#8 The Trade

by William Lapham

The trade happened on the far side of the city park, on the other side of the dusty baseball fields where Sylvester grew up sitting on the benches, on a bridge over a creek – the North Branch of the River Rouge – where he once hunted for crayfish under the river rocks with his friends, just down from an ancient hill cut by the creek's erosive flow, on which cottonwoods grew, their leaves sounding like ripping linens in the wind, their shade providing relief from the summertime heat.

The park was packed on opening day of the little-league season: colorful formations of teams on the baselines, the American Flag waving over the American Way. They played the National Anthem and an old man in a baseball uniform made a speech.

"Baseball is a kid's game," he said. "The American Pastime."

They sang, Take Me Out to the Ballgame.

The trade was three dollars for sunshine.

"Get a hit!" some proud parents yelled. They didn't know about the bridge transaction happening mere yards from their children, innocent kids they hoped to protect from such depraved activity.

It hit Sylvester in the foyer of his parents' home. Electricity raced through the paint. He lost perspective in the pantry where the vanishing point hid. The furniture looked weak, fragile. He laughed until he cramped: the interior lines didn't match up. He saw colored trails and melting walls and neon footprints. Sitting in the Barcalounger, Sylvester watched John Wayne charge Suribachi. Again, Sergeant Stryker died.


Jonathan Riley said...

Great job with the setting. Feel like I'm there!

Deb said...

Hunting crayfish, the cottonwood trees, the Barcalounger...nice. I didn't know the word "sunshine" in this sense, but we don't need to, to get what it is. The parent yelling "Get a hit" while Sylvester IS getting a hit...very clever.

Anonymous said...

The trade. Ironic and sad. Electricity runs through the paint, damn!