by Keith Huettenmoser
The girl touched the boy and said, “You are dead. You have to wait for the deer to bring
you back to life.”
So the boy laid on the infield of a baseball diamond and waited. Everyone laughed and he
still waited. When it began to feel like a joke, the whistles blew for classes to resume, but
the boy didn’t move. He didn’t breathe. Lines filed behind brick. Students left. Hours
ticked on, history homework passed out, and the boy laid in the orange dust.
He was so good at playing dead that everyone started to believe he was dead. No one
laughed anymore. There was a parade and a baseball game. He was made the honorary
2nd base, because no one wanted to move him. They wanted him as a reminder, but no
one knew what of. The little league team he played for wore his name on their sleeves.
There was a potluck barbecue, a microphone for the eulogies. Everyone cried and ate
snow cones after extra innings. The girl looked at her hands and trembled. She didn’t know what magic she wrought. No one had warned her of such power.
Even the dandelions thought he was a dead thing. In the offseason, their ragged
yellow heads bloomed from his ribs, and with time, the dandelions turned to
clouds dispersed by wind.
When the leaves started to fall, the girl came back and touched him. “It’s okay, you can
get up now. You’re alive and free.”
But the boy didn’t move. He knew the game.
He’d wait for the deer.
Keith Huettenmoser is a New Jersey born writer. His work has appeared in Badlands, Sooth Swarm Journal, Poetry Online, Cathexis Northwest Press, and more.