Pawning a Record Player in Bitter December – a short story by John Ian Bush


There’s nothing good about Christmas for me now because I’m fifteen and I’m too damn old to give two shits about all those lights, and I stopped believing in Santa when I was three, and they never give us snow days anymore, so all of winter is a cold bitter waste to me now. I become bitter in November, right after Thanksgiving, and I stay that way until spring.

I’m bitter writing this. I don’t know why, but when I’m bitter or bored, I like to write. When I’m writing and I’m bitter, I like to write about all the things that I’m bitter over. To start with, I’m bitter because my mom keeps forgetting to pick up my anti-depressants. I’ve been off the damn things a week and I hate everything and everybody, besides a small group which I can count on one hand, practically, and honestly I want to die sometimes. Secondly I’m bitter because when I started for the pawn shop this morning, when I stepped off the porch and on my front lawn, my foot landed right in a pile of dog shit. I was really bitter about the dog shit, let me tell you. I was so bitter, as a matter of fact, that I didn’t want to miss a chance to bitch about it, so I never wiped it off, I just kept on down the street and cussed about it under my breath in my yellow-bellied way.

I was going to the pawn shop to pawn the record player my brother got me for my birthday last year. The thing was as old as dirt, but that’s fine because I love old things. I loved that player to death, but I needed the money.

The reason I needed money was because my niece is turning two next week, her birthday’s two days after mine, and I wanted to buy her her first cozy coupe. They’re a bitch to put together, but it would be worth it. I use to love my cozy coupe, and  I was her age when I got mine.

Anyways, there I was, dog shit caked on my shoe, I was walking in the freezing air, carrying that damn record player; the sky was gray, the clouds were hateful, almost as much as I was, and I hated everyone.

The guy at the pawn shop screwed me.

“Five bucks is the best I can do,” he said. He was as old as the record player.

I took the money, and I’ll hate that guy and I’ll hate that damn pawn shop for the rest of my life for it, I swear to God I will. I loved that record player and all I got was five bucks for it. Five dollars towards a cozy coupe that cost about

forty. I don’t know why I did it, probably because I’m a damn fool. Plus, when I’m around strangers I don’t think.

I’ll tell you something else I did that’ll prove what an idiot I am: after the pawn shop, I walked three miles to the super store the next town over. I don’t know why, I just felt like I had to, and besides, I had nothing else to do and nowhere else to go, so I guess it didn’t matter where I went. But I still hate that I went and I’m bitter about that too.

It was six in the evening when I got to the store, the whole place was packed. I swear to Christ, I wish I hadn’t went and I still don’t know why I did. I hate crowds. I could smell the breath of every son of a bitch there.

I went to the back where the cozy coupes were put out on display, they cost thirty-nine bucks and some odd cents, plus tax. I saw the smiling faces of the kids on the boxes and I started crying and I ran out of that place, I swore to Christ then that I’d never go back there.

I ran out of breath near a church several blocks away from the store and I took a seat on a bench and finished up my crying. I need my anti-depressants.