The Arfani shirt
“El Guapo, look at this.”
Miguel walks over and hands me his colorful, striped shirt that he wears on big dates. He has the dry cleaners bag pulled up to the top and I secretly wish the plastic was black because the colors burn my retina.
You have a date?
“Of course I have a date El Guapo. Have you seen me lately? Pay attention! Look at this shirt. Look what they did to the buttons.”
I grabbed the shirt and saw that several of the shirt buttons looked chalky. I touched one and it crumbled.
Looks like you have cheap buttons.
“Eres un idiota. I’m going to the dry cleaners. They’re paying for this shirt.”
I like it when Miguel gets angry. It is probably wrong for me to say this, but I get in a good mood whenever mi amigo feels the need for vindication. Does this make me a bad person?
“Look, my buttons were fine before I brought them here. I’m not sure what kind of crazy stuff you’re doing in the back, but it’s your fault that the buttons are like this.”
The Korean gentleman puts on his glasses and carefully inspects the buttons.
“Cheap button. Not my fault!”
Without even looking my way, Miguel forcefully points my way as a warning to not say “I told him that.” I did though. I just needed him to admit that. This was such a perfect moment in my life. Miguel’s veins were starting to pop out of his neck and in a couple of moments, there it is, he would begin tapping his front teeth together, a nervous habit he’s had for years. From past experience, I took a step back.
“These are not cheap buttons! This is an Arfani shirt. That’s Italiano, get it? I want money for this shirt.”
“No refund! Not my fault.”
Miguel put his palms on the counter, looked to the side with closed eyes and took a deep breath. Was he going to throw the man across the room? Was he going to rant and rave for 10 minutes about the dry cleaning mafia?
“Ok, fine, then just give me money back the cleaning of the shirt.”
“No refund! Not my fault.”
Mi amigo is getting old. What he asked for was fair. I mean, it would be $2 at the most, right?
“Fine.” Miguel grabbed his shirt and stormed out of the shop leaving me uncomfortably in the corner.
That was it? I walked over here for a “fine”? What kind of gringo move was this? Where is his Latinoness? This is a sad moment for me. Then, I see Miguel showing his shirt to a woman about to enter the store.
“Don’t go in there. Look what they did to my shirt. They will ruin your clothes.”
The woman looked at his shirt then walked to the shop a couple of doors down.
“THIS PLACE RUINS YOUR CLOTHES! DO NOT GO IN HERE! COME AND LOOK AT MY ARFANI SHIRT THEY RUINED.”
That’s mi amigo. The Korean gentleman looked at me in a way that asked what he should do. I mean, what do you do when a Latino is screaming while toting Joseph's Technicolor Arfani shirt in front of your store?
I’d give him the money.
He reached into the cash register and quickly handed me one dollar.
Come on. Give him five.
He hesitated for a moment then cringed when he heard Miguel approach yet another customer with his “designer” shirt. Then, he gave me a five.
I walked out and handed him the money. He grabbed the note slammed it against the storefront window and yelled, “Gracias mi amor!”
I guess the Latinoness was just taking a break. Miguel too does not let the man keep him down.