Melinda McCamant has been promising to return for a Mini Sledge for four years, and this was the month. Not only that, but she won it too! Great to see you again, Melinda, and congratulations.
Character: A reluctant volunteer
Action: Signing a contract
Setting: A housing development
Phrase: You’re not from around here, are you?
by Melinda McCamant
Just a pretty girl from Baltic Avenue: I was awed, intimidated even, by his swagger, the way his teeth glittered when he talked, his bright hotels on Boardwalk.
“You’re not from around here are you?” He whispered in my ear and I could feel the heat of his breath penetrate my brain, the bulge of brightly colored bills in his hand, a rainbow of promises.
And so I rolled the dice and we moved on, a jalopy and a top hat travelling the same path but seeing different sights.
He gambled, built hotel after hotel on credit and lies, not just Boardwalk but the railroads— even the lights and the water were his.
He had everything but Baltic Avenue. Baltic Avenue, a shadowy street lined with tiny green houses, was mine. Every time he came back around he came back to Baltic Avenue, wooing me, promising the Atlantic’s waves, promising a moon plucked and pitted from the sky.
I was tired and his light was so bright, but the moment I signed, the moment I said ‘I do’, I knew I was just another pawn—a player in his game of rainbow money and plastic hotels.
But I still had Baltic Avenue, the scent of earth in our garden after a rain, the rumble of trains in a distant rail yard, the red bite of fruit, and my mother’s kisses before she died.
It’s a funny thing to get what you think you want: the last piece of cake, a diamond, a rich man, and realize that the getting was the good part, that the journey around the board was what made the game worthwhile. Not the houses, or hotels, or rainbow money. And not the glittery man who blows hot air but deflates at a touch and cannot read anything but his own name.
I was his dutiful wife; his get out of jail free card, his reluctant volunteer hostess, his volunteer whore.
At least I still have Baltic Avenue and one more roll of the dice.
© 2016 Melinda McCamant
Melinda McCamant: reader, writer, photographer, recipe developer, food stylist. Sometimes there is travel, trails, friends, and wine.
Filed under: Mini Sledgehammers | Tagged: Blackbird Wine Shop, contract, housing development, Indigo Editing, melinda-mccamant, Portland, prizes, volunteer, writing contest, writing prompts, You're not from around here are you |