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Colorado Quarterly Magazine 

"Rewriting the Myths, Redefining the Realities"


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The White Cup

by Freddie Bosco


The woman in the apartment up front came to see Zero and she brought her vacuum for his floor. She stayed the night. Zero showed her the magic white cup. “This is awesome,” she said. “If one has done all this for you, what would a dozen do?” But Zero shushed her. “There is only one,” he said." And this is it. It came to me. I’m just going to enjoy it for what it is.” 

The cup had come to Zero in his despair. He had sat up many nights in his band-aid colored room tracing cracks that ran up the wall. He had sat in his overstuffed chair which was lumpy and sprung. An old plastic-backed tablecloth covered the dusty hills of the chair and Zero had sat with a cup of tea on the arm. More than once, the tablecloth had caused a hot cup to pitch in Zero’s lap. One day, having it up to here with his misery, Zero went looking. He wanted to find some thing, one magic something that would stand out. 

There it was, behind a football poster, in a thrift shop on the avenue. The cup was pure white bone china, with a graceful handle and a slight pedestal at the bottom of the container. It just about glowed. When Zero got it home, it imparted a marvelous effect. Money came in the mail. Small dogs and children wanted to be near him when he strolled. And the woman in the apartment up front brought her vacuum cleaner. 

Zero’s floor was covered with a green and white thick shag that was a magnet for dust. It was dust everywhere in Zero’s life until the cup came. Just one perfect thing,, to sit and look at, and to think of a royal person offhandedly quaffing fine sherry from it. Zero was transfixed. He knew he could meet royalty now, and quote Spinoza and Keats perfectly. His humped frame began to stand up tall. 

With his newfound wealth, Zero acquired many wonderful things. Mornings and afternoons were spent in shopping. One day, putting away a silver tray, he dislodged the cup 
and broke it. “No mind,” he shrugged. “It had done all I needed from it.” The spiral came. The woman in the apartment in front moved away and soon Zero was back to square one, spilling tea on himself. But he was content, having once known one thing, one elegant thing that transformed him. 

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