“Do you think we’ll find anything?” Sally asked.
“We better.” Marty flicked an ash from his cigarette out of the open window. He drove a rusted brown pickup truck that he found on Craigslist with an ad that stated: Still Running. He paid a $750 for it.
Sally fooled with the radio. She was blonde and wore a white tank top and jeans with a tear over the knee. “I hope I find a nice pair of earrings.”
“What the hell are you going to do with those?” Marty leaned over the steering wheel, looking at the numbers on the ranch-style houses. It was a small neighborhood in the west side of Toledo that didn’t have any sidewalks.
“Wear them, duh.” Sally changed the station.
“We only got $20 dollars. You know I don’t get paid till Friday. Why don’t you get a job already?”
Sally’s jaw dropped. “Who’s going to take care of Billy? I had to practically beg the neighbors just to watch him for a few hours today.”
“Your mom could pitch in once and a while.”
“Mom has church to go to.”
“She goes to church every day of the week.”
“She’s got her social life to keep.”
“Yeah, and well I ain’t a banker. Now pay attention and help me find the damn place. What was
the address again?”
Sally opened her purse, a knock off Gucci that she thought was real, and pulled out her Obama phone.
“Well?” Marty asked.
“Give me a damn second. I got to find the text.” She fumbled with the phone. “5828.” She put the phone away and looked around the neighborhood for the house.
“We should be coming up on it,” Marty said.
Sally leaned forward in her seat. “There!” she shouted, pointing towards a blue house with vinyl siding.
Marty pulled up to the edge of the lawn and parked. The couple got out and held hands as they walked up the blacktop driveway. There were tables stacked with clothes, mostly children’s along with a few bras and ties for the adults.
Sally lifted up a pink bra with black polka dots on it. “Look, it’s a Victoria Secret.” Sally held the bra up to her breasts.
“You’re too small to wear that,” Marty said. He noticed a pair of worn leather cowboy boots under the table. He picked a boot up and lined the sole of it with his own shoe.
Sally frowned and put down the bra. “Still looks nice.”
“Yeah, and you look good. You don’t need a bra to cover you up.” Marty tossed the boot aside. Too big.
Sally reached her hand in the back pocket of Marty’s jeans. They sagged a little, showing a hint of his tattered boxers. She pinched his ass.
“You always know how to make me feel good,” she whispered.
“Come on Sally, not now. I’m looking for stuff.”
“I know, I just like it when you tell me I look good.”
“Knock it off,” he said.
Sally took her hand out of his pocket and gave herself a slight hug.
Marty moved away from the adult clothes and found a pile of Sega games on the next table. “Billy would like these,” he said, waiting for Sally to respond. He turned his head and saw her walking along the driveway toward two overweight women sitting at a fold-up table next to the house. There was an umbrella sticking out of the table that shielded them from the sun.
“Always walking off,” he mumbled to himself as he looked through the games. The only thing he recognized was a copy of Aladdin, a game he used to love to play as a child. Marty glanced over to the women who were now chatting with Sally.
“I really like your house,” Marty heard Sally say.
He looked back at the game and shoved it in his back pocket. He walked towards the women and Sally.
“Howdy,” said the one of the two women.
“Hello, ma’am.” Marty put his arm around Sally, who stood there without looking at him.
“The name’s Betty.”
The other woman nodded. “And I’m Martha.”
“You two make a cute couple,” Betty said. “You married?”
“He won’t propose to me,” Sally said, pushing Marty’s arm off of her.
“Maybe he ain’t ready yet,” Betty said.
“She ain’t ready,” Marty said.
“You two just ain’t moved past the love phase. She’s just letting you chase her.”
“That’s why I like her so much,” Marty pinched Sally’s ass, undiscovered by the two women. “She’s wild at heart.”
“Yeah, and you’re a jerk,” Sally said, again pushing his hand away.
The two women looked at each other.
“How old are you Sally?” Betty asked.
“Why you’re just a baby. Why do you want him to propose to you so bad?”
“Now Betty, that is none of your business,” Martha said.
“Nonsense. This girl hasn’t had a chance to experience the world. You don’t got any kids, do you?”
“Betty,” gasped Martha.
“I got a son,” Sally said.
“He ain’t mine,” Marty said, scratching his shoulder.
Betty reached across the table and held Sally’s hand. “It’s a hard work being a mom. Don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise.” The woman squeezed her hand.
“She may be rude, but she does have a heart of gold,” Martha said, as she nodded towards Betty. She turned towards the couple. “You two make a fine couple.”
Marty kissed Sally’s cheek and thanked the women. “So where’s all the good stuff you’re hiding?”
The women chuckled. “The good stuff’s in the back, hiding in the shade. Holler if you need a price.”
Marty held Sally’s hand as they walked away.
