Monday, May 23, 2011

You Take Your Own Life In Your Hands

day 21 - a song that you listen to when you’re happy

"Wull, yeah," Michelle shrugs and cuddles her shins.  "Just on the floor."

"Just...on the floor."

"Just on the floor."

I taking a long pull from my beer.  "I don't get it."

"Well, it doesn't occur to people to...you know.  Look down."

She's right.  I set the beer on the table, pick up a pair of scissors and start cutting the paper in front of me.  "And you just find it there.  All the time."

"It's not just me," she says, delicately peeling a piece of tape from the back of a pinwheel and shifting its location.  We're making pinwheels.  It's very Martha Stewart. "I mean, I have friends that work at bars and they say that after their shift when they're cleaning up they find a ton.  You know, people get drunk and they're stupid.  They drop things."

"I just don't buy it.  I mean, I've found like a dollar before.  Usually in my own pocket.  Or something.  Or a nickel. I find nickels.  I find fuckloads of nickels." 

"No, I don't even bother with, like, nickels," she laughs and shakes her head, thick black curls shading her face.  "Sometimes I'll find a dollar and I'll just be disappointed."

"So you're finding what?  Big bills?"

"Usually.  I found sixty the other day at Rainbo, just three crisp twenties laying on the floor.  Yesterday there was a ten crumpled up on my lawn.  I just pick 'em up.  You know, and like, drug dealers are bad with money and they drop things all the time.  I find cigarettes too, but I don't smoke so I'll just give those away."  She turns to set her finished pinwheel on the ground, then tilts her head with a soft pause, staring at the thing.

"It looks good," I say.  She smiles and drops it on the pile.  "So just cigarettes?  You just...pick up loose cigarettes? Or packs?"

"Oh, like, packs.  I wouldn't pick up just like, a cigarette."

"No, of course not.  That would be ridiculous."

Xtine laughs from the other side of the table, but Michelle just keeps talking.  "And then when I find like, a pack of cigarettes I'll give them to a friend in exchange for drinks." 

"Prison currency."

She laughs.  "Yeah, I guess."

"This is bonkers.  I can't believe you just find money.  Like laying around.  Did you know about this?" I flap a maniacal pinwheel at Xtine, who is jamming wooden dowels into carved wine corks and getting glue all over her kitchen table.

"Michelle is just lucky," Xtine giggles, wiping her fingers on her skirt.  She hands me the dowel, and I fasten the pinwheel to the wine cork with a thumbtack and give it a spin.  "Oh, they look so fucking good."

"Your wedding is going to be awesome," Michelle tells Xtine.  

"I know," Xtine laughs.  "Everyone is going to be so jealous.  And we're almost done!  But I'm thinking about starting a pinwheel sweatshop. Michelle, you ready to get back into the work force?"

Not sure if I heard right, I ask, "You're not working right now?"

Michelle looks sheepishly through her hair and shakes her head. "Mmm mmm."

"For how long?  Does it suck?"

"Three years or so."

I stop making pretty pretty pinwheels to look up in disbelief.  "What the hell?  So you don't have a job?  Other than finding money?"

She laughs and doesn't answer.  "Right now I'm making wedding decorations in exchange for cookies, lentil soup and wine."  After a brief silence, she adds, "But I can't give away all of my secrets."

"I had no idea finding money and cigarettes was such a lucrative business." 

"I dunno. I find at least thirty or forty dollars a week.  You just need to look down.  That's what people don't realize," she shrugs, pulls her knees closer to her chest and starts cutting another piece of paper.

"I'm so confused."

"Just, like I said.  Just look down.  It's there." 




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14 comments:

renalfailure said...

Michelle will outlast all of us during the zombie apocalypse.

daisyfae said...

if i looked down all the time i'd find gum and walk into shit. she has good karma.

Jane said...

I'm pretty sure both of the above comments are true. :)

Ed Mypunso said...

Looking for money is fine, I guess, as long as you don't do it in Fargo.

Kono said...

work is for suckas

Dean said...

with the amount of time I hang my head in shame, you'd think I'd be a millionaire...

Deidre said...

huh! Impressive. Just look down. Ok, I'll try that.

nursemyra said...

I found $50.00 on the ground when I was a kid. Been checking the ground ever since but no bananas...

DiaryofWhy said...

One time I found about $40 crumpled up on the floor of the grocery store, and then spent an hour racing around tying to return it to its rightful owner. No one would admit to it being theirs so I kept it.

Another time when I was working in the office at the apartments someone turned in a laptop bag they found in a parking lot. I poked around inside and there was $800 in there. I called the owner and gave it back. I am still waiting for something really good to happen to me but so far, nothin'.

Jessica said...

i found $20 a couple weeks ago. that was exciting b/c i was going to a white sox game and i don't like sports and was feeling a little annoyed at having to spend $17 to get in.

but please give more info on how she doesn't have a job. she lives w/ a boyfriend? parents give her money?

Rassles said...

RF - Unsure. She's not a runner and she has extraordinarily long hair. But she's probably make a good hunter, so who knows.

Daisy - That's all I find, too. Drives me bonkers. Yesterday I found a quarter. Effing. Laundry.

Jane - agreed.

Ed - Someone has gumption.

Kono - for reals holla

Dean - DEAN! Sorry it's taking me so long to hit back. I find that shameful looking down is unproductive. You gotta be doing it a-purpose.

Dierdre - Hello, and welcome, and yeah. I don't understand it at all. Makes no sense to me. Just look down? WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN?

Nurse - see above. I find quarters.

Rachel - Poor thing. It's always an extravaganza with you, isn't it? Love that.

JT - Dude, I have no idea. I don't know. Michelle is not the kind of person to answer personal questions like that. If I hounded her she would just withdraw and look sheepish. But no boyfriend. Parents? Maybe. She worked for the Shedd for awhile, and the Sierra Club a couple years ago. Now she just finds money, I guess.

Sid said...

She's been out of a job for 3 years and she isn't freaked out?

Joseph said...

That's just how life works, I think. You shouldn't depend on others, you have to use your own.

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