pages The Dream Of A Nothing Special Kid


Published in Issue No. 274 ~ March, 2020

Stuie’s always been nothing special. Even he knows, deep down, he is a consistently mediocre kid with straight Cs, not particularly handsome, and so-so in sports. In games, he eventually gets picked, but only after a long time, the kind of player where other kids say, oh yeah, Stuie after choosing up sides and looking around and not seeing anyone else, then spotting him. This might make the argument that actually, if you are really honest, in sports, Stuie stinks.

Since Stuie is nothing to write home about, he finds it odd that one night he has a very strange dream. He never remembers anything, let alone dreams.

Stuie dreams he’s playing stickball. So what’s the big deal? Everyone plays stickball. He belts a pitch, wallops it. Moms look up from their mahjong games; Dads discussing sports turn towards him.

Usually, Stuie is not such a hot hitter. He grounds out or pops up. This time he smacks The Spaulding so hard it sails over the building across the street. Suddenly, twilight falls fast.

As the sun descends, gold-red, the ball Stuie’s creamed soars – over the first building, the second, and the entire project. The ball speeds past Marine Beach, and out over the ocean. A fish leaps, eyes popping out. A boat freezes in the twilight; the captain scratches his head. The ball sails out of sight over the waves and beyond the maroon-orange horizon.

The dream changes. Stuie watches the ball, he slugged. He’s up in the sky, stars near his nose, like the Hayden Planetarium at the Museum of Natural History in Manhattan. The Spaulding spins with swirling pink lights, a growing star reaching Outer Space on its way to heaven. An angel with a baseball glove and sneakers, rushes forward, shrugs, staring straight up, wings on hips, yelling, “CAN’T GET IT!”

God pounds his glove amidst ear- cracking thunder, speeds back back back to the last final fences of heaven, and leaps. The ball crashes high off the wall above God’s outstretched glove. Quickly, God pounces and, in one swirling motion, rearing back, his mighty arm rifles the now-sizzling ball.

The ball, full of pink, red, blue and black lights, zooms towards earth, picking up speed, crashing against stars, enormous, nearly a meteor. And suddenly, Stuie’s hurling around the bases, crashing third and tearing for home. He can’t see the catcher; he dives head-first. Pink-purple light shatters. Splitting earth somersaults. Stuie hears, “SAFE!” “YERRR OUT!”

He awakens.

The sky’s black, soundless. Sweating, he gasps and scans his room. It is still his room: his pillow, his blanket, his bed, floor, radiator, window, blinds, ceiling, closet, his shelves, his desk, all in the depths of a silent night. He wonders three things. Was he safe or out? Where is the field where God leaped up the wall? And, what’s behind the wall?

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Ernie Brill writes fiction and poetry and has published widely in the US and Canada. He is the author of I Looked Over Jordan and Other Stories (Boston: South End Press 1980) and the chapbook "Project Kids" (Toronto: Ice floe Press, 1992). He has published in River Styx, Other Voices, Harbour ( Vancouver) U.f Minnesota Press, Oxford U. Press Prentiss-Hall Canada, Cineaste Magazine. He has an MA in English from San Franisco State College with a Masters on Chester Himes. His favorite writers include Virginia Woolf, Jean Toomer, Mahmoud Darwish, Hyesoon Kim, Daniel Borzutzky, Cynthia Ozick, and Linh Dinh.