copyright Jan Wayne Fields
The booth clung to the edge of the fairground like a leech. The owner sat alone, swiping at a futuristic-looking tablet.
“Whadya got?” I asked.
He stood, flashing me a shark grin. “Novelties from lost places.” He proffered a small box. “From the Garden of Eden. Real apple wood.”
I rummaged through the items. “Lost places? Really?” I held up a hat marked CALIFORNIA.
He glanced at his watch. It had no time, just the year: 2020.
“How’d that get in there?” His shark grin widened as he shoved the hat behind him. “Now, how about a T-shirt from Atlantis?”
Knick-Knack Paddy Whack
Gut-twist, I call it—that hard, acidy stomach punch that comes when I smell the bright-red odor and see the crimson flowers blooming all over the walls and floor.
I do clean-up. Paddy lets all the red out and I collect it up in a bag, along with Miss Gone-Far-Away (it’s always Miss).
Paddy laughs at my knick-knacks, calls me a baby. But he lets me do it ‘cuz Miss Gone-Far-Away don’t need them anymore. So I take a coin, a charm, maybe a watch.
Sorry, I whisper to them every night. Sorry you met Paddy. I just do clean-up.
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