THE STORE – On Black Friday I made the mistake of going to Samuel’s Boutique & Exclusive Finery. Some of you may called it Sam’s Club. The place was a madhouse what with all the kicking and screaming and tug-o-war with another shopper. She almost fell out of her wheelchair. I was the sole survivor.
Now here I am at a store on the Maul Mall, trying to do my Christmas shopping, holding my list along with a can of Mace. My first stop is this store’s toy department, but I can’t find it.
“Excuse me,” I say to a clerk. “Where is the toy department?”
He sighs. “In a container on the deck of the China Sloth five miles off Long Beach. If it stays there much longer the Coast Guard will weld a historical plaque on the bow.”
No toys presents a problem. I had hoped to buy a Whack-a-Mole for President Biden. Every time he thinks he’s making progress against one pandemic, another pops up. The Covid-19 virus was starting to subside, then came Delta. Vaccinations began to slow Delta, but then the Omicron Variant came along.
I keep moving. This is odd. A lot of these price tags are erased with a new, and higher, price penciled in. President Joe has inflation to deal with. Don’t forget immigration. For Christmas maybe he could give every American family a family from Haiti. Former President Donald Trump put up 20-foot walls along the Rio. ICE could start giving out 21-foot ladders. Feliz Navidad!
Where’s the sports department? I need to give a bowl bid to the UT Longhorns. On the other hand, their new coach, Steve Sarkisian, already has a great present: He is guaranteed to make at least $34.2 million throughout his six-year contract. Sarkisian can afford to buy his own bowl.
Then there is his poor cousin in College Station: Jimbo Fisher has a four-year contract extension that increases his average annual salary to more than $9 million. With an 8-4 record this past season, maybe he’d rather receive a super quarterback. Wait a minute. The Houston Texans have a quarterback,Deshaun Watson, they aren’t using. Can the Aggies pick up Watson’s four-year, $177.5 million contract? Sure they can. The Aggies have the biggest athletic budget of any school in America with $192.6 million. UT is second at $183.5 million.
Speaking of the Houston Texans, could they give their fans a win? Probably not. The Houston Astros got a great present this past season: a trip to the World Series, even if, in recent years, they’ve been more naughty than nice. I spot basketball paraphernalia. The only jerseys they are selling read “Harden.”
Moving on, there are a bunch of Houstonians who could use repairs on their house which was doomed by Hurricane Harvey. FEMA promised money to rebuild their homes. Millions if not billions of federal dollars were sent to Austin. Land Commissioner George P. Bush said his department would handle the funds, but Mayor Sylvester Turner said the City of Houston would take charge. Bush said no. That money is somewhere and will be handed out sometime, maybe. A nice present to those folks living under blue plastic tarps for the last four-plus years would be a new mayor and a new land commissioner.
“School Supplies” the sign reads. They’re having a sale for students, teachers and school board members: flak jackets. Here’s a big pile of 849 unused books, all confiscated by State Rep. Matt Krause, Republican from Fort Worth, because they deal with – or at least mention -- race, sex or anything that could produce "discomfort" among students. Good thing Rep. Krause never read the Bible.
I suppose there is a huge Christmas tree in the Texas Governor’s Mansion. I should give Gov. Greg Abbott a pair of flip-flops and a mask. Also a heavy blanket to keep warm during the upcoming winter freeze which will knock out our power for days on end. For Lite Guv Dan Patrick, I should also give a mask – one that fits firmly over his mouth to prevent him from talking. A majority of our Texas Legislators could use a present. I’m thinking of a giant erasure so they can re-draw our legislative and congressional districts to more accurately reflect the people who live here, elect them and pay their salaries. I could find a gift for our attorney general, Ken Paxton. Our Number 1 state law enforcement official could use a pardon.
I wander through the mall. Maybe I should open my own store: “Turn Signals for Houston Drivers – Totally Unused.” The Dr. Fauci Needle Shop was raided by an anti-vax mob, but there was no need to press charges. They all died. I spot Gifts & Grafts. A sign, reads: “Just the thing for your member of Congress.” I go inside and am greeted by a stall selling Cruz Shuz. “Put your foot in your mouth with style,” says the Santa-salesman who has a short, black beard. “Want to insult everybody? Make your constituents blush with embarrassment over your reprehensible antics. Then you need to wear a pair of Cruz Shuz.” No thanks. I walk over to another counter. “Special for Republican members of Congress.” I ask the clerk, “What are you selling?” “Spines,” he replies. “But business is dead. Not a customer all day.”
Fox News has a kiosk selling conspiracies. There is a long line in front of the “Trump In 2024” voting booth. I pass a store that sold “Defund the Police” demonstration signs. Unfortunately it is out of business. Seems the place was burglarized. Lakewood Church is selling used bathroom tile. Ah, here’s an interesting shop: January 6th Gear. It is selling helmets, clubs, funny costumes and Get Out Jail Free tickets. Finally, I find a unique gift boutique.
“Do you have any gold, frankincense and myrrh?” I ask. The clerk laughs. “Sorry. This is a Christmas store.”
Ashby shops at firstname.lastname@example.org
Insane, ain't it?
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