Underdogs No More! Calls to Fully Arm Palestine Disrupt Local Bake Sale
[editor’s note: no offense is meant toward Rosie O’Donnell. Her name was chosen partly on whim (why do writers write what they write? very few know) and partly for the linguistic rhythm of her name (which has, the author is certain, contributed greatly to her success in this life). For my North Korean audience, please forgive the popular culture reference and take a minute to look up Rosie online, as long as she’s not blocked by your country’s servers.]
**In an increasingly polarized nation with an established surveillance state and an invisible enemy lurking throughout the globe, you shouldn’t be surprised to discover that even the most unlikely places in America — from PTO meetings in North Dakota to bake sales in California — turn into hotbeds of radicalism.**
Neatly set up at a small table in front of the red brick wall of a storefront, a bake sale was underway and two girls, one blonde and one brunette, sat stiffly in metal chairs. Both girls had exemplary posture. Both wore matching white blouses that buttoned up to the throat. A sign taped to the table read, $2 For Any ItEm.
I stopped to check the goodies. Brown squares with white powder sprinkled on top. Flat chocolate chip cookies. Fluffy bricks of cake with white or red frosting. “Two dollars? Isn’t that kind of steep?” I asked them. “Don’t you ladies have any broccoli or carrot slices for sale?”
The blonde girl put her hand over her mouth and giggled. The brunette, the stately one she was, said, “Those items are not big sellers, sir.”
“What are you raising money for?” I asked.
“School!” the blonde said.
“For our school band,” the brunette said, “for musical instruments. We need new tubas and clarinets and stuff like that.”
“I used to play trumpet in my school band,” I said. “The only part I liked was to open the saliva valve and blow the spit all over the shoes of my friend who sat next to me.”
Both girls lifted their hands to their mouths and laughed.
“Pretty funny stuff,” I said. I had noticed a colorful flier situated haphazardly at the corner of the table. “Is this a political bake sale, too?” I asked.
“Some weird guy left it here,” the brunette said. “He didn’t even buy anything.”
“The bastard,” I said. It picked up the flier. It boldly demanded FREEDOM FOR PALESTINE. It also said, in smaller letters, to Boycott Israel.
“You girls are getting into risky territory with this,” I told them. “Somebody might firebomb your table if you tout this kind of literature. They’ll say it’s an anti-Semitic bake sale. You’ll both end up on the US no-fly list.”
Neither girl had anything to say. The blonde one blinked.
I set the flier on the table. “It should read FULLY ARM PALESTINE,” I said, and ran my finger over the flier to suggest where the heading would be placed. “That’s the only way to free them from getting mercilessly attacked.”
I cleared my throat. “Which side are you cheering for? Israel or Palestine?”
The brunette said she hated them both.
“I always cheer for the underdog,” the blonde said. “Like my dad does.”
“Well, get a load of this. One team, the team called Israel, is supplied with $3 billion dollars a year from US taxpayers. Your parents help with that. They also get fighter jets, have 400 nuclear bombs, and are kept with updated, lethal and efficient weaponry from America, by which to pound the last strips of land left to the Palestinians. So, if you like underdogs, go with Gaza.”
The brunette was straightening the lines of baked goods on the table. When she was satisfied with her rows, she tugged at her two braids that hung from the back of her head.
“If the US would also supply the Palestinians with $3 billion dollars every year, send them 400 nuclear bombs, and equip them with all the high tech weaponry and F-35s that the Israeli Defense Force uses, then both sides could blow up and mangle entire neighborhoods in their opposing enemy’s territory and kill, with the same intensity, children and civilians.”
I was going to continue and say that both sides might then reconsider making any aggressive moves at all, as that would spiral into a game of total destruction, but I was cut off.
“Stop by for tasty treats!” the brunette called to an old lady. She continued to waddle by without turning her head.
“Business is tough,” I told her. “Not to mention you’re doing a little price gouging here.”
A young woman with two small children stopped by the table. I stepped aside to let the girls work their sales magic. The woman bought two brownies and one cookie after she asked what the young ladies were raising money for. “That’s a very good cause,” she said, with too much enthusiasm. “I hope you raise all the money you need.”
“That’ll be six dollars now,” the brunette told her, and held out her hand.
The woman placed two bills on the girl’s palm.
The brunette unzipped her money bag. With delicate fingers, she smoothed the corners of the five and one, and then mixed them with the other bills. A real profession, I thought. “Thank you for your contribution,” she said.
“And fully arm Palestine,” the blonde said. “To make it a fair fight.”
The woman moved her children behind her. What she wished to shield them from, I do not know. “I think those people have enough rockets to last a lifetime,” she said, “and cause more grief and suffering than anybody deserves.” The woman stared hard at the table. “Wait just a minute, what are you raising money for again?”
The blonde girl turned to look at me as if to ask, Well, what do you say to all that?
“Sure,” I said, “let me relate this in terms you’ll all understand. It’s like if Rosie O’Donnell comes to this table and starts wolfing down all the sweets without paying. So an aggressive bystander throws a tin can at her head and then runs off. Rosie screams bloody murder, says her mere existence has been threatened. ‘I was hit by a tin can!’ she’s shouting repeatedly.
“She then overturns your table. She grabs you girls by your pigtails and slams your heads together. Then she forces you to the sidewalk and sits on your heads and continues to eat up all the carrot cake while her butt cheeks grind your faces against the pavement.”
The brunette was clearly miffed by something I’d said. Still holding the bag of money, she pointed to the table and said, “We don’t even have carrot cake for sale.”
Nobody said anything else, so I went on.
“Then Rosie starts selling all the sweets she cannot eat. While still sitting on your heads, she sets up the table and sells every last baked good you have. She stuffs the money into her bra. When somebody asks what happened to the little girls who had been at the table, Rosie says she has not seen any little girls, and that the table has always been hers, and that she’s always sat there. She then says, with eyes raised to the sky, ‘Why do people hate who I am? Just being me is enough to be hated on this planet. You must be just another anti-O’Donnell human.’
“Meanwhile, all that can be seen of the girls are a couple of pigtails from beneath the swarming buttocks. It’s like they never existed. And very few people seem brave enough to stake a claim that indeed they had. Sane people would even venture to say Rosie has a screw loose, and she needs to be subdued immediately.
“Now, let me ask you. Could Ms O’Donnell have acted this way with a couple of 200-pound women, both of whom drive Subarus and raise chickens in their backyards, seated behind the table? Very unlikely she’d get far in stealing their goods.”
“I don’t know what Rosie O’Donnell has to do with this,” the woman said. “I’d like my money back,” she told the brunette.
“Unfortunately,” the brunette said, “all sales at this table are final.”
The woman pushed her children along, but then reached back to grab her purchased goods from the table.
“Enjoy the cake,” the brunette called after her. She then left her chair and said she was going to find her mother. I sat beside the blonde and asked her if she, as a worker, was able to eat any of the baked goods on the table for free.
“That’s not allowed,” she said, “even for us.”
“You ought to demand at the next school board meeting that the volunteers who man this table get one free baked good each hour as payment for their selfless dedication to the welfare of the school’s band.” I stood to leave. “But don’t be surprised if you get a lot of shocked looks. But stand by what you know is right in your heart.”
“You’re confusing me!” she said and giggled. “Stop confusing me!”