Ten Dollars

A first person thought about giving, and the effect wants have on it.

 

I was alone. Noises and sights and smells floating past me in the dim emptiness of the library. It was usually warm, and the lights were usually so bright, and gleeful, that even just walking through those multiple glass doors could make anyone smile. It wasn't warm today, and the lights seemed to drag along, drips of shadow trickling over the bland faces around me.

I tapped my heel agaist the dreary tile floor outside of the main library room.  I loved this place more and more possessively, almost as much as that twisted possessiveness of Shoutaro's. Images from Skip Beat slipped through my head in a dancing line, and I smiled. So many amazing manga there are in the world.

I turn to the next page of Everlost, letting my thoughts wander past Skip Beat to a situation at school. 

Boy goes out with girl. Another girl likes boy. Boy and the other girl flirt. People around said boy and girl want to beat the crap out of them. 

I sigh, and just keep on reading. 

I'm just sitting. I'm just reading. Not my usual books, but a few quickly snatched titles;Green Fire,Christine,Everlost.

It almost makes me feel important, being able to read so much at one time. There's a light weight in my pocket, a green weight, and I smile. Something else to think about. What to spend it on. I cross my legs , and look up. 

A guy in a black shirt and brown pants shimmies through the door. His hair is brown, and he's carrying a small box beneath one arm.

On a visible side, a sign had been scrawled in black permanent marker. It read, 

“Donations to Children's Memorial Hospital.” I slide a hand over the rough fabric of my jeans, over the pocket where a dollar bill was safely tucked away. 

I couldn't help thinking, it’s best to give to those less fortunate than you are.

But then, I remembered. The manga at the mall. The next volume of Honey Hunt was already out, and I  had  been brimming with glee the moment I saw it. I heard the thumping beat of my heart in my ears. The bill was an oven being preheated at 450 degrees.  I felt ashamed now, to have felt so selfish. 

I turned away, as if I hadn't seen him, and waddled to the back of the library, a sad puppy with its tail between its legs. I glanced back and saw a few stragglers handing him little green folds of cloth, and felt the shame fill me up to the brim.

Selfish.

That little voice in the back of my head whispered.

You’re so selfish.

I looked up, read a few of the signs that hung from the ceiling: Foreign Language, Astronomy, Earth Sciences. 

I slipped down the tiny corridor made by two, tall indexes, briefly glancing at the titles that lined their twenty or so shelves.

Rocks for Kids, Rocks and Minerals, and more, more about dinosaurs, books that were much more detailed than the books that filled a few, measly shelves back in the children's room. 

As soon as I had reached the back end of the library, the one without windows but multitudes of chairs and desks and tables, I settled down, and tried to ignore the thoughts of that man in the black shirt, with his donation box under his arm. 

I flipped open Christine, and felt my self slide in-between the pages, my mind ravaged by savage, angry thoughts, all focused around me. 

Weak.

Fake.

Scrooge.

I shuddered, and told myself that it was just a result of reading a Stephen King, even though I had only gotten through the first hundred pages.

I felt a tap on my shoulder, and reluctantly, I glanced up, a cold chill seeping into my bones. 

The boy was there, smiling. His teeth were the brightest shade of snow-white that I had ever seen, and his brown hair curled down, around his face like very carefully combed, unkempt cowlicks. 

I could smell the hairspray that surrounded him like a smoky, grey aura. 

“Hi, “He cheerfully said, his eyes slightly squinted, reminding me of all of those pictures of Santa. Only this Santa, stick-thin, and scrawny, wore close-fitting clothes, and he was sweating, like he had just come in from a rough bike ride up mountainous terrain, or the X games.

“I was wondering at whether or not you would like to donate to the Children's Center of America? I saw you looking at me in the front of the library, and followed you over here. "

I let my brown eyes flick away from his cheery face as I stuttered over my answer. The bill in my pocket felt as heavy a ten tons worth of steel. 

"Y-yes... I m-mean n-no..." 

I glanced back up at his Santa-happy face, and felt a white -hot, angry despair crawling up my back and neck. He looked... He looked distraught. The shag of loose bangs had crawled over his face, and between the thick , dark strands, I could see his jaw clench, and his unwaivering eyes darken.

My eyes widened and I felt tears seep into them, and blur my astigmatism-esque vision. 

“Yes. I mean Yes, I will donate." 

I slipped my tiny fingers into my pocket, and hesitantly grasped the ten dollar bill, glancing up at his face one more time. He looked ecstatic. 

The End

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