Hang Time

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.

 

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This six sentence story written for  Unchartered Life under the Radar cue word “marble”. 

21 thoughts on “Hang Time

  1. ‘boulders’ !!! that was the (childhood) marble term that eluded me all night! weird, non?

    and that kid….the one with the most, (the marble king, if you will) always had a heavy cloth bag and it had a drawstring (clearly a professional holder of marbles)… not the raggedy brown paper lunch bags that the rest of us had to carry our paltry supply around in.

    good Six, yo

    Liked by 1 person

    • But the easy marks were not you brown baggers, but the shiny store bought marble bags with the shiny store-bought marbles ready to be plucked. Those newbies had the most but not for long. Marbles in my ‘hood was always outside in the dirt driveway with a hole, never a circle.
      Thanks for coming by.

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  2. I need to study up on marble terminology. Great SSS (your second for this cue!). This story left me wanting to know more about Rex, and maybe a way to help him feel less alone. Are the visitations because he is in some kind of confinement?

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    • I was working from memory on the marble terminology, wish I could recall more. Rex is a conglomerate character, the visitations are bit open to interpretation, but I think a parent in prison. Rex’s confinements are circumstance, but he still has potential and possibility. He scares the other kids a bit, but isn’t mean

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  3. I liked your story and the form you used to tell it. I’m new to SSS and made each sentence separate. I usually only do dialog with those characters so this was different. In looking at my story again I realize I should have combined a couple. Thanks for the SSS lesson and the marble playing lesson.

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    • Wow, thank you. I schooled you? High compliment. I usually do a 99 word response (check out Charli Mill’s site https://carrotranch.com/flash-fiction-2/ ) and that is a great discipline for making sure every word counts. I used to doubt my abilities with dialogue but find that with constraints it can be an efficient and effective means of delivering the story, and often have flash pieces with all dialogue. These six sentence stories are a different kind of constraint. Sometimes they are still only 99 words, sometimes some stretched complex sentences. But to have some limits, word count or sentence count, keeps the main idea focused and distilled, forcing decisions and revisions for clarity. So I say. I enjoy the exercise. Thank you for your visit and encouraging words.

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  4. After you, sir. No, I am in the mulling stage. Then comes the oh no I can’t I just won’t this week stage, I am too busy anyway. So, Monday at the latest? So far I have nothing. I did already write two “Ranch Yarns” at Carrot Ranch for this week, they are just my distillations of Charli’s post/prompt, and easy fun for me and for the ranch hands. Those developed into almost always total dialogue between recurring characters.

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