coinsKeep the Change

by Andrew J. Stone

I wanted to perform an unselfish act tonight. Generally, I hate helping others but the monotony of playing Call of Duty, smoking hookah laced with weed, and stroking Shelly, my cat, was beginning to lose its magic. So I went to the drive-thru of the closest burger joint. It was just past midnight and I had $7 left in my Canucks wallet.

The woman’s voice speaking through the enlarged and lit-up menu welcomed me and asked what it would be. I said, “Kindness, please.” She laughed and said, “No, really.” I said “kindness” again. I then drove to the next window and waited for someone else to order behind me. I waited for 15 minutes. The employees inside the restaurant were pointing at me through the sliding glass window while their mouths moved mechanically. One of them laughed and then the others joined. Then I started laughing because I wanted be in on the joke. They stopped and stared at me with angry eyes. I put my hands in the air, motioning, “WHAT?” I shook my head slowly. Then they stopped staring at me.

One of them came to the window and said a customer was coming and that I needed to leave. I asked how much they owed her. She smiled and told me I needed to move. So I shoved $7 into her hand and said, “If there is any change, give it to the car behind me.”

I left the drive-thru to park across the street. I felt real good. The car whose food I bought drove across the street and stopped next to mine. A middle-aged man was driving. He rolled down his window and shouted, “I can pay for my own fucking food, jackass!” and threw the change at my car before speeding off.

I got out and assessed the damage. I couldn’t tell where the coins chipped the paint and where it was already missing. 


Andrew J. Stone divides his time between Los Angeles and Seattle and is frequently found wearing socks. His work has recently appeared in Hobart, Gutter Eloquence, and DOGZPLOT, and he maintains a graveyard at
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