A

The big fat A fell from the sky and struck Rhoda on the head. She pitched forward, away from her stool, her skirt blustering over like the spasm of a spooked jellyfish, her thick thighs sticking straight out like two intimate magnets that suddenly abhorred their attraction. Then Rhoda hit the pavement, wordlessly, with a soft slap, her skirt and brown hair piling on top of her and the big fat A bounding down the street.

The sodajerker cleared the bar and was at her side in an instant. He yelled for the busboy to dial the ambulance while a crowd of concerned folks sat up from their milkshakes and stared, awkwardly, watching Rhoda bowed to the gray sidewalk and her skirt ruined by chocolate syrup. I stepped out from under the umbrella to watch the A as it bounced down the street. It hit a car, a boy on his bike, and chased the dog that was in his basket up and around Clyde’s General Store.

Then the alphabet began to hail in earnest. All except for the Xs, which got stuck in the trees and on the telephone lines and made rude sport of what people had to say.

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