Daily Dialogue: Immigrant Words

One of the last 20-minute writing exercises before I upgrade, I try to funnel creative chaos through two women while wondering where they’re going.

Himiko
I love those shoes.

Magda
Thanks. I purchased them at a thrift store.

Himiko
Wow, some people don’t know what they have.

Magda
One woman’s refuse is another’s prize, and such.

Himiko
Indubi… Indubibib… Indubidabibib… Right.

Magda
Indubitably. I thought English was MY second language.

Himiko
Hey, I don’t do tongue twisters.

Magda
What is that?

Himiko
Oh, I don’t wanna embarrass you. You tend to get… testy when you don’t get something right.

Magda
Come on, I said a word that would have left you mentally crippled if I had not been here.

Himiko
…Sally Sue sells seashells by the sea shore. Try that, Mother Russia.

Magda
I’m from Ukraine, fool. Sally Sue shells– Sally shoe sells– Sally Sue sells she sells– I believe I hate tongue twisters.

Himiko
Told you. At least you handled that well. Unlike that time you asked that guy at the gas station for directions.

Magda
That fuck-dummy told me Universal Road, not Universal Circle. He took advantage of my foreign nature.

Himiko
Or he thought Road was Circle, too.

Magda
He should know better, he is a citizen.

Himiko
Do you remember where you lived in Ukraine?

Magda
Clear as a sunny day.

Himiko
What about the names of five streets in either direction of your house?

Magda
I am not a taxi service, why would I need to know those streets?

Himiko
Exactly.

Magda
Exactly what?

Himiko
You and that guy are citizens, so why expect that he–

Magda
He lives in the United States, silly you. He can’t be a Ukraine citizen.

Himiko
Sometimes I wonder if you’re just playing dumb.

Magda
Being an immigrant lets me hide behind a few curtains.

Himiko
Which thrift store did you go to?

Magda
The one by the store.

Himiko
I see.

Magda
If you can see, why ask?

Himiko
Ha ha, paleface, ha ha.

Magda
What is a paleface?

Himiko
A clown.

Magda
Why is a clown a paleface?

Himiko
Because they wear white face paint?

Magda
Oh. I’ve only seen clowns in masks.

Himiko
Clowns wear masks in Ukraine?

Magda
No, Italy.

Himiko
When did you go to Italy?

Magda
…Ukraine is a third-world country. We could not afford to flush a toilet in Italy. But there are picture books in libraries.

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