Away with some of it

Contributor: Tony Rauch

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I run up to our house. There are some strangers on the lawn and my father is handing them some of our belongings. “What’s going on here?” I huff out of breath, “Why‘re you givin’ ‘em our dining room chairs and grandfather clock?”

My dad looks down to me, “The entire village has to pitch in, not just us, honey,” he holds one end of the long ornate wooden clock and helps walk it down to a waiting horse drawn wagon on the road, “We lost at something and so we have to give some things up, that’s all sweetie,” he shuffles his feet to position himself as the strangers load the chairs into the long wooden wagon, “We can get by with out ‘em,” he helps to shove the heavy clock onto a blanket in the wagon. There are some other objects in the wagon - an end table, a cupboard, a butter churn – but none of them were ours. Another wagon shakes by full of other people’s belongings and passes to clomp its way out of town. Several men sit on the furniture in that wagon. The horses are galloping as if they are in a hurry to get out of here. “Maybe next time,” one of them calls.

“What did we lose at?” I ask in confusion.

The strangers climb aboard the wagon and lurch forward.

“A contest, dear. Just a contest. . . A thing we have from time to time,” he watches the wagon pull ahead and wobble on down the road and out of town, not letting on as to what exactly the contest was that the town lost. He has a strange leather glove on one hand, a big fat one, and bends to pick up a long piece of rounded wood from the grass at the side of the road. It looks like a smooth spoke from a wagon wheel, only a little longer.

My mom walks down to us, “Dang contests,” she spits in annoyance and shakes her head, her arms sternly on her hips.

“Hey, don’t feel too bad,” my dad chuckles. “We’ll get ‘em next time,” he looks down at me, then over to my mother and smirks, “How do you think I got this house.”

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Tony Rauch has three books of short stories published – “I’m right here” (spout press), “Laredo” (Eraserhead Press), “Eyeballs growing all over me . . . again” (Eraserhead Press). He has additional titles forthcoming in the next few months.
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