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Negotiation Fascination This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


   "Lambert's dead," the boy declared, triumphtly, raising hisCobra Commander action figure above the fallen soldier. Lambert, a bearded, auburn-haired man, lay onthe quilt. The boy smiled and grabbed a red marker, scribbling furiously on the carcass. "Ha!" heshouted triumphantly, proud of the bloody transformation.

His friend tried to conceal his irritation."Who cares," he said defiantly. "Lambert was crappy anyway. Besides, I have Snake Eyes,and he's going to beat you." He waved a masked figure clad in black that brandished a crimson-stainedsilver blade and an assault rifle slung over his shoulder.

"Well, Cobra Commander is going toswim away," the first boy retorted, and he lowered the toy to the green carpet, a vast oceanbetween the fortifications of good and evil. The commander, in emerald and gold snake-scale armor, beganto crawl through the surf.

"How is he going to swim with only one leg?" asked hisfriend, grinning in satisfaction. He had found a weakness and, seeking to punish the braggart, exploitedit.

The other boy lifted his figure to eye level and examined him, dismayed. It was true, the rightleg was only a popsicle-stick-and-tape prosthesis.

Painted dark green, it served aestheticpurposes, but it could not flex properly and would be no good for swimming.

"Hedies," announced the wielder of Snake Eyes, knocking the enemy fighter from his friend's grasp andinto the rough, dark green rug. "Drowned," he explained.

"No! He's my leader, hecan't die." Unable to accept the grim reality of losing his favorite toy, he searched for some escape."Maybe," he began, "maybe he gets saved?" It was a petition formercy.

His friend pondered the request. "Okay," he said finally, and the boy clutchingCobra Commander breathed a sigh of relief. "My Wetsuit will save him," he added, specifyingthe terms of this arrangement. "But you have to trade me the Skier."

Out of place inthe ocean-rug and cliff-beds, the Skier was of questionable value. His current owner sensed this, and so thedeal was made; Wetsuit slipped from his cavernous underwater hideout to rescue the commander, flailing inthe churning waves, and in exchange the Skier defected to the enemy.

As his new master took thetoy, dressed in white with purple snow goggles and yellowish furs, into his outstretched hand, he felt asurge of pride and vanity. He had devised a disadvantageous situation for his opponent and bargained for thisnew trophy. This ability, he knew, was to become his weapon, with which anything he desired could be his.




This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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