The Cards

Image from Creative Commons

Image from Creative Commons

It was a normal Sunday night in one of Santa Clarita’s oldest and finest remaining locally owned pizza parlors. There was nothing odd about the evening in the mind of Zach Riley– even the light trickling of rain, unusual in the arid climate of Southern California, was usual this time of year. 

Zach had recently graduated highschool, he was of a rather large stature, and had had a small number eighteen tattooed on the inside of his arm the day of his birthday. He had been working at this particular establishment for well over a year, with at one point withdrawing all his saved paychecks from the bank in two dollar bills. He was recently promoted to a managerial position, and only expected to leave when his gap year after highschool ended, prompting his departure to college somewhere far away– out of state.

Zach was behind the counter with the other employees when a boy no older than 10 walked up and asked a question: “Hey, do you want to buy my Pokemon cards?”

“No, no, come on, go back to your family,” Tanner, an employee, told him. Zach watched as the boy walked away dejectedly. Tanner was an old timer in the restaurant. Generally enthusiastic and personable– he’d built such a reputation that people now called and requested Tanner to please deliver their pizzas. 


A little while later Zach went into the side dining area. He sought out the boy away from the other employees, and when he found him he said, “Okay, let’s talk business. How much are you selling these cards for?”

“I don’t know.”

“Well okay, here’s a two dollar bill, how many can I get?” At which point the boy traded him 10 of his Pokemon cards, and left grinning. Zach pocketed them and returned to his work.

Later that evening after the boy and his family had long since left, Zach did his rounds closing up shop. He found in his pocket the cards he had earlier purchased and threw them in the trash before exiting and driving home.