Chapter 4: The Oasis

“Jeanie, I know this is going to sound weird but I need your help.”

“Oh don’t worry, I have money, she said.”

“No, Mark laughed, when we walk in the store, I have a friend who I’m trying to impress, would you pretend to be my girlfriend, Mark asked?”

“What, Jeanie replied?”

“The owner of the store, is a friend of mine, and I want to impress him, Mark begged.”

“Oh Mark, No, that would not be appropriate, I mean I just met you, and I don’t know anything about you, it could get really uncomfortable…”

“It’s just a joke, and if you play along, I’ll buy you a double scoop of vanilla ice-cream, he interrupted.”

“Jeanie wasn’t going to take his first offer, …with strawberry sprinkles, she countered?”

“Done, Mark settled, he offered his hand to shake, Jeanie reluctantly shook it.”

The Oasis, was a party store owned by Assad, a second generation, American citizen of Arabian descent. He inherited the store from his father, who bought it back in the seventies.

Assad was a short, balding, overweight, middle-aged man, who wore several thick gold chains, and a Hawaiian-styled shirt. Mark thought Assad resembled a modern-day version of a disco-dressing pimp. A real throwback from the 70’s, a look that only Assad could pull off.

The Oasis was a party store that primary sold liquor, but over the years Assad, had built it up to a first-class establishment. It was a commercial building in a residential neighborhood, and within a residential sub-division that, was legal at that time, so his store was grandfathered in.

Assad would not be granted a permit to rebuild his store at another location or even expand it expand it outside of his legal restrictions. But it could stay where it was, and the white community, who hated it there, could do nothing about it.

Assad had expanded it by adding additional freezers in the back, pizza ovens up front, remodeled the deli counter, put in flavored coffee machines, expanded the existing soda fountains to include Frozen Slurpee’s, and now the newest edition was hand dipped ice-cream. He finally qualified as an agent for State Treasury, so he sold lottery tickets as well.

But a party story in an upscale sub-division was considered as tacky as it was convenient, no-matter how first-rate. Some believed that a commercial building had no business in a predominately upper middle class white residential neighborhood, and neither did its Arab owner.

The white community that surrounded Assad were always overly polite to his face, and they all went to his store because it was very convenient, as opposed to the nearest super-market that was easily fifteen miles away.

But Assad was no fool, and he knew he would never be accepted as one of “them,” the white establishment, who bought his goods but made fun of him behind his back. He would always be just another undesirable with money.

Some regarded Assad no better than a low-life pimp, who could afford to golf at the most expensive resorts in the world, but every member would avoid him like the black-plague because his money was just as illegitimate as he was.

The other members of the subdivision would ask John, Mark’s father, if there was anything that could be done about the store. Legally the home-owner’s association, which John was a member of, could do nothing to overturn a federal law, but being a big shot attorney downtown who had political connections, still made him look bad.

So, the same people who went to Assad’s store, spent money, shook hands, and were all smiles to his face, but were the same ones who tried to change the zoning laws to have Assad ousted behind his back, which of course was impossible.

Mark’s father himself wouldn’t even go to his store and he didn’t like Mark hanging around Assad either with the exception, that Assad gave him a job during the summers. He liked the fact that his son was willing to work, and he thought a job would be a good experience for him.

But Michigan was not California, it might have been known as a blue state, but not for its liberal views. Despite the inner-city the state as a whole, still had a nonsense, work hard; play hard, working class mentality. Those who still had a job.

Arabic business owners who were exempt from paying taxes (unlike every other hard-working, natural-born citizen), since the Jimmy Carter Administration, and this secretly made them exempt to this day.

This was all done thru the Trilateral Commission though no one knows (to this day) who they are or why they can decide racial, economic policy for the United States. This exemption was supposed to be temporary in nature, and for seven years. But the owner could legally pass it that exemption on to a blood relative there after, which extended this loophole forever.