Crooked trees beckon you like fingers. Bark wrinkles like elderly hands in motion. You walk on the path, lemon sherberts crunching under your boots. Yellow shards, coating your soles. Cherry drops coo from high above; their young are barely more than red dots, hiding behind their parent’s wrappers. Foil coins hang from branches as long as school rulers. You fill your pockets with strawberry bonbons until your blazer weighs as much as a lie. Cram mint humbugs into your mouth, between gum and cheek. Class hamster-cute.
On the beach, a pink piggy bank—twice the size of a truck—naps, half-buried, in the sand. It is labelled. This is not your name. You drop to your knees and scrape away the wet sludge. The coin slot is exposed. You fit your arm inside. You grope around. It is empty.
Twenty yards out from the shore, another pink piggy bank is drowning. You wade into the creamy waves. The cola water fizzes around your calves. You dive down. You pick starfish off the sides, peeling them back limb by limb. This piggy bank is labelled too. This is not your name. Nothing rattles inside. No sunken treasure. No chest of dark jewels or gold coins stamped with different kings or strings of milky pearls or silver goblets or gem-encrusted daggers. Nothing you can sell or trade. Breaking the surface of the waves, you stumble to your feet. Your face dripping with carbonated shame.
You glance back at the shoreline, wondering if it’s not too late. It is too late. The trees have lurched onto the beach to watch. Faces made of nested leaves. Each expression shucked from the last like dead skin. Scabbed wounds, which have never really healed. Too dense to understand your drive. Too compact to understand your need.
You were greedy, once. You were greedy. Weren’t you?
Lindz McLeod is a queer, working-class, Scottish writer who dabbles in the surreal. Her prose has been published by/is forthcoming in Hobart, Flash Fiction Online, the New Guard, Cossmass Infinities, and more. She is a member of the SFWA and is represented by Headwater Literary Management.
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