“So you found this on Elm street?” Sergeant A.P. Pillsbury asked Melvin as he pulled the cash from the leather wallet.
And you’re turning this in because it doesn’t belong to you?”
“Like I said.”
“Are you some kind of a Good Samaritan or something?”
“No, but my wife is.”
Pillsbury grunted knowingly and filled out a lost and found form. He pushed it to Melvin.
“Here, sign here. If nobody claims it in thirty days, you can have it.”
Melvin limped home in the dark secretly hoping nobody would be looking for their missing seven hundred and eighty dollars. Joanne was still sore at him that night for even wanting to keep the money. She also informed him that it was the devil’s money and they would put it in the offering plate if the police gave it back to them. Melvin accepted this as he had a litany of bad news lately.
After Joanne and the kids left the house, Melvin scoured the sofa cushions for change and found enough to make another trip to Freeze’s for Bull Durham.As he trudged along the sidewalk and watched happy people motor by, Melvin wondered how did life get so wrong? What the hell did he do to offend the gods so deeply? Maybe Joanne was right. Maybe he should get right with God and start going to that holy roller church. The thought of that gave him little comfort as he turned to cross Elm street. There was no traffic as the fall wind blew his hat nearly off. He grabbed to hold it down as he glanced into the still gaping pothole.
Son of a bitch.
He crossed the street and stood there for five long minuted before he turned around and looked. In the street hole lay the wallet. The exact same wallet. Quickly he moved to go back and get it. In his rear pants pocket it felt heavy. Melvin barely recalled going to Freeze’s and buying Bull Durham. He was staring at the money stacked on his kitchen table feeling numb.
Seven hundred and eighty dollars.
After supper, Melvin was aware of his wife and children making small talk and discussing the upcoming revival at the church. Melvin answered questions when they asked him and and chewed his food slowly. It was while he was drying the dishes his wife handed him after she washed them, she noticed he really wasn’t paying attention.
“You tell me.”
“What are you talking about?”
Joanne sat down in a kitchen chair and took on a serious tone. Melvin stared at her for a time and then took a seat across from her. Suddenly he needed to roll a smoke. Smell that raw tobacco stench and light it up. Pull that smoke deep in his lungs-
He looked her straight in the eyes and blurted out “I found it again today.”
“The wallet…the money…same amount. It’s upstairs.”
“You’re lying to me. You never turned it in. Do you think I’m stupid? You are hell bent on bringing the wrath of God upon us.”
Melvin tried to respond but it was no use. Joanne made him go get the wallet and hand it to her. She left in a huff and didn’t even put on a coat she was so mad. Melvin knew where she was going. He wondered what A.P. Pillsbury would think now.