My power was sought after far and wide, by many.
When I was in my tenth summer, a pharmacy/Sundry in our town started offering a special deal for all us kids. If you were 12 years-old or under, you could…for a dollar…reach into a huge wooden box in the store filled with the best marbles that money could buy…and grab all the glass marvels that your one fist could hold. It was a chance of a lifetime to get so many of those precious perfectly round stones to add to your collection, in just one grab. This offer lasted two weeks I think, and went on for many summers.
Every boy…and even some girls…marked those weeks on their calenders. To hell with a circus…to hell with TV…it was ALL about the marbles.
Well, I was big for my age. Proportionately big. Which meant I had huge hands for a ten-year-old. Pharmacists feared me. For they knew when I came strolling down the city streets and into their store, that I had many dollars in my pocket and I could practically drain their treasure trove on that end-cap with just a few deliberate dips of my enormous paw. I got those dollars, because in school for weeks in advance, we all measured hand prints. I always won…hands down. No one could even come close. Few even dared to compare their manos tracing to mine. I was king in these few summers…because not only did I take the dollars of all wishful marble players for miles around, representing their interests in the battle for the best marbles in town; I got to keep my pick of a few from each grab that I accomplished for hire. It was good to be the king. It was good to have the best shooters, clearies, cat-eyes, swirlys and steelies that my brute force could win. I owned those pharmacists and their pathetically naive assessment of my manual abilities. Ha.
I guess you could say that was my first sojourn into the dark side of usury.
But aside from that, I got all those beautiful little balls of delight. Clicking from their bag tied to my belt as I walked down the street, everyone knew that I had the best. We all profited…but I more than anyone…and everyone knew it. That was the best part.
Then came my last summer. I was 12. I was even more determined to drain this store and two others that had fallen into line with the original offer of the “one grab for a dollar” policy, of their precious jewels. But there were other big kids in town doing the same thing I was. Their hands were big…not as big as mine…but big enough to enter the marble-for-hire game I had started. We decided to work as a team in my last marble-grabbing season…we huge-clawed monsters. We roamed from store to store in that steamy hot summer, legitimately robbing these emporiums and the smaller kids, of playing pieces of an ancient pastime. Times were good.
Then disaster struck. I was banned. Banned from competition from the store’s game. I had an unfair advantage they told me. All three stores. The word had spread and they had had enough. I, and my tribe of eleven and twelve year old giants had ruined their offer. I was no longer eligible for competition in any of the stores that ran this kid’s special. All hell broke loose. Kids demanded their dollars back…my shooters were no longer the biggest and best. My cat-eyes lost their shimmer to newer ones garnered by smaller fists. I had to give up my throne and become just like any other kid and actually win my desired marbles in a legitimate field of play in which I had no real advantage. Bummer.
I went through a short period of martyrdom. A time when I was cool because I was banned…but that didn’t last as I saw normal and small-handed kids emerge from these stores with one or two big beautiful shooters that I could have grabbed a half-dozen of, if I were allowed to continue my dubious dipping.
But it was not meant to last, I guess.
As I grew, I grew to understand why they banned me and why my reign of terror ended. The hundreds of smaller kids weren’t getting a chance after I strolled out of those stores with my booty. It wasn’t fair to them not to have the round glass beauties of their little dreams. And I understood that. Almost always, we are banned. Those that would take from others. Stopped from taking advantage of something meant for all. And that is a good thing. I didn’t think so when I was de-throned, I’m sure. But I am sure now.