Steve jammed on his brakes when he saw the bag on the ground, we didn’t. Paul and I kept biking down Keller. It looked like a bag holding garbage. Waiting for him at the Amery Depot Park, he yelled but we couldn’t hear him down past Dalley Dale’s Standard Station.
“It’s a thousand dollars,” he yelled as he biked closer. “A thousand dollars!”
Paul and I laughed because we thought he was joking, but he biked up to us and pulled out a handful of cash. All the bills were $50 dollar bills.
“Twenty of these bills,” he said as he showed us the face of U.S. Grant.
Never had we seen so much money at one time. That General Grant, such a wonderful, beautiful man.
We all stopped making any sounds, any comments, anything at all for a minute. Each in our own way imagined having that much cash.
“Shall we advertise?”
“Do we bring it to the police station?”
“Could our families use it?”
More silence. Without a word we figured we’d make good use of it, we’d take care of it better than anyone. Anyway it was probably some rich guy who lost it.
Since we each had good math skills, we knew without discussion how much we’d each receive. No talk necessary here. Evenly divided we knew, all for one and money for all, or however that saying went.
“Who gets the extra dollar?”
“Steve. He found it.”
The jury has decided. Case closed, settled.
We each got six President Grants. After riding uptown, Steve walked into Union State Bank across from the Amery Theatre to get change for the rest of our payout.
Dividing it further on that hot August afternoon felt great, like nothing we’d ever done. Steve handed each of us a rubber band that he found in the bank. We each rubber banded our money.
Now for a treat. To the soda fountain at Danielson’s Drug Store to get the biggest malt they had, maybe two. And, not just a nickel candy bar, the dime size. Maybe a pound of cashews or deluxe mixed nuts to take with us.
After our brief celebration, we went our separate ways and never mentioned the money again.
A simple plan. I wonder what Steve and Paul did with theirs.