Robert Lopez

The girl was hit with a shovel every day growing up. How it worked was they'd take turns. First the mother would hit her over the head with the flat shovel, then the father would smack her in the face with the curved one. They timed it to coincide with the beat of whatever pop song was playing on the radio. The mother and father both had a great sense of rhythm and it is believed this is why the girl grew up to be the musician she is today. Enthusiastic concert-goers are known to throw toy shovels on stage whenever she is well enough to perform. At the end of every show she collects all the toy shovels and brings them home where she displays them in a trophy case. When she was a child, though, each of her parents' shovels lasted only for a couple of months before they had to be replaced. The parents would send the girl to the hardware store herself and the clerks there always knew which shovel, curved or flat, was needed before she even asked.

Robert Lopez is the author of two novels, Part of the World and Kamby Bolongo Mean River and a collection of short fiction, Asunder. He has taught at The New School, Pratt Institute, Columbia University, Pine Manor College's Solstice Low-Res MFA Program and was a 2010 Fellow in Fiction from the New York Foundation for the Arts.

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