The Deal

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Marcus Darwell played with the sugar pot. He had this game where he lifted the top of the pot and dropped it back down so it fit snugly into its mold. When he acheived a perfect landing, he’d drop the top from a higher point. He was doing pretty well; all things considered. The pot was old. It had lines along the grooves like wrinkles. Me and the sugar pot. He wondered how the lines got on the sugar pot. Water? Too many wash cycles? Pets, different owners, careless children.

“Why don’t you think it matters?”

Suprised to hear the opposite, he moved his hand from the pot to the fork. He touched his four fingers to the four points, running them along the edges. He enjoyed the feeling of that soft spot in the center of his finger print and wished the fork’s teeth were sharper. He made a game out of it and changed hands with the phone and stopped playing with the fork and rubbed his hand over his eyes pulling the shade over tight so that his brain might have been confused into thinking it was night.

“I’m going to hang up the phone right now.”

But he didn’t. He tucked his chin in and when he (accidentally) flung the fork onto the floor the waiter came by and replaced it. He had a crooked smile and was very short. When he stood he barely made it up to the table. Sorry, said Marcus. And he was, too. He was sorry he set an alarm, woke up, got into the shower, put on his best jeans, his favorite watch, drove his nicest car to his favorite breakfast spot, and tried to enjoy eggs and coffee. He was sorry the woman sitting across from him wasn’t his wife. She, too—staring out—playing with an old sugar pot.

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