Free Boxes

I was walking down the street today when I passed a pile of sturdy cardboard boxes. There was a magic-marker sign taped to one saying “free boxes!”

The goddamn hippies in this town, I thought. Not content to free the test bunny rabbits and smash the petri dishes to liberate e. coli, now they want to free the boxes, too. I wasn’t going to stand for it, so I snatched a box to take back to my rectangular-prism room to keep under lock and key for the rest of its pusillanimous and pulpy existence.

I didn’t do it so that one box would suffer; my action was aimed at his comrades. In that troupe of boxes’ brief days of frivolity and joy to come, all their carefree boxy games, every breezy twist and turn of their caprice, will be colored with a hint of doleful remembrance, like a single drop of blood in a field of new fallen snow.

I carried my box back to my building and got in the elevator with a guy with long blond hair to his shoulders, dirty scruffly beard, and t-shirt advertising some band that was popular the decade before his birth. “I just got back from Oakland,” he said. “Went all the way down to Oakland today.”

“On the board?” I asked, eyeing the skateboard under his right arm.

“Yeah, man, yeah.”

Well, I thought, that’s nothing. Let me tell you about this box. But then the door opened and he got off.

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