The public library has planted Black-Eyed Susans, three large gardens of them, in front of the building. They spoke to me, even though I don't have brown eyes or yellow hair. I like the idea that this flower has my name. There are far more beautiful flowers, but I am loyal to this one that made me feel special when I was a child.
I picked one, but wasn't carrying a bag so I pushed it up the sleeve of my sweater, stem first with the flower dangling in my palm, itching.
"I'll probably get a rash," I complained.
Flip said, "Well, if you're going to embrace a life of crime..."
He said this without missing a beat as he bounced his yellow tennis ball along the sidewalk. I suggested he carry it in his mouth, like a Labrador. Walks with him are beginning to feel like outings with a very tall four-year old.
I have always wondered what I would do if I saw money in the street, but it was coated in excrement. It's this kind of idle thought that has inspired Flip to remark that my brain just doesn't work like other people's. There is superstition involved. I believe that if I do not pick up money, the gods will decide that I don't really need any, and I will not have enough to survive. This does not apply to pennies or other coins, but I usually make an exception for quarters. I like quarters. They feed parking meters and all sorts of other machines. Quarters are useful.
A few months ago, while walking with my daughter in the rain, I saw a dollar bill lying on the sidewalk.
"Oh, a dollar," I said as I scooped it up.
My daughter replied, 'I saw it, too, but it's wet. I thought I'd leave it for someone who needs it more."
"And that person just found it," I said.
Today, someone had placed a bill right on the doorstep of this building. It was covered in poop. I didn't even want to pick it up to redirect it to the street, or the garbage. Flip got his camera and took a picture of it.
So now I have my answer. I will pick up wet bills, but not befouled ones. Of course, that only goes for ones, fives, tens and probably, twenties. I'm not sure what I would do if I saw a hundred lying there, or a thousand. I might pour a kettle of scalding water over it and pick it up with rubber gloves, disinfect it and then deposit it in my bank account. Probably not, though, because it wouldn't be fair to the bank teller. So I might just ignore it. I think it would depend on my mood, my finances at the moment,