“‘scuse me, dis is not my car. It tis my son’s car and I cannot open dis.” I finally get his attention.
These Americans. So busy. I know he can see me try to open stupid little gas cap door.
I muddle accent on purpose. Doesn’t matter. Americans all think they know where we are from by our talk. Other day, this redhead, she said, “So, I bet you are from Czech Republic?” Sure, sure. Why not? No one can ever place my speech, but I move a lot. So. I pick up a lot of the accent.
Soon I will get rid of this rusty bucket. My son says car is jalopy. I think jalopy is pepper. I like rusty bucket better. Once mission is done, I go home.
Busy Americans never want to help or it would be over already. Finally. We have winner. Coming to rescue immigrant grandma. Eblan.
I wrap coat tighter. You think it’s cold here? Try Siberia. Ukraine. Minsk. Moscow. I watch him scan my face for…what? My age? Ha. He will never guess. No one does.
I watch him watching me. He is tall. American food makes tall boys. Tall but not big. He needs potatoes. Stiff Moldovan wind would blow him down, I think.
He looks at driver door. Door? Why would gas cap be in door? I don’t know. He folds into car. Almost in half, I think. Ha, this balvan will hit his head. Well, that’s nothing. Just wait.
Then I notice. His foot, outside car. Tapping. This moodozvon likes my music. This is problem. How can I push button if he likes Nikita K’s Best Party MixTape 2? I think I have to push button. Walk away. Quick. Push button.
But no, he hums. He taps wheel, looking. I can not decide. Push button? Don’t push button? He grins through open window.
“Hey, this unicorn air freshener is great. Where’d you get that? I know a guy who really needs one for his handlebars. D’you remember where you bought it?” He laughs. Handlebars? I sigh. He likes unicorns? How can I push button now?
He finds gas cap lever. Finally. I thought we would stand all day, not pushing button.
He even pumps gas for me. Only a little, I say. Not much money. He nods.
He walks away, back to car with bike rack. Oh. Handlebars. Wait. He didn’t like unicorn. Thinks unicorn is joke. Chort tzdbya beeree! Swine. I should have pushed button.
But. He likes music. Okay. You live today. But tomorrow. Tomorrow is different story.
Vlad say, we have to get noticed. We don’t have to take it. I put detonator back in little box. I drive. I look for next mark. I sing with Sisters, bang on wheel.
We’ve got the right to choose and
There ain’t no way we’ll lose it
This is our life, this is our song
We’ll fight the powers that be just
Don’t pick our destiny ’cause
You don’t know us, you don’t belong
We’re not gonna take it
No, we ain’t gonna take it
We’re not gonna take it anymore