A Lumpy Coin Mass

I am counting down to the last week of school and the end of my time here at STJ with some anecdotes of my favorite memories in this place.

This is the third one, and I’m starting to realize that a lot of my favorite memories center around the book fair, which is strange because book fair week has not exactly been my favorite week of any particular school year.

After a few of these book fairs you kind of know what to expect. Kids are going to spend every last coin they can find in their couch cushions at home to get an eraser or a pencil or something like that. They just want to spend money. I don’t think it even matters what they are getting.

Sometimes, though, a kid will surprise you with their chosen method of payment.

On this particular afternoon, I was feeling a bit frazzled. I had a long line at the register and a kid had just tried to pay with an eraser from the book fair that was made to look like a dollar bill. I informed him that was the third time someone had pulled that joke that week and that next time, maybe he should wait until the line wasn’t so long.

The next girl walked up with a book to purchase. She told me that she had money, but that there a problem with it. I asked her what kind of problem. I was thinking maybe she had Canadian quarters or something like that or that maybe she was trying to pull the eraser dollar bill joke like the last kid. She handed me a lumpy metal mass, and smiled sheepishly. “My brother hot glued all of my quarters together this morning.”

I threw back my head and let out a big laugh. I knew her little brother well, and that was exactly the type of thing he would do.

I rang up her book and got a pen. I made a fist around it and smacked it down on the blobby coin mass. A few coins came loose. I did it again and then again until we had enough quarters to pay for the book.

I handed her the book, her receipt and what was left of the coin sculpture.

“Give your brother my regards.” I told her. “I’m very impressed with his work.”

“Yeah, you don’t have to live with him.”

That was a good point. I nodded my agreement, and started ringing up the next customer.

Published by Benji

I am an elementary school librarian in Montgomery, AL.

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