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The Copper

John picked up the shiny penny and smiled. He put it in a pocket and said to himself, "Two candies for a penny, my lucky day!"

Heading for Woolworth's in a hurry, he missed the soft "ping" of the coin bouncing off the concrete, shed from a hole in his jeans.

"Two licorice whips, sir," John held up his hand to the stern storekeep, opening his grubby hand to show strawberry whips with blackbean eyes resting on reddened palms.

"That's a penny, boy."

John's left index finger found the worn place in his pocket and his face trembled, tears about to run.

"My money is gone! There's a hole in my pocket!"

"If I had a penny for every time I've heard that line..."

John swept the store clean in two hours and left with his whips that tasted of hard work.

After locking up for the night, the clerk walked home, dropping pennies like bread crumbs along the way.

Story by:

Mary Jo Caffrey

submitted at 6:20pm

15 November 2009