Preface: This is a silly little story i wrote for Creative Writing class last Fall. The assignment was to create a short scene of conflict where one person was trying to get something from the other, except without using the word 'no'. I don't think 'no' is in there. Tell me if it is. It's dated September 18, 2006.
A skinny boy with red dreds sauntered by my booth. His face was crisp and glowing orange, freshly scorched. Ounces of sweat-water dripped down his jaw from under his plastic green leprechaun hat. He engaged the guy next door.
“Hey man, how much is a water?”
“One dollar, Gatorade is two. Looks like you could use a little refreshment, eh buddy?”
“Oh yea man, ya think so? Not sure SPF 420 could save my brain from melting out here if ya know what I mean?”
“I hear you, so what’ll it be?”
“Well shit man here’s the thing. I’m clean outta cash at the moment, so I was hopin’ maybe you might could help out a fair-haired friend and slip me a swig or two for free…”
“Aww sorry buddy, can’t help you there.”
“C’mon I’m dyin’ here. A little charity goes a long way concerning Karma.”
“I’m sorry but I mean, that comes right out of my pocket, and I’m barely breaking even as it is.”
“Ahh but sir, the day is almost done and soon the moment will pass, and your good deeds will be all that remain, no two dollars.”
“I told you…”
“I hear ya, yea alright, you seen any drinking fountains ‘round here?”
“Not at all, not much permanent plumbing in these parts.”
The boy took a half-turn and looked up and down the half-mile stretch of vendors. Food, drink, tie-dye and drums, stickers and cd’s, fancy fresh products crying for consumption and he, the consumer, left helpless. I called him over.
“Hey man, here’s a dollar, get yourself some water before you pass out.”
“Hah hahh I appreciate that but when I pass out it won’t be from dehydration! Plus, I’m really tryin’ to get my hands on a Gatorade. Water is well an’ good an’ all but ahh a Gatorade, now there’s somethin’ worth begging for.”
“Fair enough. So here’s two.”
“Thanks man, mighty generous of course, but I think I can finagle one for free here if I just keep workin’ on it.”
“This is free ain’t it?”
“Yea but cash is different. Doesn’t feel right somehow, know what I mean?”
I did. His hazed wide eyes wandered, scatterbrained, but met mine long enough to establish understanding. His eyes were kind, if a bit lost. It seemed he had simply misplaced his official friends only to find Everyone as his companion.
“What if I handed it right to the guy? Then he gave me the Gatorade, then I gave it to you, would that work?”
“Wait hold on, I’m gonna turn my back. When I turn around, whatever happens has happened and that’ll be that.”
I left the Gatorade sitting on the table and hid behind a rack of t-shirts. He turned around and laughed a joyous laugh at our little game. He smiled triumphant, holding the drink out in front of him for inspection. “Melon. FIERCE Melon. Hah Hahhh.” With that he heaved it towards the sky and with arms spread wide to the heavens screamed, “Thank Yoooouuu!!” He spun a one-footed 540 and caught the plastic bottle one-handed behind his back all in one motion and meandered back toward the stage, slipping into the mass dancing with love-ly electrolytes in his heart.