Sunday, July 22, 2012

One Hundred Pennies

There was a penny on the sidewalk, on Esplanade Avenue, between North Galvez Street and North Villere Street. 
A man in a plaid jacket walked by it, never noticing it.  A man in a wheelchair rolled over it, not noticing it.  It started to rain.  A woman looking down, under her umbrella did not see the penny in the puddle.  A little girl carrying a plastic bag full of soda pop and eggs hurried home, looking at the sky.  The copper in the penny turned another shade of green.
One hundred pennies make a dollar.  One hundred dollars make a hundred dollar bill.  
The rain stopped sometime after midnight, and the moon came out.  The leaves overhead rustled in a light breeze.  Everything was fine.
A baby was born at exactly 1:01 AM, across town.  His mother fell asleep with him on her chest.  His father was not there for the birth, except in spirit.  The baby’s grandmother read a magazine a few rooms away.
A trashcan on the sidewalk overflowed with cardboard and rotten fruit.  Someone dropped an empty pint bottle into it.  All the windows along the street were dark.  A light went on in one of the houses.
There were less than a hundred stars visible in the sky past the glow of the streetlights.  They were all bright.
The filament in the lightbulb glowed yellow.  The bare room had white walls, a white ceiling, and an unstained wood floor.  The window was black from the inside.  There was a jar of pennies on the mantle, some of them old, some of them new.  There were more than a hundred of them, mixed with nickels and dimes, mixed with some quarters.  Not a hundred dollars in the whole bunch, but enough.


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