ix months living second to second, hoarding weekly allowances, shouldering extra chores like Atlas, scavenging for bottles in the greenbelt until the sun bursts like an ostrich egg on the hills and the hound up the street bellows him home to dinner.
Day after day, week after week for six months of hard labour, time and pennies funneling down into a treasure trove he packs into a plastic bag from Mr. Grocer and ducks by his parents screaming to hop a bus striped orange like a creamsicle, heart cracking ribs with each pothole, in through the doors of Consumers Distributing, up to the counter, standing on tiptoes to jab a finger at page one forty-six of the catalogue, the clerk nodding like a priest at Vespers, disappearing through a passageway, returning an eternity of seconds later with a cardboard rectangle, money swapped, treasure for treasure, then the long ride home, the box cradled like a baby on his lap, deciphering the hieroglyphs, secret words and hidden meanings, this crossing only a psychopomp could love, finally home, past his parents howling, up the stairs, to dump the cardboard on the rainbow shag carpet, cutting the tape with a box cutter like he’s defusing a bomb, and out it comes in a rainfall of foam and plastic, the sum of fifteen million seven hundred and sixty-eight thousand grains of sand rattling and piling and crumbling through the hourglass. Him, here, now.
Black and grey rubber. Four fingers and a thumb. A glove.
It slides on easy. Made for him. Crafted and tempered in some factory in the far east. He plugs it into the grey slab and hits the power stub. He makes a fist, strikes a pose, like in the advertisements plastered all over his walls. His parents shriek like the Furies downstairs. He plays with power. For two minutes. Stretching into five. Reaching for six. Then, he takes the glove off, drops it on the bed. Disappointment wells up inside him like blood. Half a year gone, and his parents will roar straight on to Christmas.
Remember when you were a minipop, and you saw that film, you know, the one you loved that never had a sequel? Well, let's say it did. And it was just like you imagined it, only a little bit worse.