She’d had it for weeks before she found the money.
On this day, Gracie L, fifty-seven years old, mother of three ungrateful kids, and grandmother to two children she had never seen, realized she was alone in the cardboard shanty she shared with Marie. Privacy was a rare luxury.
Her mind immediately went to what she called “Her Collectibles”. Whenever she found anything of value, she would hide it in amongst her stuff in the rusty, squeaky shopping cart she had named Willie (after that whiny nightclub performer in Temple of Doom). People might take what they could if they got the chance. Best to keep it all hidden.
She stood, stepped a little closer to the cart, reached in, rummaged around, and pulled out that notebook she had found – just sitting on a bench!
It was black, hardcover, with one of those elastic things for holding your place. Very elegant. Well, it was a bit grubby now with Gracie’s life all over it, but the inside? The pages were white, clean, and neatly lined. It was her nicest Collectible yet.
Gracie shifted to the marked page. It was full of a neat script that was long, thin, and ethereal as if an elf had arisen from legend and was writing their thoughts on the page. Gracie pulled the elastic and then flipped through and, suddenly, an envelope fell out of the notebook. Gracie peeked inside. And she almost fell over.
There were one-thousand-dollar notes in the envelope. Gracie looked around and then lifted the money out and fanned it to count. There were twenty one-thousand-dollar notes in the envelope all pretty and pink, with the face of Queen Elizabeth calmly staring on one side and a breeding pair of some kind of bird on the back. Gracie couldn’t believe her eyes. Her hands shook as she turned the stack of money over and over.
She heard a cough from outside the shanty and it shook her reverie….