The drive to my grandma’s house is off of E.14 Street in San Leandro and it usually only takes me five minutes to get there from my house in Hayward, off of Royal Avenue and A Street, so I had no idea why the ride going down E.14 Street ended up feeling a lot more like the roads going out towards the outlet malls in Gilroy or Petaluma.
I owed Steve money so I guess he figured this would be the best form of a repayment when he realized that this would mark the last week of the Jordan Flea Market. Everything at the Jordan Flea Market was said to be 90% off up until the last day and the way Steve told me about it made me feel like he was one of the only people that knew of its’ existence.
For that reason amongst others is why I wouldn’t believe this until I saw it. Another reason was because he told me it was at the end of E 14th street and until he told me that I didn’t even know there was an end to that street. Not to mention he couldn’t explain to me what the end of that street was like at all.
When I asked him, he said he had never been there, himself. So three days away from the last day and at supposedly the third light away from this Jordan Flea Market, Steve offered me a shot of five hour energy which I accepted right away after realizing how tired I was of him, his car and his rap music, and how obvious my overall demeanor was making this. However it may, after that shot the scenery suddenly changed from busy to desolate.
On either sides of the road we were driving all I could see as any sign of life were what appeared to be shoe displays off in the distance. What told me that they were shoe displays were the lifesize shapes of Jordan sneakers ranging numbers, I could see clearly from the twenty-first sneaker to the first where we stopped at the last light, which I now couldn’t see the point of after seeing beyond that there was no more of E.14 street left to drive.
After the light changed Steve suddenly got very excited as we passed what appeared to be a clerk at the only register there was in the middle of this desert and as we passed him up slowly the clerk turned around from whatever it was he was doing to follow us up until we parked not too far away from him. After so many attempts of trying to get out of Steve’s car as soon as it’s parked I had by now learned that his locks were automatic, which was why he got so pissed off when passengers of his vehicle tried to get out before he turned his car off. That impatience could potentially jam his automatic locks. With this knowledge I waited patiently for Steve to turn his car off when an outside force tried to open my door for me causing the same sort of jam.
Rejected, the outside force waited for us to step out of the vehicles ourselves before he introduced himself to us as Hafazz, the owner of this Jordan Flea Market, decked in a cream colored polo, tucked into a pair of khakis, cuff linked over a pair of what looked to me like Alfanis. With a strained smile worn before, during and after his greeting, I noticed his nametag before I looked around and also noticed him as the only one working. After that recognition I walked away from them and towards the first display where my hallucination had been confirmed as a reality as I reached out to touch the giant styrofoam replica of the first Jordan sneaker ever made.
Hafazz asked me right away what I think of the giant styrofoam replicas that his son had designed himself.
I told him I thought they were excellent before I asked him where his son is.
Delorious, Hafazz said he is no longer with us as that strained smile changed into a sort of frown.
Not wanting to start anything I asked him if he had given everyone the day off.
And after he said no to that he wandered off back to his desk with his head looking down at the sand.
Surrounding these styrofoam replicas were the sneakers that these replicas were made to replicate so there were only twenty-one of them and they were a fair amount away from each other up until the twenty first. By the time we got to the eighth Jordan styrofoam replica we sat on the sand because there were no benches, which was weird to me. Usually shoe sales consist of an area somewhere nearby to permit the trying on of their products but there was no place to sit down or mirrors to look into for miles, probably away from this lot at one of the gas stations before the twenty-first styrofoam Jordan replica.
Steve had that pair of Jordan’s on his feet so I knew he wouldn’t want to walk that far just to see that unless he thought there were something else over there for him. When I approached the eighth replica of the number eight Jordan sneaker Steve got up in a crouched position next to the shoeboxes surrounding it scanning sizes.
‘Don’t you have that pair?’ I said.
‘I sold them.’
‘I don’t know.’
‘How much did you sell them for?’
‘I don’t remember.’
Steve knew why I was interrogating him about this and he was desperately searching his head now for a reasonable price when he didn’t have to name one after he found a box that marked his size. All in one motion he yanked the box from the bottom of the stack throwing the top off only to find that there was nothing in there at all. Taking the top off of another all he found was the same thing.
This frustrated him, causing him to go through several boxes before he finally gave up saying that Hafazz must have them up at the front. During his tantrum I found a pair of size eights with the pair actually inside only I didn’t want to tell him this because I wanted to leave now. I knew he would want these, even though they weren’t his size and paying Steve back this way didn’t feel right to me anymore.
By the time we got back Steve had his shirt off and I had a cigarette being occasionally placed between my lips for a drag by my own willful hand and my eyebrow raised some when we found Hafazz missing from his desk. Exasperated with defeat Steve gave up his search for the shoe salesman after one look under his desk and finding the same results as he did in that box he threw hard into the sand. Twelve feet away from where we stood I could see a blue Porto potty that I missed on our way in so I dismissed myself to go use it.
Steve would be in his car when I get back, only I didn’t use the Porto potty. Someone was in there crying and with one knock the sobbing accented voice told me two things; one being that this was indeed Hafazz behind that door, and a plea to go away. Something about his sobs reminded me of the sobs you hear from a failed artist and I had no idea where Hafazz failed, but I had an idea of where I might have failed and where Steve might think he had too and by the warmth I could feel gathering in the pits of both my own eye sockets I had to get away from this Porto potty, this place in general.
Confused and irritated I walked back to the car when those feelings turned into a legitimate empathy for the hysterical, loud and elongated wails coming from Steve off in the distance outside of his car’s driver door. With both hands stretched out to the furthest length on either sides of him I could see Steve with his back to me letting out long wails into the distance.
Instinctively without questions, I ran up to him wrapping him up in an embrace that I would not withdrawal until he stopped screaming.
All I had to keep telling him is that everything would be ok.