Once in the Hamlet of Den there were not one, but two Stop & Shops. They were differentiated by the locals as;
“Stop & Shop” and “Ghetto Stop & Shop.”
I thought of the dearly departed Ghetto Stop & Shop because some man asked me if the Worth Avenue Extension led to the Hamden Plaza. I told him no and he got mad. I told he had to head down Dixwell (all’s well that Dix well), but he headed off down Worth. Stupid lemming. Once I was looking at slightly used meat at Ghetto Stop & Shop and found two ugly, misshapen filets mignon. They were one day before their sell by date and had a coupain for $2 off attached.
I nixed the purchase and bought hamburger. Walking home a short gentleman stopped us and tried to sell us the same package of meat. He claimed he changed his mind on dinner. But I told him;
“No you didn’t, you stole these because if you bought them the coupain would be tore off.
“I forgot to ring it up at self checkout.” he replied, which was totally plausible if I hadn’t seen him pull the package out of the front of his underwear. I passed on the meat.
After the doubting Thomas dude struck out to find the fabled Northwest Passage to the Plaza, I saw my second turkey of the week. The first walked in front of the car on East Rock Road. It stopped, stood there looking at me and then quick stepped across the road, staring me down with a look of confusion and disdain. This second one was foraging in the trees near the park where the Goldfinchs come and where they have band concerts at the gazebo in the summer.
The turkey was moving parallel to me with that head shuffling gait and lots of ground pecks. My way was clear. Unfortunately the turkey’s path was intersected by a shirtless bicyclist lounging in the almost warm sun. The cyclist spotted the bird stood up and said something smart like;
“Hi Buddy.” And the bird exploded at him- “Gobble, gobble gobble, but throatier and phlegmier, scaring the poor biker who grabbed his trusty bike steed and positioned it between the turkey and him.
The bird hopped/flew off and I laughed at the folly of men who run afoul of dangerous birds, and ignore directions.
When I reach the corner I see Doubting Thomas coming up Whitney going 180 degrees in the opposite direction of the Plaza. I jaywalk through deadly traffic just to avoid his presence.
Later at a Chinese Restaurant, with a kid who looks exactly like the one from Fresh Off the Boat, I see swifts and hear a woodpecker in the heart of the industrial city fringe that Fitzgerald described so well.