Flash in the Pan


A Quarterly Posting at Tiny Lights

Secret Quarters


by Rodney L. Merrill

I hear a knock. I am 10 years old and don't normally answer the door when both parents are away. It's usually a bill collector or the landlord and I don't like talking to them. And around here it's best not to answer without knowing who it is.

I go to the window and peek behind the curtain. It's my older sister's boyfriend so I answer the door.

"Is Mary home?" he asks.

"Naw," I say. "She heads out to do as little window shopping, sometimes she don't come back ‘til dark."

"Well, let me talk to your Ma, then."

"She ain't here either. Everybody's gone ‘cept us kids."

"Well, why don't I come and sit with you for awhile and see if anybody sows up."

He reeks of liquor. Whiskey.

I don't think much about it because most of the men I know stink of liquor. Maybe he'll pass out and we can search his pockets like we usually do.

"Suit yourself" I say. "But I think you're wasting your time."

He says he's on his way home and he thinks, hey, I should stop by and see Mary and her family. He talks about the weather and other random stuff.

Oh look, he says, what I found in my pocket and he holds up a quarter and asks me if I want it. After sitting in a rat hole all day with nothing to eat - yes, I want a quarter! It is 1960, I can buy a heap of cupcakes with this quarter.

He holds the quarter out and I go get it. When I am next to him he wants to know if I would like to sit on his lap. Not really, I think. He reeks of alcohol. But this is the guy handing out quarters so I figure okay maybe I'll sit on his lap.

Then he starts telling me about when I grow up and become interested in girls and they become interested in me then they might do this ... and he starts rubbing my crotch. Won't I like it if a girl did this to me someday, he wants to know.

I get a tiny boner. He starts breathing hard and lightly rubs it through my pants. My younger brothers and sisters pass through the living room but don't pay much mind because weirder things have happened in this house.

He moans and stands to leave.

He hands me another quarter and says we probably shouldn't tell anyone about what we did because they'll get really mad at both of us and then who knows what will happen?

When he leaves, my younger brother asks what was going on. Fuckin' freak gave me four bits to scratch my dick and rub my balls.

We snicker and run go outside to play.

Rodney L. Merrill lives and writes in Astoria, Oregon.
E-Mail Rodney Merrill


Seventh Flash


The Cycle Of Balloons by Lucy Baker
Too Much Of A Good Thing by Judith Bradshaw-rouse
Cleaning Up by Christine Falcone
Birthday Presents by Karen Mcgarry
With A Little Help From Marion by Scott Eggerding


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