FOR WHAT IT’S WORTH

by MEG TUITE

Emmett had his savings in a tube sock he kept in a locked drawer in his home desk. Yes, every time a new construction site went up it was for a new bank, but his parents had been through the Great Depression and lost a bundle. After that, his Dad punched a hole through the back of his closet and set up his own savings deposit box.

Emmett’s was less dramatic, but served the purpose. Whenever there was a shortage of space, Emmett traded in the twenties for hundred-dollar bills. It wasn’t like he made a hellava lot of money as a teacher, but he tried to stash away at least twenty dollars from each paycheck. He didn’t share this information with his wife. Louise knew he was cheap.  

“Did you know that a cookware salesman from Ohio, who disappeared on a fishing trip, was found alive eight years later working as a local TV personality with a whole new identity. He died from a brain tumor a year later leaving six children from two wives?” Louise asked.

Emmett was counting out pennies and slowly stacking them into sets of 50 to drop into their paper cylinders for the bank. The kitchen table was covered in coins as he sifted through them with a magnifying glass. Louise looked up from her book. “Really? It’s not enough that you lug them to the bank? You’ve got to check them one by one?”

“Hey, if I find just one 1943 copper it’s worth up to 60,000 bucks. Won’t hear you complaining then.”

Louise thought it might be a nice thing to share your husband with somebody else. Mrs. Rogers, down the block, was a widow and loved to drink.

“Well, will you look at that,” Emmett said holding up a coin. “A wheat penny from 1957. Just beautiful.” He kissed it.

“How much is that baby worth?” Louise asked.

“A nickel if it isn’t beat up. But, if it’s worn-down than a penny is worth a penny, but she is pretty, isn’t she?” His dirty finger slid it over to Louise.

Louise nodded her head. She would call Mrs. Rogers later and invite her over for cocktails.

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MEG TUITE’S latest collection is White Van. She is author of five story collections and five chapbooks. She won the Twin Antlers Poetry award for her poetry collection Bare Bulbs Swinging and is included in Best of Small Press 2021. She teaches writing retreats and online classes hosted by Bending Genres. She is also the fiction editor of Bending Genres and associate editor at Narrative Magazine.  http://megtuite.com

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