Micro Fiction: Vol. 1 June 2009 Entry #6

Remember to send your entries along to me via e-mail. Each must be between 300-600 words and incorporate two randomly selected terms of your choosing.

Randomly Selected Words: market/evangelist

"A dozen apples all at once? In front of that run-down supermarket? Sorry Jared, but I think you're outta your goddamn mind."

There's something special about the local "Buy N' Bulk;" mounds and mounds of fresh fruit, slabs of chicken, those live lobsters that scutle around in the tank. You know, whatever you want, it's all there for the picking. But the biggest attraction for me was always the customers. My audience.

"Believe me Al, they're going to love it," I said. "Think of it, twelve apples, me juggling 'em all at once. It'll be amazing, man! I bet we get tips galore, it'll be unbelievable! Plus I hear the manager's looking for a new store mascot. You know, one of them guys to stand outside on the road and promote the store. But they don't want some sorry old wino. No, no ... they want someone with a bit of pep. I could be that guy! I bet he hires me right on the spot! Jugglin' Jared, Buy n' Bulk's newest attraction!"

I started the show off real light of course, any juggler would. You had to build the whole thing up. I was, after all, a performer, an evangelist for the much maligned and often misunderstood community of street artists.

Three red fruits passed in front of my face, bouncing along in a steady rhythm. I yelled to Al to throw in another. And another. And another.

The sixth one narrowly missed the other five, which were now spinning along at a pretty good clip. I had to arch the apples a little higher to keep the whole rhythm going, but overall, no complaints. And people were starting to watch. I'd already heard several clanks! in the ole' money hat, and even caught a few dollars slipped in, which meant some people must be pretty impressed.

Just wait, I thought. How'd that song go? 'Baby, you ain't seen nothing yet' ...

"One more Al ... now!" I yelled. "And another ... now!"

The seventh apple flew in, followed rapidly by the eighth. The juggling was becoming autonomous, I was locked into the zone -- I felt like I was floating above off the ground, the apples spinning weightlessly in front of my eyes, making time with the steady measure of my breathing.

Keep breathing I thought. This next one is going to be tough.

"And now! Make it nine!" I shouted.

A distant woman let loose with a hardy hoorah! as the apple fell perfectly into the dancing carousel of fruits. The spectators started to clap. More clanks! of money into the cap. Nine apples down, three to go.

"Hit me with two more!" I cried.

Al hadn't been prepared for that. We'd always had an unspoken rule - if ten or more objects were going, the apples had to come in one at a time. It was just to damn difficult otherwise. For both of us.

"Two more!" I repeated.

Al looked doubtful, but tossed the pair anyway. It was a perfect throw. And for a moment, as the incoming orbs hung silently in the sky, I thought we might actually do it. I reached as my hands danced underneath the nine apples, keeping them in perfect synchronicity. I reached ...

And I missed.

The whole shebang fell to the ground with a loud kablunk! smashing all over the Buy N' Bulk's automatic doormat. The manager came out screaming.

"Just what the heck do you think you're doing, trashing my store?" he yelled. "Didn't you two see the no loitering sign ya punks? Yeah, that means you Tossin' Tom! And juggling Sam, get da heck outta here before I call the cops."

"There goes your job," Al joked as we walked away.

"Oh shut up. You know he was watching the whole thing, anyway. What'd we get for tips?"

"Eh, not bad." Keith held up a wad of five dollar bills. "Wanna buy some more apples?"

"Maybe we'll have better luck with oranges," I suggested. "You know, better grip and all that."

"Okay," Al said. "You know, it was crazy, but for a second there I actually thought you were going to do it. Twelve apples, with ten and eleven together. Idda been a heck of a trick, man."

"Yeah, it would have been. Someday ... someday."

We headed off to buy more oranges.

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