Sunday, February 7, 2016

Not a KGB Agent: Seagrove Beach 1987

It was Halloween and I was back in the Florida Panhandle living in Seagrove Beach with Dave and painting houses in Seaside for my money. I was back there, living there, I think, because I didn't know where else to go. I'd been in Seattle and Des Moines. But, Halloween: I dressed up as a KGB agent. A trench coat, sunglasses, Cossack hat. I affected a Russian accent and a certain ignorance of American ways. I stayed in character almost the whole night--though people didn't quite get what I was supposed to be (I should have put the letters KGB with masking tape on my back or breast pocket). Yet, I was still a hit among friends and acquaintances--my catchphrase was: "Hmmm. Typical American evening, yes?" But this was before my friends came to pick me up and I had walked down to the little gas and grocery store in Seagrove, in my costume, to buy some cigarettes and beer. The cashier, whose name I don't recall now, but who I was hoping to see was working. I had liked her. I didn't know if she was involved with anyone or even maybe married and I was lonely but didn't have the guts to inquire further but she had a nice smile. I liked her smile. Like most southerners, she was friendly, chatty, pleasant to spend time with and I knew enough not to mistake this for interest beyond that. Nonetheless, I was a little smitten with her. But after my purchase and a few kibitzing words, as I was leaving, she asked what I was supposed to be. I turned around at the door, put on my sunglasses, and said in my Russian accent: "I'm not a KGB agent, that's for sure." This made her laugh.                                                                                                                                

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