiral bound notebooks for the class.

With our crazy schedule, if I want to spend some quality time with my teacher/wife, I have to occasionally go hunting for bargains with her, but I can only "circle" the tasty tidbits so long and then I get really bored... especially if I'm not buying, but looking.

I, begrudgingly, moseyed from the parking lot to the thrift store where I was intercepted by the young, cute as a button, but rather scruffy nine or ten year old Cub scout. He was being chaperoned by his grandmother, who looked very thin, weather beaten and world weary with a few missing teeth, wearing a rather worn and disheveled "hoodie." With a "ciggie" in her hand, she guided the rather elf like Cubbie in my direction.

"Go ahead, go ahead, ask the man if he'd like some popcorn." Tell him, it is for a very good cause!" she said, encouraging the boy to put his best salesman act on.

It was a very cold Saturday morning, dark, damp and cold, and therefore,  the little guy was so wrapped up that I really couldn't tell if indeed he was a true Cub scout. Therese, who was on a mission, continued towards the door since the budding salesman had singled me out.

"Hey Mister, you wanna buy some popcorn for free?"

"Free?" I inquired. "Now, how much is the free popcorn?"

He stopped in his tracks, looked back at his managing partner, and mumbled something to himself, as I smiled and waited for an answer.

"Well son, said his grandmother, That's not exactly how we practiced it, is it?"

Now, grandmother, every now and then, taking a toke on her cigarette, explained to me in a rather raspy voice about how we are letting down our younger generation and losing them to the devil.

Oh boy, I thought to myself, as the little lost soul was trying his best to remember his sales pitch amongst his chaperone's preaching. I decided to intercept her oncoming Bible recitation by asking the little guy, how much are you selling that big can of candied popcorn... with the nuts!

"Uh, um... twenty dollars, sir," he said, looking for approval from "management."

As the grandmother backed away from her "hell in a hand basket" sermon, I turned to the Cubby and told him, that I'd give him another try when I come out from shopping at the thrift store. Thirty minutes that seemed to go on forever, I decided to go the car to snooze and listen to sports talk radio,  since my wife was still on her mission, but before I got past the exit door, the little guy hit me again.

"Hey Mister, you wanna buy some holiday popcorn... for free?

I spent the next hour, in my car, sketching and chowing down on a tin canister full of candied popcorn with nuts as I observed the little capitalist raking in the dough...  and, all for a good cause, ya know?

And, it's free!

Copyright 2014/ Ben Bensen III