I have family in Thailand. Western Union was the easiest way to send money, but not the cheapest. $15 for $100. $22 for $200. $27 for $300. I rarely sent a larger amount, since life in Thailand is not cheap anymore. Pepsi has replaced coconut milk. KFC has conquered the chicken market and every baby wears Pampers instead of running around bare-bottomed as in the past. I couldn’t reduce the prices in Thailand, however Moneygram offered a more economical channels from wiring money overseas.
$8.99 for anything under $1000.
$6 might not seem like much, but for $200 the savings is $13.
A bottle of wine and a sandwich.
Moneygram has a location on West 46th Street one block away from work. The girls behind the protective glass windows greeted me with a wave. They know my name. They’ve seen photos of my sons and daughters.
A large black man sells bootleg DVDs in the store.
$5 a movie.
I bought CENTURION. The copy was unwatchable and Earl refunded my money. The copyright police might consider him a criminal and me too, since I buy knock-off movie, but I’ve opted out of the movie theater experience. $10 is too much for watching a crap film surrounded by a horde of popcorn munchers.
This afternoon I nodded to Earl. He was talking with a woman shuffling through DVDs. The law defined conspiracy as an agreement by two or more persons to commit a crime, fraud, or other wrongful act. CCTV covered every cubic inch of the Moneygram store. My nod was suspect. I got two Moneygram forms and wrote out the proper information with my back turned to Earl and his customer.
They weren’t talking about movie.
“Anyone who thinks that 9/11 wasn’t a government operation is a fool.” Earl was speaking loudly. He was no drinker.
“That plane that hit the Pentagon was no plane. It was a missile.”
“And those people in Pennsylvania were shot down by an F-16.” The woman was white. Older. Well-dressed.
The two of them were repeating the same words that the President of Iran had said at the dais of the UN General Assembly. A fat man entered the store. He was breathing heavy. Earl introduced him to the white woman as Rabbi Moishe.
“Tell him what you saw on 9/11.” Earl pointed to the rabbi who was trying to regain his breath.
“That first plane exploded before it hit the North Building. I was standing on Greenwich Street. I saw the whole thing. That plane firebombed into the North Tower.”
That wasn't the first time I heard that and the rabbi said, “I saw the second plane crash into the South Tower. It fireballed inside the building. And the police found Mohammad Atta’s passport and not one of the black boxes.”
The rabbi had his facts down pat. He had seen every conspiracy film on 9/11. None of them had appeared in the theater. Hollywood was too busy making MAFIA II and THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA. I ignored their conversation, thinking that it was better not to say anything, because the three of them sounded like a plot of crazydom. I had probably sounded just as mad anytime I recounted my thoughts on the subject, since I had my doubts about the official line on that day and the assassination of JFK, RFK, and Martin Luther King.
I gave $300 to the Moneygram girl and said to Earl, “The people will never hear the truth until they stop believing the lies.”
It was my parting shot.
Earl, the white woman, and the rabbi raised their fists.
We were conspirators for the truth, even if the truth belonged to the mad, because they are the first people to see through the lies.