The bartender sets the old man’s change on the counter. He is too preoccupied with his drink to take it, so you reach for it. He doesn’t look up from his whiskey and coke as you crumple the stack in your fist and say to him, “Is this your money?”
“Yes,” he says, showing brittle brown teeth. The glass shakes in his hand.
“Not anymore,” you say, stuffing the sixteen dollars into your macrame thrift store purse.
This is a story you will tell for years. It proves what you’ve always known. That you are tough and other people are suckers.