The parking meters are greedy at the beach, gobbling a quarter every eight minutes. Those fees, along with the parking tickets the roving golfcart brigade of meter monitors begin writing before the red flag even finishes spelling E-X-P-I-R-E-D, keeps the town treasury flush.
Yesterday, Dearly Beloved plunked in enough quarters to allow for a 48-minute walk on the beach. It was all I could handle, even with 50 spf sunblock. DB, on the other hand, walks for hours. Although he coats himself diligently with the sunblock spray, he has toasted himself to an acorn brown which makes John Boehner look a sickly mustard/pumpkin color by comparison.
Wait… John Boehner IS a sickly mustard/pumpkin color.
The point is, I take the car and DB walks home.
Yesterday I forgot to wear my watch, so when I returned to the car, I still had 12 minutes left on the meter. The Trolley Stop hotdog stand was only a half block away and I hadn’t had one of their Carolina dogs (mustard, chili, slaw) in a couple of years. I grabbed my wallet and started toward the stand to fill that void in my diet.
The street was surprisingly uncrowded. A man passed, talking real estate on a cellphone, and a little boy about 7 rode a small, wobbly bike toward the small commerical area. My car was the only one in that stretch of meters, a prime spot at lunchtime. Most unusual. The beach had been crowded. Where had everyone parked?
I sensed movement at my feet and looked down to see a $20 bill blowing along the curb. Where had that come from? I picked it up, figuring that the man with the cellphone had inadvertently pulled it out of his pocket along with his phone. He had disappeared, so I tucked the bill into my wallet and went on to buy my hotdog to-go.
I was juggling the bag, drink, wallet, and car keys to open my car door when the little boy passed again, his handlebars still waggling. He was studying the ground. Was he looking for something?
“Sweetie, did you drop some money?” I called to him.
“Did you find some?” he asked, hopefully.
“Was it a $20 bill?”
I nodded again and walked over to hand it to him.
This is the strange part: The kid opened his hand to take it and there was another $20 already in his hand, perhaps more.
DB has laughed and laughed at my tale. He mimics how he thinks the boy might have looked, opening his hand and thumbing through a fistful of folded money.
“Let’s see, I’ve still got my $100, my two 50’s, one $20, and a five $10’s, so it would be a $20 that I’m missing.”
I asked the little banker didn’t he have a pocket and he shook his head. He wadded the bills into his right hand again… which may explain the wobbly steering. He thanked me and started up the street again, towards the Wings store and the surf shop.
I wondered about his mission. Was he buying a new boogey board. . . or just getting change for the parking meter?