Bologna

Bologna

Henry walked into the grocery store, thinking to himself that certain people shouldn’t be allowed to drive. Specifically the person who had just crashed his huge Dodge truck with the lift kit into a parked minivan. The mom in the minivan was tearing a strip off driver for endangering her children while he just rolled his eyes and gave her the finger. I’m sure he would have driven off but one of his oversized tires had gotten impaled on half a sign post he ran over backing up.

He was going to lose his license most likely and in Henry’s opinion it wasn’t a bad thing. Still part of him could sympathize with the man. That dumb bastard had just destroyed his vehicle which he had clearly invested substantial time and money into. Sure his priorities may be a little messed up but it was still an investment he had just let his anger flush away.

He grabbed a fresh loaf of bread, some imported cheese, and filled his basket with vegetables he had never heard of as a kid. He had made his millions and could now afford whatever he wanted. Henry had grown up poor and hated every minute of it. His parents told him to work hard so he could have a good life. That was a load of crap, he became rich the same way everyone does, by being an asshole and sucking up to bigger assholes.

“But that’s not what this self help book says?” you may be thinking, well that’s because self help books are subtly telling you exactly that. The author wrote a bunch of positive tripe, wrapped it in a beautiful sunrise photo, and added a fluffy title  like “Be the best you” or “Success through Positive energy”. They then live comfortably off the fact that they just robbed you and made you feel good about it for awhile in the process.

Henry was now the vice president of a company that published that same tripe. He chuckled to himself as he headed to the deli. The woman in front of him was standing with her two children and nervously arguing with the man behind the counter. “But it’s bologna, why is it so expensive?”

“It’s viewed as somewhat of a delicacy now.” the man shrugged, “now are you going to buy something or not?”

Henry looked at the basket the woman was carrying, it was mostly cheap canned foods, and noodles. She clearly looked like she was calculating between gas and food for her children. Henry remembered seeing his parents have that expression, he remembered the times they had to eat canned fruit for lunch and horrible cheap noodles for dinner if they had enough for dinner. He scowled, and marched forward, “Sir I want you to give them five hundred grams of chicken, turkey, ham, and” he looked over his shoulder at the mom, “bologna! And the same for me if you please.”

She choked back tears as he handed her the meat and a fifty dollar bill for her groceries. Though he was careful to hide this from the eyes of her children. He knew they already were aware that money was a precious commodity but also didn’t want their mom to feel belittled in front of her children. He simply smiled and nodded. “Thank you” she whispered, “You don’t know what this means to me.”

As he watched her walk away and grab a few essentials like eggs, milk, and vegetables he was aware of how incredibly wrong she was. He knew exactly how much it meant to her, because he knew how much it would have meant to him to have a bologna sandwich as a kid.

Writing Prompt:
Anyone who has ever struggled with poverty knows how extremely expensive it is to be poor.
—  James Baldwin

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