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Lizaveta, a grey-haired Russian widow, stood outside of the bakery for a full fifteen minutes, struggling to decipher the prices listed on the swinging glass door. She clutched an over sized carpet handbag in her hands, as if it could somehow translate the words before her. Finally, something close to comprehension lit up her face, and she pushed heavily on the door, shaking her head as she muttered in Russian to herself. She reviewed the correct phrases over and over in her mind. She approached the pastry technician.
"I voud likedt to buy breadt, pleese. Von lof, pleese. I haf enough monies. Tank you."
The pastry technician looked at her blankly, then handed her a ticket. "I'm sorry, ma'am, but you have to wait until your number is called." She turned to help a young man with a three year old girl in his arms, who was buying a sugar cookie for her.
The widow looked back at the blonde girl just as blankly, then at the ticket. "No." She said slowly and firmly, as if speaking to a dumb child. "I not vant paper. Pleese to buy breadt. Breadt, not paper." Lizaveta shoved the ticket stub back at the pastry technician.
"You need paper to buy bread. You must wait for the number on the paper to be called before you can buy bread." She said just as slowly and firmly. "Twenty-seven!" she then shouted out. An old man came up and selected two loaves of whole wheat bread.
"No. I haf paper monies." She took out a five dollar bill, waving it in front of the pastry technician. "You see? I haf paper monies for breadt. I not vant theese paper. I vant breadt. Von lof."
The bell above the door jingled as another customer entered. Lizaveta was growing frustrated. "I jus vant von lof of breadt. Note paper. Breadt. You serv theese udder peeples but not serv me."
"I'm sorry, ma'am, but you have to wait. I can't sell you the bread until the other customers have been served."
Suddenly, Donat, a young man wearing a tattered black overcoat walked up beside Lizaveta and very calmly pulled out a pistol, pointing it at the blonde pastry technician.
"I 'ave cahm to leeberáte your pasteries. Give zem to meh now, mah petite blonde pearson. A long with all of your monnee." he said calmly. "Give meh ze pasteries and ze monnees." He then added with a sneer, "And zen no wahn will bee 'urt."
Lizaveta paused a moment to figure out what was happening. As the blonde girl behind the counter began to quickly give Donat the money and the pastries, she grew irate.
"So, you serv theese man when he ahsk but note me? You not like the Russia peeples? You not give paper to man and say "Take theese not breadt"? I tink not!" She then took her large handbag and began to swing it at Donat. He cried out at the blow, dropping the gun in his surprise.
"Waht is zees? Aie! You crazee old woahman! Stop heeting meh!"
"No! I vait heere and vait heere and all I get is paper! Not breadt! You valk in here and ahsk for breadt and dey geeve you breadt!" Lizaveta continued to whack at him with her handbag.
"I stop, I stop! I surrendeur!" Donat cried. He slipped on the tiles, falling down. Lizaveta continued to beat him with the handbag as he covered his face with his hands. The pastry technician had meanwhile called the police. They arrived shortly after Donat fell.
"I ahm innocent! Stop you crosse-eyed imbeciles!" He shouted as they pulled him away. "Vive la patiserrie! Frwee ze pasteries!"
Lizavete turned to the pastry technician, a self-satisfied look on her face. "Now. I vant breadt. Von lof. Note paper."
Rather dumbly, the girl took a loaf of freshly baked bread, wrapped it up, and handed it to her. When Lizavete tried to pay her, she shook her head. "Free of charge."
"Free." This was a word Lizavete knew. Smiling contentedly, she took her bread and walked out of the bakery.