Have you heard? Val has a new tattoo on her forehead! Uh huh. It says, "I'm a patsy, ask me for spare change." Yep. I can't see it myself, when I look in the mirror. But to other folks, it must be as obvious as one of those yellow-and-black, circle-triangle, nuclear fallout shelter signs that we had all over my childhood middle school, pointing towards the locker rooms.
SUNDAY. I had three stops to make. Save A Lot for hamburger. Gas station chicken store for 44 oz Diet Coke. Orb K for lottery. Simple enough. I switched up my order of stops, because it's easier to make right turns than left, across the congested traffic area with no stoplights, by Save A Lot and Orb K. I bought my hamburger without incident at Save A Lot, and headed to my next stop.
My rightful parking space was available at the gas station chicken store. But there was a man sitting at one of the round picnic tables blacktopped into the area beside the building. We were separated by a concrete parking thingy, so that man was not in any danger from me and T-Hoe. I felt uncomfortable, though, with him sitting there. I sometimes think that T-Hoe's fashionable daytime running lights (they were all the rage in 2008) are annoying to the clerks when they sit out there having a smoke break.
I didn't waste any time with him sitting there looking at me. I shut off the engine and counted out the 69 cents to go with my dollar for my magical elixir. I forgot all about that quarter and nickel I had put in my pocket to use when I left home. I carry my change in my hand as I run my soda at the fountain. I grabbed my $50 scratch-off winner to cash in, and headed inside.
After buying my soda and some tickets without incident, I headed out to T-Hoe, my head down looking for ground money as usual these days. I had my 44 oz and tickets in my left hand, and T-Hoe's door clicker in my right. Before I could open the driver's door, that picnic table dude was in front of me.
He was an older gentleman, wearing a white cap that may have had a flag on it, a white shirt with a collar and placket and buttons, cream-colored pocket shorts that were not of the cargo variety, white crew socks, and light-colored shoes. Yeah. I know. I dropped the ball on the shoes. I'll never make a good witness with this slipshod attention to details. Oh, and the guy had a black metal cane with a bent handle. I couldn't open the door without hitting him.
"Do you have any spare change?"
"No, I don't." I sure wasn't giving him the ten or twenty in my shirt pocket from my cashed in ticket!
"Any little bit would help. I need to catch a bus to St. Louis."
Huh. The last I knew, there is no Greyhound stop in Backroads. The closest one I remember is down in Bill-Paying town, 20 miles south, not on this guy's way to St. Louis. Then I remembered the coins in my pants pocket.
"Well...I have this nickel and quarter..."
"Okay. Thank you."
I got in T-Hoe, too rattled to write an initial on the back of my tickets so I could remember where they came from, too rattled to take my two pills that I always bring along and take here when I start home. I headed for Orb K to get the lottery tickets I'd planned on from there. Normally, that's my first stop, but Sunday it was my last. And my rightful parking spot by the handicap sidewalk slope was available!
Of course I was still on the lookout for some pennies from heaven. None at Save A Lot, none at the gas station chicken store. None from the Mother Hubbard's cupboard-worthy pavement of Orb K, either.
WAIT A MINUTE! WHAT'S THAT?
No, I 'm not trying to hypnotize you with a spiral-patterned sewer grate. Nor show off my fashionable and cool mesh New Balance. I'm trying to show you what I almost missed!
A penny from heaven, people! I found ANOTHER penny! This one was 1996. No significance to me. It was the year two years after Genius was born, and two years before The Pony was born. You can bet I was on that penny like Hick on a Casey's donut!
Anyhoo...who knows if that spot would even have been available, or if that penny would have been dropped (or already picked up) if I hadn't dallied those few minutes with the change beggar at the gas station chicken store. I was there in that parking space at Orb K at the time I was supposed to be, in order to find that penny.
My life in on track, I think.