The Santa Fe Springs Swap Meet: A Short Story

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This is a tough job for an aspiring Buddhist. Who knew that working for a few hours at such a place could spur such feelings of general hate for people—overall, misanthropy? The Santa Fe Springs Swap Meet, the big wall at the entrance that was once used as a drive-In movie screen, now painted blue with a lame clip-art beach scene, promises bargains and fun, but it’s been my own personal Hades for more than a decade. For one: the weather. There is never a nice day here at the swap meet during the summer. The sun beats on your back at all hours of the day. And when the sun sets, then it’s the artificial rays coming from the fluorescent lights right above me. The drab, gray tarp covering our candy stand from three sides ensures that absolutely no fresh breeze ever reaches the disgruntled employees inside. You wouldn’t want to be comfortable at work, would you?…show more content…
He’s holding a 12 ounce plastic cup filled to the brim with beer. The cup remarkably says “BEER” on the side in big, red letters. He looks high on life, big dumb smile plastered on his tanned face. Because he is smiling, he thinks the whole world must smile with him. He meets me, a girl with long dark hair, dressed in all black, and an unamused look on my face, and I shatter his illusion. “Are you mad?” he says, “Why aren’t you smiling? It’s a beautiful day! Smile!” I want to tell him that what I do with my face is none of his business, that I am not some little lost girl here for the sole purpose of smiling just for him, that there is probably someone being murdered right now, children starving, and baby girls being thrown into dumpsters in China, but that he’s right it’s a beautiful day, why not smile? Instead I opt for a callous “Can I help you, sir?” so he leaves without buying anything because I couldn’t feed his delusion of a perfect

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