This morning I made Ramen noodles with extra veggies in it, and peanut butter and Korean bean paste. Then took a walk, crossed Grand Central on over to Queens Boulevard where an Asian woman walking a little dog caught my eye. She saw my eye was caught by her, so when she got up close, I said “Hmmph” as I sometimes do to Asian women walking little dogs, not to turn my nose up at her, gee wiz, no, not ever, but to open a window. Though I smiled, she did not appreciate the sound I made. So I walked on through Forest Hills.
While circling back through the neighborhood, a little trash pile between the sidewalk and street caught my eye. It was just a pile of sticks and twigs, pretty much, but right there on top, quite clearly thrown away on purpose, and covered with dust, was a ten dollar bill folded in half. I lifted it, unfolded it, saw the five dollar bill enclosed within it, looked around to see was anybody observing me, then pulled out my wallet, inserted the money, and walked on, thinking maybe someone didn’t want that money because the person it had belonged to died or something.
I didn’t know, but it was a decent gift. I was fifteen dollars richer, and much richer still for what the Asian gave me, the “hmmph,” the only word I have spoken today.
John Oliver Hodges lives in Greenpoint, Brookyln, and is the author of The Love Box, a collection of short stories.