another day

Posted: March 15, 2012 in Fiction
Tags: , , , , , ,

Jimmy sat on the bench in Union Square, his bench, keeping alert. He could spot them streaming through the park – the suburbanites hustling to make their escape from gray reality of the city to the warm, muted colors of home. He’d always pick out a few who would toss a handful of change his way, perhaps even a dollar or two, playing on their guilt until he wrestled up enough money to grab a sandwich at Big Al’s or a small bottle of bourbon from Manny’s.

This afternoon’s bounty was better than usual. Seven dollars and fifty-five cents. He wandered into Big Al’s where he bought a large black coffee (no sugar) for a quarter. Everyone else paid a buck, but Jimmy was neighborhood.

The cups’ heat protector kept the warmth on his hands to a minimum, but it didn’t matter. Jimmy never registered the cold anymore. By now he was immune to the variations of weather. He took a large gulp and let the coffee’s heat and strong bitterness scorch his throat.

The wind picked up. He pulled the wool cap tighter on his head and wandered over to check for change in the pay phones. Amazing how many people left coins sitting there. He carefully looked in both change bins and another thirty-five cents made its way into his tattered pocket. It was then he noticed the lottery ticket tucked on the side of the phone. Someone must have placed it there while digging for a quarter. Jimmy pulled it loose and checked the drawing date. Today. Mega Millions. And it was The Big One. 267 million dollars. He’d seen the lines all week, people burning their cash for a chance to retire early. “Fools,” he thought. Jimmy pocketed the ticket and started walking. He knew exactly what to do.

Big Al took the five-dollar ticket in exchange for a roast beef on wheat toast with a side of fries swimming in brown gravy. When darkness fell Jimmy bought that small bottle from Manny’s, leaving enough money for a morning bagel. Underneath the haze of the city sky he relaxed with his bourbon, full and warm at the end of another productive day.

That same night in Queens, Yolanda Hernandez kissed her painting of San Martin Caballero, the patron saint of charity, and blessed him through tears for the luck he brought her family, newly minted millionaires thanks to a spur-of-the-moment lottery purchase she made at a Union Square deli on her way home.

  1. Did you take that picture? It’s fabulous!


  2. whiteladyinthehood says:

    Very good Trask! Perfect photo for the story!


  3. kayjai says:

    So, JImmy gave up millions for a meal…you never know…nice story.


  4. Ouch. She no win, huh


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