She gazes up at the red machine towering over her. Her mouth agape. Eyes unblinking. Ponytail hanging over her shoulders. Between trembling fingers she grips her quarter, careful not to let it slip. She holds it tightly to her chest. She watches the clear globe sitting atop the red machine. It is filled with smaller but to her still enormous globes of pink and blue and green and yellow and red. For only a moment she lowers her eyes to find that mysterious contraption she knows she must surrender her quarter to. Slowly she raises the quarter to the opening above the big silver dial and drops it into the slot. It fits perfectly.
Her eyes dart back up to the clear globe full of those colorful globes. She grips the dial and turns. She is hesitant at first, hoping that the pink one will fall, pleading to whatever god she knows, whatever power of will she can summon to find that pink ball of sweetness and beauty and let it fall away from all the others that just won’t do. She turns until she can’t turn any further. She resets her hand and finds a new grip and turns that dial with a renewed fervor and determination, passing through the clicks until there are no more clicks to pass. She clasps her hands together at the waist of her dress. Rattles and clicks echo from inside the machine, the heavy drop of the gumball as it is released from the clear globe and into the belly of the great red machine and navigates the mysterious course of tubes and turns and slides. She can hear the rolling gumball rolling towards her on that last ramp like a great shiny boulder down to the bottom of the machine. It bangs the inside of the metal trapdoor with a delicious weight.
The machine stands silent. She glances quickly up at me with wonder-filled eyes as she steps close to the machine. She cups one hand lightly underneath the trapdoor, lifts the little door with her other hand, and lets the sweetest, most beautiful little globe she has ever seen fall into her hand.