Encroachment #7 ~ I like roaches better than cranky old codgers.

The one with that broken edge?
Extremely stretched pun. With thanks to Rosemary Clooney.

          2009. I’ve worked part time for the Museum since 1996, so it’s been going on to thirteen years now in 2009. When I first began, admission was free, but during a state financial crisis, we were ordered to charge $2. admission for each person. Children seventeen and under were free.       
          Most people gladly accepted the admission charge, but there were occasional seniors who inquired, “Is there a senior discount?”   Immediately, I would retort with, “Three dollars.” The questioner usually laughed and paid the regular fee.
Some seniors are overly cranky entitlementalists who became irate with the charge. Yes, I, too, am a senior citizen born in 1934. However, I am not cranky.
            Sadly, during the 2010 financial crisis, the state closed the museum. An annual forty thousand visitors, including twenty five thousand school children, could no longer visit the most popular museum in Phoenix.  

During December of 2008, two seniors arrived, one leaning heavily on a cane. They became totally irate, shouted a bit, and threatened to leave if there was no discount. I repeated my statement about the three dollars. “Look, I said to the louder of the two, you can come in for one dollar, and I’ll charge him three dollars.” 
          Both were mineral collectors. They grumbled and paid. Let it be known they spent over four hours looking at our specimens – all 3500 of them! Then they came to the front desk and headed for the gift shop, complaining loudly the day was a total waste of money. The Old Crank With The Cane, was especially obnoxious and vocal.   
          We tour guides said nothing. I was at the front welcome desk, and the gal who was in the gift shop was called out for some reason, so I had to substitute.
Was I thrilled? No.
They complained their way around the gift shop, and then demanded to see a high-priced item on display in the slanted front display case. I was behind the counter, and because of the outward slant of the display case, could not see the floor.
got really nasty about the prices and made some malevolent remarks about who did we think we were. “How much is that mineral by the glass window? It has a broken edge.” Let it be noted, our prices were just about the cheapest in the USA.   
          Suddenly, The old quark looks down and says, “Now what is THIS?” And abruptly jabs his cane underneath the case and stabs at something. Then he withdraws his cane, lifts it up with something, brown, and squashed on the end, and dumps a still living waterbug in directly in  front of me.  I wasn’t wearing my slider shoes, so I couldn’t get to a shoe to kill it.
          OCWC smiled angelically at me.
          Without hesitation, 
I smashed it with my bare hand.
It died.
Immediately I tossed the carcass overhand into a corner of the gift shop, about six feet away, and it landed behind a revolving display rack.
Old Quark screamed, as did his friend, and then, as his friend was transfixed on the spot, OCWC literally turned green. He actually ran out of the front door so he could vomit outside.
          His friend screamed at me. “You killed it with your bare hands. You killed it with your bare hands!”
I said, very softly and calmly. “Yes?”
Friend repeated what he said, a bit less loud.. Then his voice rose again, “You tossed it into that corner!”
I replied softly so he had to listen carefully. “Yes. We are having a problem with the cleaning woman, and I want to find out if she’s really doing her job.”  Actually, she did do her job and vacuumed it up that night because her supervisor was present to evaluate her.
 Friend ran out of the building to assist OCWC.
         Five minutes later they came back. Quark looked very ill. I said nothing.  A long minute passed as I stared at them. They couldn’t outstare me, because I know the secret of staring: you look at their foreheads and don’t really make eye contact.
Then they turned and left.
 Unbeknownst to me, the curator appeared right after they left, and when I explained about the wrong  shoe. She smiled and said she had watched the whole drama and was coming to invite them to leave.
Cockroaches dead or alive no longer bother me. I can even kill them with my bare hands, though, truthfully, I prefer a shoe.
All things come to those who wait.
                                           Remember: inure not like.


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