A Kid and His Rocks
When Nick was a child, he was fascinated by rocks: the feel of rocks, the color and the texture, the shape and the size. He collected them by the boatload. And if he had a boat, you better believe only the helm would be free of his rocks. However, for as much rocks as he gathered, he was very specific—friends would say picky—of the rocks he chose. He had a system that he wouldn’t dare deviate from.
First, he’d look for a rock that stood out to him. The rock could shine or somber or have any color in between, but it had to stand out. To do this, he would walk at a turtle’s pace, being sure to survey as many rocks as he could with his brown eyes that moved back-and-forth like a fan watching Ping Pong. When a rock would pass the eye test, it then had to pass Nick’s feel test. This was a hard test to pass because, if he felt the slightest bit of discomfort from holding the rock, he would toss it like a…well—a rock. Very few rocks make it passed this stage, but if they did, they moved on to the final criteria: does it fit in the handbag.
There is only so much room in the handbag Nick carried; it was a small blue bag originally used to hold marbles, but the marbles had been lost in the Brother War of 1999, when Nick was cornered by his younger enemies (or brothers), and his only hope was to heave the marbles at their innocent, five-and-seven-year-old bodies. The mission was a success, but at what cost? As the marbles had disappeared under furniture that no clean freak would ever place their hand under. Anyway, the bag was small. So, and this brought Nick great sadness, he had to choose which rocks would have a place in the bag. This process would take hours some days, other days it would go as quick as a glass of lemonade on a hot day.
When he had his final selection, the rocks that survived the strenuous tests in the bag, he would carry them back to his bedroom that he called, the den. From there, he would wash them and dry them until they were without fault in his eyes, place them on his homemade shelves with the rest of the chosen rocks, and stand back to take in his rock-collection masterpiece. Perfect, he would say, just perfect.