There once was a young man who was taken with idea of being Spanish. The young man read every book on Spain that he could; he listened to nothing but albums by flamenco guitar players. Every night he dreamed of emigrating to Spain, where he would fall madly in love and be married.
Unfortunately, the young man was very poor; he wasn't even able to purchase he beloved Spanish books and records; he had had to check them out from a library. Also, the young man was not terribly bright. He had just barely managed to graduate from high school.
One day he was struck with an inspiration. "I know how I'll get to Spain," the young man thought, "I'll pretend I'm a Spanish orphan who has been abandoned in America." To this end, the young man set about learning as much Spanish as he could (which, as it turned out, wasn't much).
After he had learned twenty or so words, the young man felt he was ready. "From now on, I'll speak only Spanish. And then they'll have to send me to Spain."
The young man went to a bus stop near his home. An elderly woman was waiting for a bus to take her home. The young man walked up to the woman and said, "La use en llama alta ni sobre mornillas electricas expuestas." The woman reacted by walking away.
The young man was puzzled but not discouraged. "I need," he thought, "to go somewhere I can talk to a lot of people. I'll go to a supermarket and stand by the entrance." And so, the young man went to a big Whole Foods not too far from his home.
"Hervir hasta que seque ni calientar," he would say to everyone going into the store. "La cafeteria vacia," he would say to everyone leaving the store. Despite these efforts, no one offered to send the young man to Spain but several people did give him their loose change. One old, old, man gave the young man a ten-dollar bill. "La use si esta rajada o arnda," the young man said to the old, old man.
The young man spent five hours at the Whole Foods store speaking Spanish to everyone who went through the doors. By the time he was ready to go home, the young man had collected seventy-five dollars and fifty-five cents. The young man gave a small boy, who had been trying to sell chocolate bars by the exit doors thirty-two cents in pennies, and started to walk dejectedly home. The young man had really hoped that someone would have offered to send him back to Spain.
The young man wasn't aware of it, but two sullen and surly youths had been watching him as he collected money. The sullen and surly youths followed the young man on his way home. When he reached a secluded area, the sullen and surly youths jumped on him and began beating him. The young man broke free. He darted into the street. The youths followed. A bus, speeding down the street, swerved to miss the young man but hit the sullen and surly youths, killing them instantly.
When dealing with the police and the driver of the bus, the young man thought it was best to forget about speaking only Spanish. Besides, he had come up with another plan.
The next day, the young man, this time holding a box in which to collect money, was back at Whole Foods speaking Spanish to the customers as they went in and out of the doors. "La himpe con materiales que rascan," he would say. That day he filled his box with eighty-seven dollars and twenty-three cents. Four months of speaking Spanish provided the young man with enough money to finance his dream trip to Spain.
[written circa 1981/1982 with minor changes 2009]