It was the hang-time of late fall, after leaves and before snow, and out on the playground where the real schooling happened, mastery was measured in marbles, and Rex’s ragged bag was always full. At morning recess Rex would reach barehanded into the iced over marble holes to remove the ice, expertly auger the holes smooth and sloped just so with the heel of his tattered Converses, then he’d call the shots, maybe boots and shoots, hitsies, no toesies… but he always called keepsies. There was no shame in losing to Rex, and sometimes a kid might even win a couple of rounds, but then would be obliged to accept the challenge of playing puresies or boulders, a higher stakes game they were certain to lose.
Though Rex was not in the habit of gratuitously punching anyone, he would give anyone who suggested that he had a dog’s name five good reasons not to make that mistake twice, for everyone that was anyone, that is anyone from here, knew better, knew that Rex meant king, and the king of the playground was always respected.
Most of the legends about Rex were true, including that he never cried, not once, not ever in all of school not even in kindergarten. So out of respect everyone stayed away, rushed to the swings or the slide on the Mondays after visitation, the mornings Rex’s eyes watered in the cold air as he stood alone, his marble bag heavy in the pocket of his thin jacket.
This six sentence story written for Unchartered Life under the Radar cue word “marble”.