Youre going to leave, arent you? I said. I bet youre
going to go out the back door and go home and never come
Its a recurring fantasy, he said.
I glanced at my watch. It was twelve-thirty. Have you
had lunch? I asked him.
Take your lunch now and come with me, and Ill buy
you a piece of pizza.
Theres something wrong with this picture, Pickle
said. Are you one of those religious nuts who wants to
No. Im not a religious nut. I held my hand out.
He automatically shook my hand. Melvin Pickle.
I work for Vincent Plum Bail Bonds, I said. You
missed a court date, and you need to reschedule.
Sure, he said.
I cant go now. I gotta work.
You can take your lunch break.
I had plans for lunch.
Probably going to see a movie. I was still holding his
hand, and with my other hand I clapped a bracelet on him.
He looked down at the cuff. Whats this? You cant do
this. People will ask questions. And then what will I tell
them? Ill have to tell them Im a pervert!
Two women looked over at him and raised their eyebrows.
No one will care, I said. I turned to the women. You
dont care, right?
Right, they murmured and hurried out of the store.
Just walk out into the mall quietly with me, I said. Ill
take you to court and get you rebonded.
Actually Vinnie would rebond him. Vinnie and Connie
could write bond. Lula and I did the capture thing.
Darn, Pickle said. Darn it all.
And he took off with the cuff dangling from his wrist.
Lula stepped in front of him, but he had momentum and
knocked her on her ass. He faltered for a moment, got his
footing and ran off, into the mall. I was ten steps behind
him. I stumbled over Lula, scrambled to my feet, and kept
going. I chased him through the mall and up an escalator.
A hotel with an open atrium was attached to one end of
the mall. Pickle ran into the hotel and barreled through
the fire door into the stairwell. I chased him up five flights
of stairs and thought my lungs were going to explode. He
exited the stairwell, and I dragged myself, gasping, to the
There were seven floors in the hotel. All rooms opened
to a hallway that overlooked the hotel atrium. We were on
the sixth floor. I staggered out of the stairwell and saw that
Pickle had made it halfway around the atrium and was
straddling the balcony railing.
Dont come near me, he yelled. Ill jump.
Fine with me, I said. I get my money dead or alive.
Pickle looked depressed at that fact. Or maybe Pickle
just always looked depressed.
Youre in pretty good shape, I said, still winded. How
do you stay in such good shape?
My car got repossessed. I walk everywhere. And all day
long Im up and down with the shoes. At the end of the
day my knees are killing me.
I was talking to him, creeping closer. Why dont you get
a different job? One t hats easier on your knees.
Are you kidding me? Im lucky to have this job. Look at
me. Im a loser. And now everybodys going to know Im a
pervert. Im a pervert loser. And I have a big herpes. Im a
pervert loser with a herpes!
You need to get a grip. You dont have to be a pervert
loser if you dont want to be.
Kenn Nesbitt is new Children's Poet Laureate(Jun 12 2013) Kenn Nesbitt has been named the new Children's Poet Laureate: Consultant in Children's Poetry to the Poetry Foundation, which noted that the two-year position...