The thing is we have been selling these chocolate bars door-to-door in Winesburg for as long as we can remember. We used to like chocolate, but we don’t anymore, having had to eat our consignment too many times. “Bring back empty boxes,” is what we hear from Mrs. Wiggs our faculty advisor. She advised us to bring back empty boxes, and we took that to mean that if you couldn’t sell all your consignment you had to buy the surplus yourself and eat it. It is hard to sell the chocolate after awhile. The town’s not that big, and all the children in it are selling the same thing to the same people who are all the parents. We got a lot of different kinds of no-ing. You can see the bars of chocolate that got there before us in a pile on the floor of the front hall. The adults at the door looking down at us are always sad and a little angry. We think we are raising money for a field trip to someplace, we don’t remember. Maybe South Bend. Maybe a toboggan ride at Pokagon. Maybe Muncie. We don’t remember. We end up eating the candy ourselves. It’s like eating the quilted skin of hand grenades. Long ago we gave up the dream of being the number one and two top sellers and winning a premium or two. Once, I wanted that Huffy bike, and Hunter, he’d go on and on, as we opened bar after bar, about those stilts that fit on the bottom of your shoes and lifted you up, a little bit, off the ground.
Michael Martone’s new books are The Moon Over Wapakoneta: Fictions and Science Fictions from Indiana and Beyond published by FC2 and Brooding, essays, published by the University of Georgia Press. He lives in Tuscaloosa and teaches at the university there.