A Picture’s Worth By Joshua Kenny

December 18, 2014 Comments Off on A Picture’s Worth By Joshua Kenny

They took my words when I was thirteen and sold them four summers ago, when the wind was hot and the drought had first come. I was chosen at thirteen because if my vocabulary grew any more, they might not have been able to excise the words and then what would they sell? I kept my voice, but the actual words were taken — displayed, I had heard, in the small window of the consignment shop in town. They sold a week later to some stranger passing though. I heard his kid cried for them, like they were bright pieces of candy. Maybe they were, to him.

The trip this morning to that same shop had taken longer than the whispered gossip of the other girls back home said it would. But finally the shopkeeper stood before me. I handed him the picture and he looked at it, agreed to the exchange. He wrote out a receipt on yellowed paper. It read, “One thousand words, exchanged for one picture,” with the date and his signature at the bottom. I hoped I would know exactly when to use my thousand words. But for now, I needed to be back before evening roll call, before they knew I was missing.

© 2014 Joshua Kenny

Joshua Kenny has work forthcoming in Beorh Quarterly. He is a writer/attorney living in Miami, Florida, working on his first novel.

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