StoryRhyme After Dark: Which Hand?

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Which Hand?
By Harry Buschman


I used to ask him to guess which hand it was in. He'd say, "This hand," or "That hand." Then I'd drop the quarter in the hand he didn't pick and show him my empty hand. "Damn," he'd say, "I could'a sworn it was in that hand."

I don't how many quarters I won that way. Vinnie was easy, slow to catch on to things. He had trusting eyes—blue they were, soft blue, like faded blue jeans. His mouth made a little "o" whenever he saw something he marveled at. The rest of us would pass it by, whatever it was, but Vinnie would stop and point. "Look at that," he'd say, "look how the wind waves the grass." Or maybe it would be a funny cloud shaped like a camel or a ship under sail. We would never know that it looked like anything other than a cloud if Vinnie wasn't with us to make us see it.

Vinnie had a hard time tying his shoes, doing his homework and being a boy like the rest of us. He wanted to be—that much I know, and when school let out at the end of each day, Vinnie was still in there. I'd pass by the window and look in. Vinnie would be in there alone, doing his sums or trying to copy the upper and lower case alphabet that the teacher wrote on the blackboard.

I'd reach in with both hands folded like fists and I'd say, "Which hand Vinnie—this one or that one?" His blue jean eyes would light up and he'd point to one hand or the other—and I'd show him the empty hand. "Damn," he'd say. "I could'a sworn…"

(c) 2012 Harry Buschman
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