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        The dude at the bank wishes me a “Happy September 11th!” We’re in line—he’s in front of me—but his caretaker, a middle-aged woman who carts around her residents, is in the manager’s office. Every once in a while she’ll show up with these people, a decal advertising the home on the van’s door.
 
        “Thanks,” I tell the one I’ve christened Bucky because of his huge front teeth.
 
        Months earlier, during a cold Friday afternoon in January, the weekend before Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, he wished me a “Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day!” even though we’re both white. 
     
        I said, “Same to you.”
       
        But today, I’ve got time to waste, and I’m curious, so I decide to pick his brain. “Do you know what happened on September 11th, 2001?” I ask.
       
        Bucky glances at me then the ground while he thinks. I try to watch his eyes, which his thick lenses magnify. He’s probably had those retro-looking glasses since before anyone’d ever heard of Osama.
   
        “We’re just supposed to remember it,” he says.
       
        I nod. I could be a dick and ask him why we’re supposed to remember it, or I could be even worse and make something up, convince him my fiction is fact. I’m choosing my words when I notice his savings withdrawal slip, which he’s holding in view, is for $20.83. Why in the hell would he need the eighty-three cents? Come to think of it, why’s he need money at all? What’s he buying?

    I’m posing these questions internally when a teller calls Bucky to the window. By the time I’m done, the caretaker is leading the residents out of the branch with Bucky in back. He stuffs his two ten-dollar bills into a pocket, but in doing so, drops one of them unknowingly.

    A few more steps and it’s mine. I check for witnesses, but don’t see any. Bucky and his people are oblivious, continuing to exit through the double doors that lead to the parking lot. They’re almost to the van when I bend over and grab the ten. I picture what I can buy with it—beer, cigarettes.

    I hold the crisp ten, debating between keeping it, returning it to Bucky, telling an employee I found it, or, the least appealing option, letting it be. I catch the woman just as she’s loading the remaining passengers.

    “The guy with glasses dropped this,” I say and extend the bill.
 
    She turns, looks at the ten, says, “Thank you so much!” She takes the ten, and before she passes it to Bucky, I walk away.



Jason Jordan is the author of Cloud and Other Stories and Powering the Devil’s Circus: Redux. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of decomP magazine.
     
 




 





  


Copyright 2009