He must have been about six or seven. He was banging his nine-inch Silver Blaze action figure in the sand, shouting, “BAM! BAM! Take that!” over and over again. I watched him, not because I was admiring what he was doing but because I wanted the figure. I was thinking about how I was going to get one like it when the boy gave me an idea.
For some strange reason, which only made sense to that child, he dug a hole and put the figure in it. At first, I thought he was making Silver Blaze’s underground headquarters, but then he covered the hole and smoothed out the surface to blend with the rest of the sand. If it wasn’t for the blue shovel he staked in that spot, no one would be able to find it. After he was finished, he ran back to his parents, who were sunning about twenty feet away.
After I combed the sand and found a large rock behind me, I sauntered over to the spot where the boy had buried Silver Blaze and dropped it there. The boy, meanwhile, was chomping away on a sandwich. His father, who was now sitting up, turned to me. I looked down and kicked the shovel several feet away, praying no one would notice. I glanced at the boy and his family, who were all now eating and sharing a bag of corn puffs; then I found a place to sit down.
About 10 minutes later, the boy finished his lunch and ran back down to the spot. Confused by the misplaced shovel, he started burrowing with a ferocity I’d never seen in such a young child. When he couldn’t find Silver Blaze, tears fell down his sunburned cheeks. His father came down, wrapped his arm around him, and told him repeatedly, “It’s OK, we can get another one.”
When the family left an hour later, I rushed over to spot and dug up Silver Blaze. It was mine, all mine! But as I lifted the figure up to the sun, the boy’s father was standing in front of me.
Christopher Iacono lives with his wife and son in Massachusetts. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in tNY Press’ the EEEL, Unbroken Journal, and Unlost Journal. Besides writing fiction and poetry, he has also written book reviews for Three Percent and the Neglected Books Page.