I was feeling hungry. I’d had some toast for breakfast, but that had been the last of the bread, and I didn’t have anything else left to eat. I still had an onion and some mayonnaise, but I couldn’t think of how I’d make a meal out of them. I wouldn’t get paid for another day, and I knew that I could survive until the cheque came through, but I wasn’t looking forward to it.
But as I sat reading, my hand wandered down between the couch cushions and I found a coin down there. I pulled it out and saw that it was a nickel. I had been hoping that it would be a quarter, but it was just a nickel. Still money, however, so still good to find even if it was only five cents.
I placed it on the coffee table in front of me and then got up and went into the bedroom to grab my change. I had a couple of dimes left that I hadn’t managed to spend yet. I picked them up, took them out to the living room and put them on the coffee table beside the nickel. I knew that a bag of noodles was thirty cents, and I had twenty-five. I needed to find one more nickel.
I started by pulling the couch apart. It was filthy under there. And there was no more money. I decided that I would need to vacuum under those cushions. But there was no change, just crumbs.
Next, I went back to the bedroom and pulled the chest of drawers away from the wall. I knew that things fell down the back sometimes, so I was hoping I had lost some change back there at some point. I found a battery and a random piece of plastic that I remembered I was saving for some reason. It was part of a tube about an inch long. I couldn’t remember why I had been saving it. In any case, there was no more change, so it was a disappointment.
Next, I checked under the bed. I couldn’t see why there’d be change under the bed, but I thought it was worth a try. I found an old piece of paper with a crappy poem written on it. I had forgotten that I’d gone through a bad poetry phase. I shrugged my shoulders and figured that, while it might be embarrassing, loads of people would have gone through that phase. I didn’t have any idea of how it had wound up under the bed. And there was no change, again.
I started wondering where else I could look. There wasn’t much chance of finding change anywhere in the apartment, so I decided that I should go outside to look. I scooped up the twenty-five cents I had from the table, and then put my coat and shoes on.
It was raining a little bit, but not much. The actual parking lot of my little walk-up was dirt, so it was basically a wide patch of mud by the point. But it had been packed down enough by the various cars, so it wasn’t that hard to find a way across it that avoided most of the worst puddles.
When I got out to the sidewalk, I started to my left, towards the baseball stadium. When there was a game on, the fields were covered in cars. But there was no game that day, and it was actually fairly rural looking.
As I walked, I kept my eyes on the ground. I saw a button and some garbage, but no change. Even right in front of the stadium, there wasn’t any. I had been hopeful that there might be something right in front, since it seemed like the kind of spot where people would often be digging in pockets, but apparently nothing had dropped. I couldn’t see anything.
I turned left again and started to walk up towards where the store was. I still kept my eyes to the ground. I thought I had spotted a penny, but it turned out to be nothing but a dirty button. It was round and brown looking, so I had thought that it was a penny. When I picked it up, however, I saw my mistake and tossed it back onto the ground.
The rain started coming down more heavily, and I started wishing I had a better jacket for the rain. All I had was my heavy, wool overcoat. Good in the winter, but in rain it just got wet and heavy. I looked up at the sky. It was still a light enough rain that it didn’t weigh me down too much, but if it got much worse, I was going to start getting soaked.
As I neared the store, I saw a silver gleam on the sidewalk. I walked quickly over to where the sparkle was coming from and saw a dime in front of me. I picked it up, and then pulled the other coins out of my pocket to take a look at them. I felt a certain joy about it, since I now had thirty-five cents. More than enough for noodles.
I went quickly the rest of the way to the store. I got my noodles, and then I walked back home with a smile on my face. The rain was starting to pick up, but I maintained my leisurely pace. I looked forward to eating and decided that this counted as a good day. I’d had to put some work in, but things had turned out well.