Handle With Care

Written by Anonymous

The sun beamed down onto the pavement while two boys walked down the street on a perfect summer’s day. The street was lined with big beautiful houses and each one had a pool in the front lawn and a short fence surrounding the yard. Men and women walked down the sidewalk with their poodles and scowled at the boys who were walking in the middle of the street, but they weren’t scowling at them because of their dangerous activity, it was also because they were having a foolish argument.

“Aw come on, man. You can’t be serious. The Earth is not flat,” said one of the boys, who was a little chubby.

“I am serious, Marvin. Haven’t you heard of the Flat Earth Society?” said the other boy, who was tall and scrawny.

“No, Mike, of course I haven’t. And that’s because it’s not real,” said Marvin.

“You haven’t heard of it because you’re not cool,” said Mike wryly.

Marvin frowned and crossed his arms.

“Well, you’re just as cool as me,” he said.

“Not really. I have more friends than you,” said Mike, smiling arrogantly.

“I’m outta here,” said Marvin as he made a dismissing wave and stormed away back down the street. Mike shook his head and kept walking. He didn’t know why he ever hung out with Marvin. Whenever he did, they always got into a stupid argument. But Mike was only trying to poke some fun. Why did Marvin have to get mad so easily?

Mike kept walking for a few minutes and soon found a strange house without a fence. But that wasn’t the only strange thing about it. The house was small and run down and the front steps seemed to be rotting. The grass was dead. It also looked very strange because even though it was fairly mundane, the big coral coloured houses made it stand out.

Mike walked off the street and onto the sidewalk in front of the house, making sure to keep an eye out for any peculiar people who may have lived in it. When he saw no one, he took a step closer and scanned the yard. Beside a flower bed where no flowers grew, the dirt was ruffled up on the lawn. It looked like someone had dug a hole.

Letting his curiosity take over, Mike strode over to the hole and squatted down to get a better look. Inside the small hole there was a smooth wooden box. Mike wondered why no one had bothered to cover up the hole, since there must be something treasured here.

Not caring whose it was or how it got there, Mike lifted the small box out of the ground and something started to roll around in it. He held it up closely to examine it. There was a small bronze clasp keeping it shut. There was also a small marking that looked like a design, but when he squinted he could read three small words carved into the wood:

Handle with care

Mike shrugged and thought nothing of it. He lifted the clasp and opened the lid. Inside was what looked like a small glass orb the size of a golf ball. He snatched up the ball then closed the box and put it back into the ground. When he touched the ball, it was surprisingly rubbery, like a bouncy ball.

Completely ignoring what the message had told him, Mike threw it up into the air and caught it a couple of times. He smiled and strode back out of the yard and onto the sidewalk, his eyes fixated on the ball.

A car pulled up beside him on the road and a voice called out as the window rolled open.

“Hey, Mike, what are you doing?”

Mike looked up quickly from the ball and frowned in disgust. Marvin was in the passenger seat and his mom was driving.

“We’re on our way to the store, but I made my mom stop because I wanted to apologize for earlier when I left all angry like that,” said Marvin. “What do you have there?” he asked when Mike didn’t answer.

“A bouncy ball,” said Mike in a tone saying that he was better than Marvin for having a bouncy ball.

“Where did you get it?” asked Marvin.

“In a box. It had a small knot on it that said “handle with care”, whatever that means…” Mike bounced the ball once on the pavement and it exploded. The explosion forced Mike back and he landed on the pavement. Marvin’s mouth dropped open and his mother screamed. Marvin could see Mike was horribly injured. At that moment, Marvin made a mental note to himself to always handle strange objects with care, no matter how big or small the warnings were.