Helen was line for coffee when her phone rang. “Hello? What? What do you mean? Okay, calm down. Yes, I can call them. Hold on, you’re going too fast. I need to find something to write on.” She looked for a napkin but they were across the room with the creamers and sugar packets. She’d been waiting for five minutes but ten people had already joined the line behind her. “Okay, what was that number again?” She wrote the number on the edge of one of the dollar bills in her hand using a pen from her purse. “I’ll call them right now and get this straightened out. Thanks Steve.”
Helen nine minutes later everything was taken care of, she paid for her coffee and continued on her way to work, passing seventeen people waiting in line.
~ ~ ~
“Can you make change?” Maria asked the cashier.
“Sorry. Can’t just make change. Company policy. You have to buy something.”
“Fine. I’ll take a donut.” She held a five out but the girl didn’t take it.
“What kind of donut? We have glazed, chocolate, chocolate glazed…”
“Would you like a bag for that?”
“Eat it yourself for all I care. Ring me up.”
“Alright. Geez lady.”
When Maria had her change she threw the donut in the trash bin and headed to her car parked. She put three quarters in the meter and sighed with relief. She palmed the rest of her change. Two ones and four pennies. One of the bills had a phone number scrawled on it but no name.
~ ~ ~
“I need lunch money.”
Maria had one shoe on and was reaching for the other just out of reach behind the couch. Timmy sat in his high chair with cereal across his face laughing.
“Go ask your father,” she told Johnny, using the wall as leverage to move the furniture.
“But he always says he doesn’t have anything small enough and to ask you.”
Maria finally grabbed her other shoe. She scrounged in the bottom of her purse, pulled out a fistful of crumpled bills and loose change. “Here.” She dumped it on the coffee table and put her other shoe on.
“But I only need three dollars.”
“Consider the rest part of your allowance. Now go tell your father to get your brother cleaned up and take him to daycare. I’m running late. Love you.”
~ ~ ~
“It’s a phone number.” Peter said with his mouth full of ham and cheese sandwich.
“I dare you to call it,” Richie said, handing it back to Johnny.
“You call it.”
“Fine, gimme.” Richie held out his hand.
“I’m not gonna just give you a buck. You gotta trade. I wanna get a snack.”
“I don’t have one. I’ll bring one tomorrow to pay you back.”
“Yeah right.” And Johnny crossed the cafeteria and put the scribbled on dollar bill into the vending machine in exchange for a bag of chips.