Al Sullivanís Journal

 

 

If ten was nine

 

Aug. 2, 1972

 

†Hank shook me awake this morning and shoved a ten dollar bill under my nose.

†"I'll trade this for a ten," he said,. "This one isn't any good."

†I was too confused to protest, though I could hear the Fetterman's in the kitchen just outside my door, they woken by his early morning arrival just as I was, bussing over the intrusion -- a situation I would later have to explain, if I could. But I didn't think to ask him why he needed to trade or why my ten dollar bill was any better than his.

†"In my pants," I said and motioned towards the crumbled clothing on the chair in the corner. He dragged my wallet out, and exchanged his ten for one of mine, then fled, leaving me to fall back to sleep.

†I sleep too much. I think it's depression. But I have nothing better to do since getting fired from my job at the hospital.

†I woke hours later, thinking Hank's arrival had been part of a dream, until I saw my wallet laying open on the bed and the edge of a blue bill hanging out one side, a blue bill with the picture of Queen Elizabeth on it, a vestige of Hank's trip to Nova Scotia with Pauly and Rob last summer. He seemed eager to be rid of it, and later, on his way home from work, laughed about how he'd gypped me out of twenty two cents.

†I wouldn't have bragged about trading away a memory for so little.

 

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