);

MARBLES by Bram Riddlebarger

“Sit down and take a load off,” said Jack.

“We’ve been working like the queen’s bees.”

“Yeah,” said Tommy.

He was tired.

“Which one did you go out on today, Tommy? I thought I saw that #4 sagging a little.”

Jack wasn’t joking.

Tommy was real fat.

He was tired, too.

“No,” said Tommy. “I stayed on shore and flirted with that cute little Amy. The one with only one eye. Besides that, she’s real cute.”

“Are you shitting me?”

“Nope,” said Tommy.

They drank warm beer out of brown bottles.

Jack couldn’t believe this Tommy.

“Hitting on the ladies, huh?” said Jack.

“You know, I’d watch out for that one-eyed . . . “

But that was as far as Tommy would let Jack go.

He let Jack have it with some real dialogue.

“Now, hold on there, Jack,” said Tommy.

“Just watch your mouth about the one-eyed women.

Amy seems okay.”

“Okay?” said Jack.

“Have you lost your marbles? Or did this one-eyed Amy eat ‘em already?”

Jack was a mean-spirited man.

He had watched Amy switch around in the office at the building beside the water many times himself.

He had wondered what it would be like to be with a one-eyed woman.

Tommy said, “Yeah. She ate them.”

“What?”

“She ate them.”

“What?”

“She ate them.”

Jack emptied his brown bottle of beer.

He looked at Tommy.

He squinted at Tommy with one eye closed.

And he knew that they weren’t there anymore.

Poor guy, he thought.

No marbles.

Jack stood up to get another warm bottle of beer.

Tommy said,

“We both got something missing now.”

Read Next: GRANDMOTHER by R.E. Hengsterman