by Jeffrey Zable

My wife tells the guy in a mix of French and Bambara
what type of shirt I’m looking for and ten minutes later
he returns with 8 to 10 shirts which are about as far
away from what I’m looking for as can be. When she
explains to him again that I want a cotton t-shirt
with the flag of Burkina Faso on the front of it, he comes
back with five more shirts, one of which has a two-inch
picture of the flag off to the side and the shirt is
made of nylon which I don’t wear. In the mean time
a small group of people has gathered and one of them
steps in and says he’ll get us what we’re looking for,
so we wait and he too comes back with a stack of shirts,
one of which has the word Africa printed on it and
the other a drawing of the whole continent. As my
wife explains again, I tell her we should move on,
and when we finally do, I see that the two sellers
are disappointed cause they went to a lot of trouble
to get these shirts, and isn’t it just like the white man
to be so inflexible.


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