The Retired Jedi (Sort of)

“Now imagine that if you fall off the white line, then you fall a million miles and you die.

Now pretend the couch is a car and that it goes 500 miles per hour.

Now imagine that pole has lasers on top of it and we have to run real, real fast to get away from it.

Now pretend that dog is Medusa and if you look at it, you turn to stone forever.

Now imagine that building is a fortress and we have to storm it and there’s people with bazookas on top of the roofs that are trying to kill us.

Now pretend that the teddy bear is an alien with rabies and turns you into a zombie if it bites you.”

Kids spoke highly of Freddy Kruger. So much that they didn’t even call it A Nightmare on Elm Street. They just called it Freddy Kruger. They’d illustrate his bad-assness by raising their clenched fist and talking about his claws. I could have cared less about Freddy Kruger. I was into saviors. The Luke Skywalkers, the Indiana Jones, the GI Joes. Anyone that did good for its own sake. Not just for themselves.

I was drunk off that archetype. I can’t even remember what my peers were into playing when I gave them the opportunity to lead. Maybe they played doctor or fireman or house. I never paid attention to what people were doing and what their actions meant. I wouldn’t start paying attention until decades later. By then, everyone would be into Jedis. Except for me.

New Bike by Marc Alexander Valle*

New Bike

10-year old Devin Maguire held onto his BMX handle bars and stared at my new bike, “Your dad got that bike from a thrift store.”

“No he didn’t!” I said.

“Yes he did. I can tell.”

“No, he didn’t.”

“Yeah, cause there’s marks on it.”

“He got it from K-Mart.”

“Okay, which one?”

“The one down the street.”

“I know all the bikes at K-Mart. I didn’t see that one there.”

“Well, that’s where he got it from.”

“Did he tell you he got it from there?”

“No.”

“Then how do you know?”

“Cuz, my parents don’t shop at thrift stores!”

When my dad came back from work, he told me that he bought the bike from a thrift store. The same store we’d been to several times that year.

*Previously published in Lehigh Valley Vanguard