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Don't litter

I am sitting on a bench finishing my morning coffee. The coffee in the paper cup is almost gone, only few crumbs left at the bottom. I automatically turn over the cup and pour out black crumbs on the pavement, cursing myself for such a frivolous act incompatible with the conscience of a good citizen. However, I have had neither conscience nor citizenship for a long time.

Simultaneously with my awkward discharge, a Chinese woman of indefinite age rises from the opposite bench and walks toward me. Actually, not to me, but to check on her kids. Here they are crawling on the ground, right under my feet. I realize that the coffee crumbs fell not on the ground, but on the children and must have soiled their jackets. The children are of different sexes. But their jackets are identical. The mother comes up and silently squats by my feet, thoroughly evaluating the damage. I pretend that I have nothing to do with this, however anticipating that the situation would not resolve by itself. The Chinese woman looks up at me, her eyes filled with anxiety. I try to explain that the coffee stains are not noticeable on dark-colored jackets. And even if they were, a similar case had occurred in the neighboring state in the spring of 1967. A certain José Miguel Avedas, an illegal resident of the United States of America, dumped a whole bunch of coffee grounds on Cynthia Clarke, a minor. The jury back then acquitted José Miguel for lack of intent, despite the dark spots on his biography. In 2005, José peacefully passed away surrounded by his illegitimate grandchildren. This precedent effectively closes the question in my favor.

While hastily pouring this information into the patient ears of Chinese woman—their tips sticking out of her straight hair—I try to remove spots from the jackets watering them with my saliva. It is said after all, “Thou shalt not litter.”

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