"Pencil Sitter"

"Pencil Sitter!"

"Pencil Sitter! Pencil Sitter!"


There was a loud thump. I tilted my head, and peered around one of the displays being rumbled by the wind. Her big hazel eyes, almost level with the booth table, peered right back. She had a bright yellow rain slicker with flowers on the front on, all tucked up over her hair, strands of which were currently blowing into her mouth. She spit a little to try and clear her mouth, and made a very frustrated noise. The kind only kids her age can pull off, and still look cute.

"Hello." I said.

"Yeah." She said back, staring at me. Children can stand unblinking for hours. It is both awe-inspiring and unquestionably disturbing. They have a magical sheen over their eyes that prevents them from drying out. It dissolves off as they get older. One of the signs of growing up...that need to blink. All the best starers have been children. It's a fact.

"There is a problem." She stated simply. I raised my eyebrows, and quickly did a mental scan of the days events. Had I broken some Kidinal rule without knowing it? I was usually so very careful about these things. Let's see: waved to all the wavers, smiled to all the smilers, gave candy to the ones who could have it (and the ones who couldn't), laughed at all the jokes, made sympathetic noises to all the sad stories, tied a shoe, found a sock, caught a wayward balloon before it could fly off into the grey sky forever. Nope, I couldn't think of a single thing that would have offended the surrounding child populace.

"A problem?" I encouraged, and then waited. You learn to wait, with children. To form a thought, think of words, string it into a sentence, and push those phrases out their mouths take time. Sometimes loads of time. I had time, I could wait.

She had a lopsided purple heart on her left cheek, it looked like one of the other kids had panted it. Sighing, she raised her right hand. Suddenly, I could see what the problem was.

In her iron grip was a green pencil. The kind I was giving away in our booth. It had our companies name embossed on it, it also had smiley faces, because I couldn't resist. She had come to my booth before, I remembered, and carefully picked out two. A pink one (because it was her very favorite) and a green one (so her mommy wouldn't feel left out). The pink one was nowhere to be seen.

"Where's your pink pencil?" I asked.

Another sigh. "I don't know. I am thinking I lost it, I think."

"Uhoh. Where did you lose it?"

"I was eating my sandwich. It had meat-stuff on it. I like meat-stuff, but I don't like the white kind, just the baloony kind. Oh, and there was a bug. I had to show the bug to, um, I had to show it because it was a bug. I left my sandwich, and my pencil wasn't there no more. Just the green one, it was here." She waved her fist under my nose.

Bugs these days, stealing little girls pencils. "Do you want another one?"

She blinked. I could have sworn it was for the first time. I told you, stare champions. "Yes, I mean, I want a pink one please, like the other pink one."

"Help yourself." I said, smiling at her. She trotted over to the other side of the booth, all I could see was the top of her jacket. Reaching up, she pulled down a handful, pulled out a pink pencil, and put the rest on the table. "Thank you pencil sitter!" she screamed raising her pencil into the air, and ran off. I was eternally glad the pencils weren't sharpened.

"Mommy!" I heard her yelling, "Mommy the very, very nice pencil sitter gave me another pink one! Another pink one like the pink one I lost! Mommy look! Mommy look! Mommy! Mommy!"

Her mother reached down and held her hand, and as they walked out of my line of site I could still hear her yelling about her pink pencil.

I went back to manning my booth, but I decided I'm to change nametag. Below my name, and my official title, it will read in tiny little letters "Pencil Sitter". I like that. I like it alot.


I got a sunburn.
That sunshine always gets me,
Even when cloudy.

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