“They were nice,” Sally said.
“They were fat.”
“Your mom’s fat and I still like her.”
“She never shuts up.”
“Why do you got to be so mean?”
“I’m just telling the truth. She could talk to a wall. And she swears a lot. She always calls me a little fuck.”
“I think you’re a big fuck.”
Marty turned his head and kissed Sally’s neck. “I’ll show you my big fuck when we get home.”
Sally let go of Marty’s hand and smacked his hand. “Not until we find our treasure.”
The couple walked behind the house where there was a garage full of people. There were tables lined against the walls with all type of things. Tools, books, trinkets and toys, a painting, a jewelry box with the key sticking out of the hole, but most of all, there was stuff.
Marty walked away from Sally and examined the tools. There was a cheap set of wrenches and screwdrivers. He searched for any signs of a Craftsman set, but came up empty.
Across the garage Sally picked up the jewelry box and rubbed her ring finger around the key. She slowly opened the box and saw a pair of golden hooped earrings. Next to them was what appeared to be a gold band with she thought was a diamond. Sally thought it was real, though even an amateur appraiser could tell it was in fact just plated. She slid the ring down her finger but it was too small and got stuck around the middle knuckle. Sally looked around her. There were older men digging through a box of cables, none of them paying attention to her. She pulled the ring off and licked the
inside of the band, making sure to get a sufficient amount of spit on it. She slid the ring back down her finger and with a slight push got it past the middle knuckle. She closed the jewelry box and locked it, pulled the key out and hid it in her purse.
Marty had since moved away from the tools and was looking through a pile of comic books. He jumped as Sally walked up behind him and wrapped her arms around him.
“Damn, you gave me goosebumps.”
“I love you,” she whispered.
“How couldn’t you?” he said, his hands still digging through the comic books. “Billy likes the Hulk, doesn’t he?”
“How would I know?”
“You’re his mom, aren’t you?”
“Doesn’t mean I have to know what he likes.”
“I think this is what we’re looking for. I could probably buy the whole stack for a couple of bucks.”
“Is there any Spider-Man comics in there?”
“There’s a few Batman comics. Mostly the Hulk.”
“I really like Spider-Man.”
“We can’t always get we want,” Marty said. “Billy ain’t gonna complain either. That boy doesn’t know the treasure that he’s got.”
“I’ll smack the shit out of him if he complains.”
Marty picked up the stack of comics in his arms. “You find your earrings?”
“I found something better.” She showed him the ring on her finger.
“Fuck, Sally. They’re gonna see it.”
Sally tried to pull the ring off. “It’s stuck,” she whispered.
“Goddamn it,” he said. “Put your hand in my back pocket.”
Sally slid her hand in down his back pocket and felt the Aladdin game.
“The other one,” Marty said.
She switched pockets as the ring tore a small hole while rubbing against his jeans.
“It’s a diamond, the kind I always wanted,” she said. “Maybe one day you could use it to propose to me.”
“As long as it’s real. I don’t want to give you a fake. Now hush and act like you’re squeezing my ass.”
The adults walked around the house towards the two women. They approached the fold-up table. Marty plopped the comics down.
“I think we found the treasure we were looking for,” Marty said.
“No earrings?” Martha asked.
“Now you’re the one being rude,” Betty said.
“I’m not being rude,” Martha said. “The young woman said she was looking for a pair of earrings. That’s all.” She eyed Sally. “You saw the jewelry box didn’t you? There was a pair of gold hoops back there. They weren’t fake.”
“I didn’t like them,” Sally said. “Besides, Marty likes the way I am.”
“She gives me a headache,” Marty said. “But she knows how to cook.”
The women looked at each other and smiled.
“I think these two make a fine couple,” Betty said.
“I approve,” Martha said.
“So how much are you asking for these comic books?” Marty asked.
Sally felt an itch on her ring finger, the one that was hidden in Marty’s back pocket. She tried to rub her thumb against her finger but his jeans were too tight.
“Oh heavens,” Betty snorted. “Those are junk.”
“Betty,” Martha said.
“It’s all right ladies. See, like Ben Franklin once said, one woman’s junk is another boy’s treasure. And this here is a boy’s treasure.”
“You must excuse Betty. She had three girls. She doesn’t know what fiction can do for a boy’s mind.”
“My friend here knows me better than myself some days,” Betty said. “Tell you what, that there treasure is yours to keep, free of charge. It’s the least I could do for such a young couple.”
Marty shook his head. “No, I couldn’t dare bring myself to take what isn’t useful to me. And these comics are for my boy. I couldn’t be honest if I told him I didn’t pay for them with my own hard earned money.”
Betty and Martha looked at each other and grinned.
