Wednesday, May 06, 2009


Ben Gemel was the figure in the alleyway, the one Vic Hoyle had seen in the morning. Through the fog, Vic could see someone pacing back and forth behind the church. Vic had stopped to watch. He met others in the alleyway sometimes, but when they were nearby, near enough to make eye contact, he never stopped to watch. It would be asking for trouble. But this morning Ben Gemel was far enough from Vic Hoyle that Vic felt safe stopping and watching. The mist added distance, made Vic feel as if he were further from Ben Gemel than he really was. He didn't realize this at the time.

Ben Gemel was looking for something he had thrown out of a window a half hour earlier. He had been meeting with a deacon, had brought something to sell him, and had noticed something interesting on the deacon's desk. A little brass disk, the size of a dime, with a loop on one side as if it were meant to hang on a necklace.

As the deacon rambled on about some righteous thing or another, trying to convince Ben Gemel to lower his price, Ben had concentrated all his mental energies on the brass disk. It was as if there was nothing else in the room! When the deacon stopped talking, Ben Gemel named a price. The deacon paused, smiled, and nodded. Ben Gemel stretched out his arm and opened his hand, palm up, in the space between himself and the deacon. In his palm there was a seed, tiny, tinier than a fennel seed, and heavier than the shoes Ben Gemel was wearing. Ben Gemel smiled a toothy smile at the deacon, and repeated his price.

The deacon crept forward, seemingly repelled by the miniscule object in Ben Gemel's upturned palm. He spoke one word: "Paid". He licked the tip of his index finger with a dry tongue, and pressed the fingertip into Ben Gemel's palm. There was a flash of light and a loud pop, and the deacon was replaced in the room by a pile of green ashes and an aromatic mist. Ben Gemel went to the deacon's desk, to the brass disk, and picked it up. He went to the window, pried it open, and tossed the disk into the alleyway.

Ben Gemel paced in the alleyway, searching for the disk. Vic Hoyle watched him from a smaller distance than was in fact safe or advisable. Ben Gemel knew he was being watched. He saw a glint of metal in a tuft of grimy gray grass, and knelt to have a look. It was his treasure. He picked it up, held it up to his one good eye, and smiled. It was a toothy smile.

1 comment:

  1. wow,the first time i read through your 'novel' and pictured it~~ felt like watching Naruto and your cat in the fern!~~