Say what you will about Rish . . . it can't be worse than what he says about himself.
"I hope it's gonna make you notice,
I hope it's gonna make you notice . . .
Someone like me."
Kings of Leon
"I don't think anyone knows what they really think--or perhaps even what they really know--until it's written down."
Thursday, August 14, 2014
Broken Mirror Shard - Day 10
So, the story is done. And it sure ain't great. But that doesn't mean I shouldn't have written it. You learn something by every new experience, every job you have, every time you get fired for throwing a pencil.
I have done a tad of revising as I went along, so the word count is way off by this point, and there was a bit earlier on that I had to change, but here you are, the last section. Thanks for reading!
They approached the MagiClaw.Stewart thought of valuables hiding in
there—treasures untold—and decided he would be happy with just more text
messages from naked classmates.Either
one would be mighty nice.
But what he got was nothing, just
more disappointment, more near misses with prizes he only glimpsed for a second
before they disappeared, never to show themselves again.His quarters ran out, and he found himself
mad at the machine, mad at himself, and made at Anthony for having won and
still being ahead of the game.
Customers came and went, all being
rung up by the smiling boy cashier with a girl’s name.Stewart was mad at him too.
Anthony took over.The lights blinked and the claw started
Stewart stopped watching the claw
and started watching his brother.Anthony’s little hands were tight on the joystick, gripping it as though
his life depended on it.He had a wild
look in his eyes, and Stewart suddenly understood what Adrian the Clerk had
been getting at.
When Anthony—who was practically the
swear police—muttered the f-word when a Transformers toy dropped from the
claw’s grasp, Stewart realized it was time to go.
“Hey, Ant, it’s we’re done, okay?”
“What?” snarled the boy.
“One more and we’re gonna go.”
“No, no,” whined the boy.“You said we could do what I want today and I
want to do this.”
“We have done this.”Stewart sighed.“Come on, man.You’re almost out of money by now.Let’s quit while we’re ahead.”
Anthony snorted.“Oh, I lost that twenty a long time ago.This is Mom’s money from the back of the
Stewart stared at his brother,
hoping that had been a joke.Anthony
always walked the straight and narrow, so much so it was embarrassing (and
angering, when Mom would ask why Stewart couldn’t be more like him).But this was a completely different kid.“Okay, then.We’re done.No more quarters, no
But Anthony had already dropped a
second quarter into the machine, and the lights were blinking as the claw
started to move.
“Come on, you . . .” the seven year
old breathed, calling the MagiClaw a name so dirty Stewart himself would pause
before saying it.
The claw moved above the treasure
trove, opened, and Anthony lowered it down.The claw rose again, and it had something in its grasp: a piece of white
and yellow cloth.It was a shirt,
apparently--not a clean one—and the boy muttered “the hell?” as the claw
returned to its base and released the shirt into the trapdoor.
It was some kind of sports jersey,
or had been in its better days.It
seemed ragged and used, and at first Stewart was afraid to touch it.But Anthony made a dejected sound, so Stewart
reached into the trap door and pulled it out.
There were marks on the white
fabric, and Stewart suspected someone had cleaned a locker room with it, maybe
used it for a baby’s diaper.He expected
it to stink, but it had apparently been dry cleaned recently, because it still
had the ticket on it.
“I don’t get it,” Anthony said.
“It’s a football jersey,” Stewart
observed, turning it around to see a 75 on the back.
“It says Greene, but it’s white,”
Anthony pointed out.From his tone, he
felt pretty ripped off.
“It might have been white once,” Stewart
began, “but now I’d say it’s—”
“What have you got there?” the nosy
They looked over.Adrian the Clerk was watching them over his
register.Stewart considered saying
something mean like ‘Something 100% none of your business,’ or ‘Your mom’s
underwear,’ but instead held it up with one hand.
“Whoa,” breathed the clerk, and to
Stewart, it sounded like he was being shown a topless photo of Claudia
“What?What is it?”
They both went to the counter and
the clerk held out his hands with excitement.“It can’t be,” Adrian said.
Stewart was hesitant to give him the
jersey, at least till he understood what was so fascinating about it.Upon closer examination, the dry cleaning tag
turned out to be an auction tag.Authentic Coca-Cola 1979 “Coke and a Smile”
commercial shoot jersey, Sotheby’s New York.
“I don’t understand.What is it?”
“No, you wouldn’t,” the clerk
said.“You’re too young.I’m barely old enough.This kid gave Joe Greene a Coke and Joe gave
him his sweaty jersey.”
“Gross,” Anthony said.“Who’s Joe Greene?”
“It was a commercial back when they
meant something.”The clerk imitated an
excited child’s voice.“’Thanks, Mean
“Who’s Mean Joe?”
“He was a football player, a defensive
lineman from the Steelers.”
“Football is lame,” Anthony said,
but the wheels were already spinning in Stewart’s head.
“So, this jersey is famous?Or, at least, famous to old people?”
“Yeah, to ‘old people’ like me, this
is like the Holy Grail of jerseys.”
“What’ a Holy Crail?” Anthony
Stewart ignored him.“So, this is worth something?”
“Yes, surely.I don’t know how much, but, at least a couple
Stewart interrupted him, never
knowing the clerk was going to say ‘grand.’“What will you give me for it?”
“Me?Well, you’ll get a lot more if you go to an auction house, or just list
it on eBa—”
Stewart hadn’t been born
yesterday.“Nahh, if you think it’s so
great, you buy it.Two hundred bucks.”Stewart knew he was pushing it, suggesting a
dirty old jersey from the Seventies might be worth hundreds of dollars, but the
clerk seemed way interested.
“You’re serious?” Adrian the Clerk
asked, seeming suspicious again, like when they’d told him to double check the
twenty.“Two hundred dollars?”
“Okay, if you don’t want it . . .”
Stewart began, taking the ancient shirt away from his grasp.
“Oh, I guess I want it.But you drive a hard bargain.”The clerk grinned big, finding this all funny
for some reason, and pressed a few buttons on the resister.It slid open.Adrian counted out two hundred dollars in twenties and tens.“Look, Spencer, was it?”
“Stewart,” he corrected, but
“You’re ahead now.Go outside.Buy a girl you like a seashell necklace or a dreamcatcher or something.”
“Because girls like that stuff.Enjoy the rest of summer.”
Stewart put his hand out.“Okay.”He traded the gross old jersey for the money, and clutched the bills
tightly in his hand.He wondered, for
some reason, if he’d gotten Anthony’s twenty from the day before in that
“You too, kiddo,” the clerk said to
Anthony.To Stewart, he said, “Take
advantage of sunshine and youth.”
“Because neither of those things
Anthony nodded, Stewart stayed poker-faced,
and both brothers turned to go.
They passed the MagiClaw, sitting
there, all mysterious-like.Who knew
what bounty still lay inside, concealed by that infuriating black
partition?Stewart fought the urge to kick
the machine, but settled for flipping it the bird.
They emerged into the sunny late afternoon,
surprised to see how long the shadows were getting.People were coming home from work, families
were heading out to dinner, romances were just about to blossom.Stewart had some cash in his pocket, and a
story to tell.
He patted Anthony on the back and
went to unlock the boy’s bicycle from where they’d stashed it.
“Stewart?” Anthony said timidly.
“Is two hundred dollars a lot of
“Yes.No.Sort of.”He thought he knew what
his kid brother was going to ask, and he decided he’d share some of the
wealth.It was only fair.
“It could buy a lot of quarters,
though,” the boy said instead.
huh,” Stewart chuckled, glancing behind them at the convenience store.“I was thinking the same thing.”