pondWhat It Costs

by Justin Eells

So after Mom went to sleep, we went down by the pond and little Bammy followed some ducks down to the water and I found ten bucks in the weeds off the path. I was supposed to be watching him, but I never had so much money, so I picked it off the mud and let him go chase the ducks down by the pond grass. I knew the ten bucks was someone else’s, and maybe they was looking for it, but we really needed it. I was thinking of buying some new spy goggles they got at the Toy King for eight bucks, and I’d still have two bucks I could save up or give it to my mom for groceries because Pop Tarts cost two bucks and Go-Gurt’s even more, and I wanted to help out and I needed new spy goggles.

I was so happy I had ten bucks I forgot about little Bammy for a minute. He’s a good little brother, and I love him and he loves me too, but he’s little and he wouldn’t know what to do with ten bucks, and he don’t know how to play spy games, so I don’t like playing with him, but I think someday I will. He thinks he knows how to wrestle but he don’t, and every time he does he cries, and I hate it when he cries, because he’s my brother and I want him to be OK. So first I was mad when I heard him cry, but then I was scared when I saw him splashing down in the water by the rocks where it’s real deep because he can’t swim and I can’t swim neither and I think I dropped the ten bucks in the mud or it blew away in the water. Normally, I’d be real mad I lost the ten bucks, but I didn’t care because little Bammy’s worth more than ten bucks and he’s my little brother and I love him.

I looked in the water and saw his head going up and down, and his face was the same face he had when he was trying to wrestle and I got him pinned on the ground, all red and big eyes, and he was looking up at the sky. I didn’t know what happens if you’re in the water too long, but I knew it ain’t good, so I went to go get Mom, but Mom is sleeping and I can’t bother her when she sleeps so I don’t know what to do. I love little Bammy and I want him to be OK, no matter what it costs.


Justin Eells lives with his coffee pot and two bookshelves in Mankato, Minnesota, where he is an MFA candidate and writing teacher at Minnesota State University. His work has been published in Every Day Fiction, and he tweets @justin_eells.
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