“Uncle Ron,” said 7 year old Ivy, “Do you know what the Underground Railroad was?”
“You mean is. It still exists but doesn’t go by it’s formal name anymore.”
“Quit it Uncle Ron. My teacher said it no longer exists. Since they stopped slavery.”
“Oh it does exist. In many cities. Perhaps you know it by it’s slang name: the Subway.”
“You’re making things up!”
“Am not. A subway is an underground railroad. By definition.”
“The Underground Railroad. For escaping slaves.”
Uncle Ron screwed up his face for a moment before beginning again.
“I see. So you think that slavery no longer exists. Can you explain to me what a farmers market is?”
“That’s where farmers sell the food they’ve grown. A farmer’s market.”
“No. I said farmers market. Without the apostrophe. That’s the place where they sell farmers. Haven’t you heard that farmers work for peanuts? Well they literally do. They grow peanuts to feed themselves and the ones that are left over are sold in grocery stores. The grocery conglomerates get the money.”
“No!” Exclaimed Ivy quite sure of herself.
“Where do you think the government goes when they’ve got a bone to pick with Vietnam or North Korea or Nazi Germany?”
“I don’t know.” said Ivy.
“They go to the general store to buy a general. And the really good generals cost a lot of money. That’s why countries usually end up in debt after a war. They spent so much money on generals.”
“I don’t think that a general store exists.” said Ivy.
“Well they used to. That’s something else your teacher could teach you. Then there’s the smallest market of all. The Flea market. Do you know what they sell there?
“They don’t sell fleas. And you can’t make fleas into slaves. They won’t understand.”
‘You’re right. They don’t sell fleas. They sell Flea. The bassist for the Red Hot Chili Peppers. And they only sold him once. To his band. He was worth a lot of money. So much in fact that the owner of the Flea market went into retirement when Flea was sold.”
Ivy stood arms akimbo and then pointed at herself. “I’ve been to the flea market. A few times. It has a bunch of mini stores in a big building. No bassist.”
Uncle Ron laughed. “Well maybe I’m wrong about the flea market. But I’m right about the other two.”