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"Rubber Band Man"

“This must be your gorgeous wife you talk so wonderfully of—Cora,” Jim went on.

Cora’s eyes lifted. Her light-brown eyebrows soared like two hawks. She smiled, stood still, and said, “You are kind, sir. Then, you’re Mr. Hurley?”

“Yes, mam I am,” said Jim.

Eustis winked. He smiled to Jim and Cora. “You beat everybody to the punch, Jim,” said Eustis. He took two steps and shook Jim Hurley’s hand. “You’re a slick mix of grease and oil; and you cut deals cleanly as my Stihl saw does, buddy. I like your style; and I’m ready to talk business.”

“Shoot fire, yes,” Jim smacked. “Let’s go inside where it’s air conditioned. I’ll tell you any remaining details and I’ll bring Cora up to speed if she wishes to know.” He glanced to Cora. “But this will be an easy way for you two to put more money aside each month, for college for your young man Eustis has told me about, Cora.”

Jim spun to Darnell, winked, smiled, and he turned back.

“Come on. Follow me,” the deal-maker babbled.

Jim took a step. Eustis extended his legs and started to the building; and Cora let loose of Darnell’s hand. A breezy day, she used both hands to tuck her cherished hat over her soft, brown hair. While Eustis strolled, as Cora kept possession of her prize, kid-superhero, Darnell dashed to action.

Like he was born to fight fires, born to win, born to save the day, Darnell’s legs shot-out from under him. Lilliputian sneakers raced fifteen feet.

“Oh no!” A man shouted.

He gazed to an elderly woman in the middle of the busy, narrow street running in front of Hurley’s gas and repair shop. The woman had tripped and fallen, crossing against traffic.

First to see, having raced ahead, Darnell placed his mighty four-year-old hands on first one, then another, then another, and still a fourth, Michelin, steel-belted radial tire, each upright, ready to roll off the shallow tray at curbside.

“Whoop. Whoop. Whoop. Whoop.” Four tires rolled over the curb and onto the brick-paved street.

“She’s down! There are cars!” A young girl screamed.

“Whoa! Look!” Nearby, a middle-aged man yelled as he watched dizzying Darnell in smooth action.

“Whoop. Whoop. Whoop. Whoop.” Further up the sidewalk, four more tires rolled over the curb and onto the brick-paved surface.

“Oh!” pedestrians gasped.

“Screech! Screech! Err!” Brakes squealed.

“Darnell!” Cora Mae screamed. She’d turned.

Eustis, Jim, and Cora Mae saw as all jaw-dropping, guppy-gasping, slap-happy people saw.

“Oh,” the crowd moaned.

The kindergartener, Darnell Lacey Jones had a stepped-up game. As the last tire rolled, as Eustis raced, Darnell had taken one quick step, leapt, and his sneaker landed on that last rolling tire. Bouncing once, twice, he then dove, rolled, and he grabbed the lady’s hand, pulling her up, and away to the other side of the road. Before then, cars had stopped as tires had spun. Now, everyone was running—Cora Mae, Eustis, Jim Hurley, people of all kinds and sizes. But it was over. Like the Michelin man, Darnell had saved the day.

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