Sunday, August 03, 2014

Broken Mirror Shard - Day 6

I got no writing done on Friday, as it was GUARDIANS day.  Which is not an excuse, but I chose to hang out with my nephew, cousin, and friend, and edited audiobooks when I was not.

However, I will endeavor to make it up to you.

Words, muse!  Give me words!


            The clerk did as he was told, giving the boy three fives, three ones, and eight quarters.  As soon as his brother had the change, Stewart said, “He won that twenty, from the claw machine.”

            “Really?  We just got it in last week.”  The clerk looked past them, at the big black machine, and did not look pleased.  “You know, those games don’t usually pay out too good.  You might want to quit while you’re ahead.”

            “A guy won gold a minute ago,” Anthony said.

            The clerk—whose name tag read Adrian, glanced over at it again.  “Yeah, well.  A lady I know claimed it had her car keys in it when it first came in.  But she dropped them back in, so we’ll never know.”

            “Yeah,” Stewart said.  “Those things suck.  You can’t even see what’s in this one.”

            “I see a baseball.”

            “It’s probably nailed on there.”

            The clerk snorted, pleased by the youth’s cynicism.  “Probably.  You want to pay for your drinks?”

            Stewart hadn’t realized they’d forgotten about the soda and the Icee, and he told his brother to pay.  “Since you have so much cash on you.”

            The boy was glad to, but as soon as that was done, they were back beside the MagiClaw, and Anthony was feeding two quarters in.

            “You gonna try for the baseball?”

            “Baseball’s lame,” the boy said, and moved the claw past the ball—which was old and scuffed, with “Robinson – 42” scrawled on it in blue ink.  He maneuvered the claw over to the right, and lowered it down out of sight, where the black partition hid it from view.

            Stewart felt his chest tighten as the claw descended, closed, and began to rise again.  It moved to the left, where they could see what it had captured . . . absolutely nothing.

            “Oh,” Stewart heard himself say.  He had—for a second there—believed it would scoop up something good.  He felt suddenly disappointed, not in the machine, but in himself.  “Come on,” he said, putting his hand on the boy’s back.  “Let’s go.”

            “Do you want to try?” Anthony asked.

            And Stewart surprised himself by saying, “Sure.” 

            He took two quarters from the boy—technically his own quarters, since he’d paid for the first game—and fed them into the slot.  The lights on MagiClaw began to flash, and a little countdown started from ten.

            Stewart used the joystick to move the claw over the trapdoor and into the mystery section blocked from view.  He couldn’t see whether something good lay below—the whole machine might have been empty except for the old baseball for all he knew—but lowered the claw.  It dropped, then began to rise, moving on its own back toward the vending door.

            The claw had a little white paper in its teeth, fingers, whatever.

            “More money!” Anthony cheered.

            “Not unless it’s a check, Annie,” Stewart said.

            “Hey!” his brother said behind him, unhappily.

            The paper dropped into the opening, and Stewart reached in and got it.  It wasn’t a check; it was just a sheet of unlined white paper, folded once.  He opened it up.

            BEWBIES, it read, in flowery handwriting.

            “Lemme see!” Anthony said, and Stewart showed him the joke.  For that’s what it had to be.

            “Bewbies?” read the kid.  “Is that how you spell—”

            “No.  It isn’t.”  Stewart’s back molars were grinding together.  He focused all his self-control on not looking toward the cash register to see if the clerk was watching them, maybe smirking.  Instead, he turned in the opposite direction.  “Let’s get the hell out of here.”

Word Count: 601
Word Total: 2587

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