Playing Favorites

Artist: Jim Ford

by Jason Graff

There’s still time before lunch, so I tuck the day-old bagel back into the bag. Back when Randolph McLeigh owned the bakery, he gave away day-olds. I hate to see such a nice young man get a ticket. More so than the Irish fellow. I pinch a couple dimes from my change purse.

I don’t know why they don’t figure out a better parking situation. I never would’ve stood for that when I worked for the bank. I’d a told them, listen, you want me to get some work done get me a spot I don’t have to worry about feeding coins for.

There’s a beat up little red sports car, like the one Georgina Chainey used to drive. There’s still a little time on that meter but it’ll run out soon. Too bad, I’m almost out of dimes. I feel bad she’s got such a pretty face if only she took better care of her figure. That car’s seen better days anyhow. A wreck and an insurance check would be a blessing.

It always feels like it’s someone else’s life at some point. Well, she’ll soon be forty, probably still hoping. I take the bagel out of my purse and break it up as best I can even with this arthritis stiffening my fingers. I scatter the tiny pieces all over the sidewalk, all around me on my bench. My birds swoop down with a thankful flutter.

It didn’t take long before I could tell one from the other. I know the white one with the red-brown spots is the greediest, so I crumble away from him. My favorite’s the tiny all grey one, I always keep some in reserve for her. Here’s life, I say, and this is how you pass it by.

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A widely published writer and Pushcart Prize nominee, Jason Graff’s novella, The White Wolf’s Secret (aka In the Service of the Boyar), is out now from Vagabondage Press. His first novel-length works, heckler and Stray Our Pieces will be published in 2019 by Unsolicited Press and Waldorf Publishing respectively. You can sample the future via his Humorscopes at blueplanetjournal.com. He lives in Richardson, TX with his wife and son.