It might be my first memory. Any other has evaporated.
Bells jingle. Bulbs flash. A woman in green cavorts for crying children. The fat man pats his red lap. My turn. A white-trimmed sleeve rides up, skin beneath sore-slicked. His lips part in a grin.
My parents tell me I barely slept for a week afterwards. Now mid-November on I avoid malls, newspapers. I try to rationalize. Just an indigent man earning pay. Children disappear in every season.
But I remember what I saw in that smile. The dark gullet, the teeth lining it -- sharp, gleaming, endless rows receeding.
Postscript: To listen to audio of this and other stories, please download Season One of the I Saw Lightning Fall podcast here.