Saturday, August 09, 2014

Broken Mirror Shard - Day 8

I took a bit of time off from the blogging.  Not much, but enough to make me not want to continue doing it anymore.  I guess I need to hang out with other writers to recharge my motivators (and inertial dampeners), and I didn't get together with Big to talk about writing or podcasting this week.

I will at least try, though.


           Indeed, the next day, after feeding the ducks at Shinooginah Pond (of all activities), Stewart and Anthony went back to the Stop N Go for refreshments—chili dogs, this time—and a friendly pull of the claw.  The store employee was the same as the day before, and the MagiClaw sat exactly the same, although the baseball was gone.

            Anthony dropped fifty cents into the machine, managed to claw a watch, but lost it before it reached the trapdoor.  He shrugged it off, and let his big brother try.

            Stewart put quarter after quarter in the machine, but he kept coming up empty.  Once, the claw came up out of the covered space, a tattered comic book in its grasp.  It was a Superman comic, with the superhero holding a green automobile over his head.  Before it slipped from the claw’s grasp, Stewart saw the words ‘Action Comics’ at the top.  Then it was gone.

            “Holy crap!” Anthony exclaimed beside him. 

            “I know, right.  I can’t catch a friggin break.”

            “No, no, that book—that comic—that was the first Superman.  It’s, like, worth a zillion dollars or something!”

            “Yeah, right,” Stewart chided, but he did remember hearing on the news that an old Batman issue went for a thousand bucks or something in an auction recently.  It might even have been more, but Stewart hadn’t really been paying attention. 

            Stewart fed two more quarters into the machine—his last two.  This time, he won!

            A pack of gum, he won.  It was a pack of grape Bubblicious, and he cursed under his breath.  “All that for a pack of gum.”

            “I like grape.  That’s really good gum,” Anthony offered.

             “I’ve spent, like, six dollars—it better never lose its flavor.”

            He couldn’t let it go at that.  He went to the clerk to break more bills into quarters.  “You know, you’ve spent a lot on that machine,” observed the employee.

            “Yeah?” Stewart retorted, almost surly.  He wasn’t angry at the cashier so much as the damned MagiClaw.  It taunted him, teased him, kept pulling its goodies away from his grasp, like a drunk girl at an after-prom party.  Anthony had gotten bored of the game after a while, and had been talking to the guy (Adrian, his name was).

            “I’m just sayin.”

            “He said the machine is cursed,” Anthony told him. 

            Stewart looked at the man. “What?”

            Adrian leaned a bit over the counter, coming closer to tell them a secret.  “Nobody knows where the machine came from.  The boss ordered an ATM, and that came on the same truck, but not from the distributor.  And even though I’ve never seen anyone come into to stock it . . . it’s always full of prizes.”

            Stewart blinked.  “No joke?”

            The clerk cracked a smile.  “Sure, it’s a joke.  I only work three to eleven, so whoever stocks it comes in before I get here.”

            “But, it is magical, right?” Anthony asked him.

            The clerk shrugged.  “That’s just its name.”

            “He told me before that a kid won a pickup truck with the game,” Anthony tattled.

            “It’s true,” the clerk said, his face serious again.  “The claw pulled a Chevy Tahoe out of that thing.  It was amazing.”

            Both brothers stared at the clerk with growing awe.  “Really?” Anthony whispered.

            “No.  Of course not.  How would that even be possible?”

            “You’re not very funny,” Anthony growled.  Stewart couldn’t have said it better himself.

            “Fine.  But there was a guy here, like, two hours after you left yesterday, who got really excited when he was playing it.”

            Stewart too had gotten really excited, only afterward.  “Why?”

            “He said he got a certificate out of it that said he’d get full custody of his kids.”

            “What does that mean?” Anthony asked.

            “It means he got the kids in his divorce,” the clerk explained.

            “No, what does ‘certificate’ mean?”  And Stewart couldn’t tell if the boy was joking or not.  If he was, he decided he didn’t know his little brother well enough, even after seven years.

Word Count: 673
Word Total: 3770

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