“Apricot? Apricot? Excuse me miss, apricot?”

The woman stopped and looked at the small man holding up an orange fruit. “Yes, it is,” she said, adjusting her fur coat. “Do you not have these back in China?”

Alan, though of Vietnamese descent, had been born and raised just around the corner from his store, and went to school down the street. “I’m offering one, ma’am. Would you like to buy some apricot?”

“Oh, I see I see. I suppose so. How long have you been here?” she asked him.

Alan frowned, considering. He decided to play along – as long as the sale goes, I suppose, he thought. “Thirty years, ma’am.”

“Oh my, a long time! No wonder your English is so good.”

Alan considered adding that he was thirty years old, but decided against it. She probably wouldn’t believe him anyway, and his smoking had aged him prematurely. He held up the fruit again. “Apricot, ma’am? They’re fresh in from California.”

“Oh, well, I suppose I could pick up one or two. How much are they?”

“They’re, uhh, two for a dollah,” Alan tried to throw on a fake Chinese accent at the end. It was terrible, and he knew it, but figured she wouldn’t. He also hoped she wouldn’t see the sign saying they were five for a dollar, and the accent would help.

“Okay, I’ll take ten then.”

“Okay miss, six dollah.”

“Six? But they were two for a dollar, that should be five!”

“Taxes, ma’am.”

“Mmm, right, the government always needs its due, huh?”

Alan laughed politely. She handed him the money, and he picked the ten most mediocre apricots for her, put them in a bag, and handed them over. “Thank you, ma’am,” he said.

“Thank you,” she replied, and carried on down the street. Alan smiled, pleased to fooled another one.


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