I found it sitting next to my car as
I was leaving my apartment. I don’t know why I picked it up. How many countless
pennies have I walked past as I’ve gone about my life? Dozens? Hundreds? Yet,
for some reason, I was drawn to this one. This
shabby, crusty old penny.
I got to my desk at work, I began to unload my pockets. Cell phone. Wallet.
one of my colleagues, walked into my office. In his hands were two breakfast
sandwiches from our favorite breakfast joint.
Steve. They only had enough bacon to do one sandwich. The other one is sausage.
I know we both like bacon, so… wanna arm wrestle for it?” he laughed.
glanced down at the penny. Lincoln’s face, a nice shade of green, was staring
up at me.
flip for it,” I said. “Winner gets the bacon.”
nodded as I flipped the coin. As it reached its apex, I called heads. It
hit my palm and I flipped it onto the back of my hand.
polished off my sandwich and started going about my day.
an hour in I started to realize it was going to be a slow day. No new orders.
No new e-mails. And every e-mail response I sent got an out-of-office reply.
Obviously, it was the day before a holiday. Everyone was probably out enjoying
their lives. Meanwhile, I was stuck in the office, staring at my Outlook.
around noon my boss walked in, Phil right behind him.
things are slow and people are cutting out early. I need at least one of you
here in case the team has any issues,” my boss said. “Decide who will get to
my boss left, I stared up at Phil.
you got the bacon sandwich, sooo,” he said.
no,” I said. “You got to cut out early last Friday and the Friday before that.”
come on, man. I got… plans… this afternoon,” he said awkwardly.
looked down at the penny. I swore ole Lincoln gave me a wink.
flip for it?” I said.
didn’t take me long to pack up and head for the door. I could feel Phil
shooting daggers at me from behind. Sorry, old friend. But, today is my day!
Tails never fails!
glanced down at the penny and gave it a knowing smile.
headed to Wal-Mart to buy my wife some flowers. I wanted to surprise her, maybe
take her out to an early dinner. After
Wal-Mart, I headed to the gas station and got gas. As I was paying, I spotted
the lottery tickets. Hell, why not? Today was turning up good for me!
one should I pick? I wondered. I grabbed the penny from my pocket. Heads, Seven
Sevens. Tails, Lucky Rabbits Foot. I flipped the coin.
Lucky Rabbits Foot.
scratched off the ticket as I stood at the cashier.
lucky rabbit feet!
scratched off the prize. $250!
the cashier had enough to pay me the winnings. I skipped to my car, cash in
hand, and headed home. I
got to my apartment and headed for the door. It was left open a crack.
could hear the master bedroom shower running. My wife called out from it.
Phil! I’m just taking a quick shower. Sorry if you texted, my phone broke this
morning!” she yelled.
felt my legs almost give out on me.
turned back around and slowly closed the door. I headed down the steps and got
back in my car.
don’t remember driving. I don’t remember walking into the store either. But, next
thing I knew I was standing in the hunting section of Wal-Mart.
can I help you with?” a worker asked me as I stood by the glass case that held
guns and knives.
or knife?” he asked.
felt my right hand reach into my pocket to grab the lottery winnings. My left
hand reached into my pocket to grab the penny.
flip for it,” I said.
stood outside the apartment door. It was closed now. Before I could reach for
my key, it swung open, my wife in tears.
I… oh my God, I didn’t want you to find out this way,” she cried.
stepped inside. I saw Phil sitting on my chair in the living room.
Steve… I want you to know that… I want you to know that this has nothing to do
with you,” she said between sobs.
walked up to Phil. He stood up, defiantly.
man,” he began. “I—“
he could finish, I had plunged the knife deep into his abdomen. He stared into
my eyes as his body began to go limp. Far away I could hear my wife’s screams.
oh my God! What did you do?!” she yelled.
turned to her, the bloody knife still clenched in my hand. She was on the
floor, clinging to one of the kitchen chairs.
please don’t do this,” she said. “Please! Please don’t kill me!”
stopped a few feet from her and reached into my pocket to grab the penny.
flip for it,” I said.
I merge onto the highway, I lift the penny up in the air. It looks almost brand
new. Shiny. Vibrant. Goddamn beautiful penny!
hit a bump in the road and hear the bodies shift in the trunk.
the hell do I do with them?
I bury them?
I toss them?
look at the penny.
“Let’s flip for it.”