There are dangers to be had in leaving a small child unattended at Bantry Market so his father can take a more detailed look t the second hand books for sale.
Along the run of the unattractive concrete square there are two or three pools of water with half hearted fountains in the middle. There are benches around them and the wide rim of the pools and benches provide a natural place for a stall holder to lay out some of his wares and for the older attendees of the market to take a seat and rest their feet.
It would be an easy thing to leave a dissapointed child, angry at not being fed something sweet and bought a toy wooden gun, by the trinkets next to the pool. The child can be idle there looking at the things to be bought for a euro, a mismatched plastic half sized purple tennis racket, a toasting fork, a small collection of cutlery, a collection of Top Gun DVDs and, someone’s former pride and joy, a stainless steel toast rack.
For the child it will be a natural thing to pick up and admire the toy tennis racket and weigh it in his hand and look around for a ball and someone to play with. But his Dad was still at the book stall weighing up some poetry so he could impress the child’s mother. With there being no-one to engage with and play a game there was nothing for it but to hurl the racket into the water. No-one objected but although there was fun to be had it did not make much of a splash. An odd knife from the collection of cutlery would do better. He tested it in his small hand and gave it a hurl. That was better! It made more of a splash near the fountain and sank quickly so there was no evidence left. The purple racket still floated.
He chucked in another and was emboldened by the splash and so cast his eye about for something bigger. The toasting fork was bigger and would make bigger splash. It did but the cild then made his mistake having picked up the toast rack. It was too big.
The attendees sat opposite had been content to watch the lad hurl in the racket and the odd items of cutlery but there was a danger the toast rack was of a size they might be held negligent and in any event one of the older attendees had had her eye on the toast rack and so she made a noise and raised her arm in the air.
The noise attracted the ear of the father and he was forced to lift his eye from the book of poetry all in time to catch sight of his son about to give the toast rack a good heave into the pool. Alacrity did not feature amongst the poems, no matter, he leapt to it and was able to rescue the toast rack and wrestle the small child into his pushchair book still in hand, finger keeping the page open.
There were words from the father to the child but as he spoke his eye was disturbed by the purple tennis racket floating on the pond the sight of the silver lying at the dark bottom of the pool and the owner of the book of poems bending his ear as to why it had not been paid for.