“Son, I got three boys,” Martha said. “And there ain’t nothing more important than to teach them honesty. But sometimes, it’s alright to lie. As long as the intention isn’t mean-spirited. That’s all a boy needs. A good heart. Now, those comic books were my youngest son’s. And he loved them. They’ve already been paid for. Now you keep them, and you tell your boy you spent your hard earned money on them. And you go take that girl there out to a nice dinner.“
“Aren’t they so kind?” Sally said to Marty.
Marty lifted the stack of comics. “Ladies, I thank you for sharing your treasure with my family. It’s something I’ll always remember.”
The two women looked at each other and nodded.
Marty and Sally walked away from the table. Sally’s hand, still in his back pocket, was covered in sweat.
“Have a nice day,” a voice hollered at them. Marty and Sally couldn’t tell which woman said it.
As they approached the car Sally pulled her hand out of Marty’s pocket and itched her finger with the ring on it.
“Jesus Christ, Sally. Get in the damn car before they you see what you took from them.” Marty pushed Sally through the driver’s door.
“Why do I have to drive?” Sally asked.
“Cause I want to look at these comics on the way home.”
“I thought you were going to buy me a nice dinner.”
“Shit, those women really made an impression on you, didn’t they,” Marty said.
“They were nice. Can I at least get an ice cream cone?”
“Fine. We’ll use the rest of the money to buy Billy some clothes. His jeans are all tattered.”
“Only if we can go to Edy’s,” she said, still itching her finger. “God, this ring really hurts my finger.”
“I didn’t know you were allergic to gold,” said Marty.
“It’s been so long since I’ve worn anything gold, maybe I’ve changed. People change you know?”
Marty pulled the keys out her purse. He saw the jewelry box key. “What the hell is this?” he
“It’s the key to their box. I didn’t want anyone else to see what they had.”
“You should let them decide that for themselves next time.” Marty shoved the car key in the ignition. “You going to start the car or what?” he asked.
Sally kept scratching her finger. “Maybe I shouldn’t be wearing this ring. Maybe I ain’t ready yet.”
“Give me your finger,” Marty said. He put her finger in his mouth and licked around the ring to sufficiently smother it with saliva.
“That feels good,” Sally said, trying not to giggle.
Marty pulled her finger out his mouth and wrapped his hand around the ring. “I’m gonna tug on it, and I’m gonna pull real hard. While I pull on the ring, you pull your hand away from me. You ready?”
“Oh god, I’m ready. Just pull it off already.”
“All right, here goes.” Marty yanked as hard as he could on the ring, and after a slight tug, the ring slid off.
Sally let out a cry. Her hand had smacked herself in the face, and there was blood running down her nose.
“I’m bleeding,” she whimpered.
Marty looked around for something to wipe the blood off of her. There was nothing, so he pulled off his T-shirt and held it up to her nose.
“I’m sorry,” he said. “I didn’t know that was going to happen.”
“It really hurts,” she said, her voice muffed by the shirt.
Marty leaned in and kissed her hand that was wearing the ring. Her ring finger was slightly
swollen. He pressed his lips against it.
“I should have took the earrings,” Sally said.
“Naw, you don’t need that shit,” Marty said, still holding her hand.
Sally pulled the shirt away from her nose. It was red but the blood was gone. “You mean that?” she asked, a tear in her eye.
“I wouldn’t be honest if I lied to you, now would I?”
Marty grabbed the T-shirt out of her hands. “Looks like I gotta buy a new shirt. Not like it isn’t nice out today. Nothing wrong with getting a little sun on my skin.”
“You gonna drive?” asked Sally.
“Yeah, suppose I have to now. You look like shit and your eyes are all filled with tears. C’mon, switch me spots.”
Marty got out of the car and walked around the hood as Sally did the same. They met halfway and hugged each other. “Guess I learned my lesson,” Sally said as her head hung over his shoulder.
“Naw, that just wasn’t the right ring. We’ll find it next time.”
Marty got in the driver seat and Sally got in the passenger seat. They drove off into the distance.
From the drivrway the two women smiled as they watched the rusted brown pickup disappear.
“I say,” Betty said. “Why don’t we get ourselves a beer? We’ve done a good job today.”
“That’s a swell idea,” Martha said.
“Hank,” Betty yelled into the house.
“Goddamn, the game’s on,” a grizzly male voice hollered back through an open window.
“When there’s a commercial, get us women here a couple of beers,” Betty yelled. “It’s been a
hot day, and you’ve ain’t done shit but sit on your ass.”
“All right, but they aren’t cold. I forgot to put them in the fridge earlier.”
The women shrugged.
“We ain’t picky,” Betty yelled.
“That’s why I love you gals,” the voice yelled back.
The women looked at each other and smiled. They couldn’t tell whether he was being sarcastic or sincere. Not that it made a difference.