I see the face of an angelic little boy as I stop in front of his street-side table. Some might describe him as a street urchin, but what I see is a toothy smile, and that draws me in. I look at the goods he’s peddling. Small Ziploc bags filled with water and goldfish cover the tabletop. The plastic bags sit like playing cards in a game of solitaire. Rows of sad little fish sucking hungrily for the last bit of available air.
“How much to save the fish?” I dig into my pocket, and draw out a wad of one-dollar bills. I earned them last night peddling a different kind of ware. I pull two of them from the pile and run them across the side of the table. The boy watches my movements as I straighten the crinkled bills he seems to want so badly. “I’ll save two of them, but I’m only going to give you a dollar for each fish.” With raised brows, I await his answer.
The boy looks from my face to the fish, and then to the dollars in my hand. His head nods. I hand him the dollars and grab two of the bags before I dash away from the table. Why I stop for fish when I’m late, I can’t explain. Little boys with big grins and sad little half-dead fish are my undoing.
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