Saturday, January 17, 2009

Luck and Crackers

It was early evening when Tortelli walked through an alley that separated a grocery store from a church with a soup kitchen basement. He came across a tin can that he stooped to pick up. He decided to call his crazy friend Zigman Zibanski and tell him of his lucky find. With a quarter in his hand, Tortelli came across a pay phone.

Tortelli: "Hello, Zigman. You'll never guess what I found, a can of Campbell's tomato soup. You got any crackers?"

Zibanski: "Yeah, I got some. You wanna come over?"

Tortelli: "I'll be over in a flash."

He walked it to his friend's apartment and was surprised to find that all the utilities had been cut off except for the phone. They improvised heating the tomato soup by holding the open can above a candle flame with a monkey wrench. When it started to bubble they poured the soup into a couple of coffee mugs and added crushed crackers.

They drank from the mugs with small plastic spoons when Zigman spoke: "My ex-wife called. She wants the back payments from our alimony settlement by the end of the week. I told her I got laid off and she'll have to wait till I start working again."

"Why don't you send her an empty soup can?" Tortelli asked. They both laughed and Tortelli spoke again. "I saw something on TV about Japan. You know they got golf driving ranges on the top of office buildings. The ranges are surrounded by netting and Japanese guys stand on platforms and drive the balls as hard as they can."

"Crazy world," Zigman said. He took out a battery operated transistor radio and tuned it to an Oldies station that played songs they knew as teenagers when all in life seemed possible.

Zigman Zibanski and Tortelli quietly finished the soup and wished they had more.

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