Frank’s Five Dollars

Frank’s five dollars wasn’t his own. He owed it to every cheap flop house and scrip writer in town. Everyone wanted a piece of Frank’s five dollars, but he couldn’t part with it. Frank’s five dollars was a raft, he would escape down the Nile on it’s crinkled back, there was no wind he wouldn’t course, and he shrugged his shoulders inside his five dollar overcoat. Frank’s five dollars was as big as all outdoors. Frank’s five dollars made Trump’s millions look like spare change. Frank’s five dollars was on fire. Frank’s five dollars was the last unspent money on earth. Nobody had that five but Frank, and he was going to keep it that way. Frank’s five dollars was heading for the grave, held tight in Frank’s greasy hand. Frank was a gambler, every time he hit the street. Sick and in desperate need, he wandered, mumbling in doorways, counting the blocks.

Frank was a wasted soul, played out years ago, a sad tale to tell if there had been anyone to tell it, looking into pawnshop plate-glass for something – he had a ticket in mind, but he couldn’t remember what it was he had hockled. Something worth five dollars. If he could find it, he could get it back. Frank’s five dollars could at least do that. Frank’s five dollars was an opportunity. Frank’s five dollars was a roof over his head. Frank’s five dollars was as dry as a bone, it was the good woman behind every man, the stone in his soup pot. Frank’s five dollars bled a little when he cut himself shaving. Someone once asked Frank for some money, he said he didn’t have any, feeling the familiar texture of his only five dollars in his tattered pocket. Frank’s five dollars was a reptile, Frank’s five dollars was a washed up vaudeville actor. Driftwood on the beach, sand in the hourglass. If Frank’s five dollars were laid out end to end, it would get you nowhere.

Frank’s five dollars wasn’t real. But then, Frank himself wasn’t all that real, so what difference did it make? Frank’s five dollars was burning a hole in his pocket. Frank was driven, Frank was unhealthy, Frank was five feet from an open manhole, Frank fell off the curb. Frank hung himself on a lamp post. Frank put his five dollars in an envelope and mailed it to himself. He never opened it when it arrived, was never sure it was really there, but was too afraid to open it and find out. Frank’s five dollars was a seven course meal, a four star hotel, Frank’s five dollars was a nine day wonder. Frank’s five dollars was the name of a jazz tune that hadn’t been written yet. Frank’s five dollars never was, and never will be again.