“Step right up! I talk in clichés but that’s not the point. In the end it’s about your heart and what you can do with it. So what can you do with it?”
That was his line. I was surprised. He ran a carnival game and had thick painted forearms hangin from his shoulders. Luggish like ape but like human too. More than I’d been expectin. He had a mind.
“What are you thinkin about Bud?” he asked.
“Nothin,” I said, then looked at the game. “So how does it work?”
“Like a clock in an egg-timer in a burnt rainbow.” I think he meant the deep colors. Then he explained the set-up.
“See this hammer? Here it’s red and rubber but originally it was a blacksmith’s tool and a homemaker’s tool. Heaven forbid we use its genius to end lives but when I start this game and those curious critters pop their heads outta their holes, the sky’s gotta fall. Know what I’m sayin Bud? Drop that hammer on their heads.”
I stood hunched.
“More heads, bigger points. Bigger points, more prizes,” he winked, then pointed up. There were danglin stuffed legs hangin down.
“What do I get for one?”
He picked a silver lighter out of his jeans and twirled it between his fingers.
“One hit. That’s like chokin on a chicken bone while the dog eats the meat. Not too confident in yourself are you?”
“I’m confident enough,” I answered.
“Then do it, play it! But not for the spoils of the game. From what I’m guessin you don’t much need a 4-foot Pink Panther doll anyway.”
“Then play just to play, and run that gray attitude of yours high up the flagpole where it belongs. A lot worse things in this world than losin.”
I thought about it and dug for a dollar coin. “Alright.”
Hell of a guy I gotta say, openin his heart to a bare stranger like that. Bein the salesman type he didn’t have to, was just suppose to offer up a service along with a bit of smile. Service with a smile. Kind’ve gave me a strange one as I was leavin actually. Maybe scoopin up 30 of them Pink Panthers was too much.