SBS Short Story Series: Rookie Card

Written by :
Published on : July 10, 2015

A dark bedroom, Tim sits up in bed, his face only visible from the glow of his open macbook. He glances to his sleeping girlfriend. She’s in dream town. He opens a new tab, a few keys and back to the old habit; cards, well Basketball cards, 80’s NBA Fleer to be exact. Another check. Still sleeping. Scrolling, scrolling, then, wait. What? Tim’s eyes dart over the post “Mint condition”, “Michael Jordan”, “PSA 10”, and then the doozie “Rookie card” Tim holds back a shriek, his girlfriend stirs but doesn’t wake. Then he reads “Autographed”. He screams.

The next day,  Tim pulls up the ad and types a response. “I’ll trade you my whole collection…” He hits ‘send’ and crosses his fingers. Tim, in his red Jordan jersey, waits inside Chipotle. No burrito. He eyes the door. Finally, Kent arrives. He’s tall, older, windbreaker, briefcase, like Clint Eastwood, if he sold drugs. Tim waves him over. Kent sits and opens the briefcase. The Jordan. In its hard plastic case. Tim inspects it like a jeweler while Kent gets in line. Tim looks up and realizes he is alone with the prize. He looks across the dining room to the door. He calculates the distance. He looks to Kent then back to the door. In walk two Chicago Police Officers. Tim’s eyes go back to the card. Kent returns with a soda. “So we got a deal or what?”

In the parking garage, Tim opens the trunk to his car and pulls out two huge boxes of cards. Kent gives them a quick look and nods. He hands the briefcase to Tim. Kent loads the boxes into his car. Tim locked in a trance, starring at his new baby. Before leaving Kent asks “you wanna know how I got the autograph?” Tim never looks up from the card. “Of course”. Kent gets close and leans in “I met him at the grocery store” with that, Kent stabs Tim in the gut. He stabs him again and again. He is the Michael Jordan of stabbing people. Tim gasps as his last breathe oozes out. Kent pulls the rookie card from his hands. Blood all over the case. He wipes it on Tim’s jersey and then drives off.

Kent in his trophy room. Wall to wall memorabilia. He adds Tim’s cards to his collection and returns the Jordan to its rightful place on the mantel. Later, Kent lies in bed with his laptop, his wife next to him. He posts “Rookie Card for sale or trade”.

The End.

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