Written for Advanced Creative Fiction at Rutgers University. February 4, 2019.
I am walking down a dirty city street at night when I see a neon green golf ball in the gutter beside a crumpled newspaper. It looks unmarred, like someone had stolen it from a mini golf place earlier today and it fell from their pocket. I must be the first person to notice this ball since it ended up here, since there’s no way that anyone could leave it alone. Without thinking and without choice, I pick it up. I look for markings but there are none besides the normal concave patterning on its surface. The ball fits easily in my right pants pocket.
I keep moving, and my house is now only 3 blocks away. The nearest streetlight is busted but my eyes are adapted to the dark at this point. Another green thing in the gutter catches my eye, but this time it’s a $5 bill. I think that this is just a weirdly lucky day, and stuff it into my left pocket.
“Hey!” I spin around and a man out of a bush to my right. In his right hand is a gun, pointed right at me.
“It’s your lucky day, pal. Empty your pockets.”
He must have planted the bill as a honeypot. I had left my phone and wallet at home for this brief walk, so all I can offer him is the golf ball and his $5 bill.
“What the hell is…” he mutters as I hand him the ball. He seems entranced by it, and I take the opportunity to run away. I steal a glance back once I’m a full block away and he’s still standing in the same place, staring at the ball.
The next day, I go on the internet and read a news article about a man that was struck and killed by a car the night before in my neighborhood. He was carrying no identification and had an illegal handgun in his pocket. The driver claims that he ran in front of the car out of nowhere.
I hear a knock at my front door and go to answer it. I open the door and only see a thick yellow packing envelope addressed to me. I bring it inside and open it. Inside of it is that wondrous, glowing, neon green golf ball.