Scene One

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The kid flicked his greasy thumb and scored dubs. My raised eyebrow momentarily betrayed the poker face I usually wore for such ocassions. This thumb sucker should be at home watching cartoons and guzzling down a warm bottle of milk. Not scoring points against me.  But with nothing more than an Atomic Angel and a click and a clack, this little snot had taken out both my Giant Panda and my Red Devil.  

The boys that had gathered around the chalk circle oohed and murmured to themselves, elbowing each other in the ribs.  I caught bits of their hushed conversations.

"Did you see him get creamed?" One boy whispered to his friend.

 "Old Arly's finally gonna get licked this time for sure."  Another boy whispered back.

My Giant Panda rolled to a stop at the heel of my left Chuck Taylor and I plucked it up with my thumb and forefinger. I rolled it around in my palm.  Such a beautifully simple thing really. A white sphere.  Some sooty black splotches.  A glossy finish. The name was totally arbitrary.  It could have easily been called a Black and White. Or any other number of names. A Skunk. A Zebra. But I liked Giant Panda.  It sounded more menacing. Plus the name fit the rotund shape of the oversized marble better than any of the others.

"Ahem," my opponent coughed, his arm outstretched, palm open.  I placed the Giant Panda in his hand and he snapped his fingers tightly around it.  I really hated to see it go.  He uncerimoniously dropped the marble in his pouch, and pulled the string shut.  Goodbye Giant Panda. Such was the way with marbles.  My collection, though constantly expanding, was an ever changing menagerie of of marbles that had at one time been in the pouches of every boy in the city.  I had won the Giant Panda before.  Twice it had come into my posession.  I was sure I would see it again. But still, it was sad to know that when I open up my marble sack, I would no longer find it waiting there for me.

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