Dan, Dan the gambling man kept his cash in coffee cans, one for bettin’, one for gettin’, one for loosin’, one for Susan, the gal he’d wed if he ever got far enough ahead.
A can for pennies, nickels and dimes for the times he didn’t have the beer he craved, but saved the two bits it would have cost if he lost a toss of dice or gave in to his favorite vice, a slice of ham on rye with apple pie instead of the meal a buck would buy.
Dan had no faith in banks, stocks or bonds, hid his dollars for a night with Sue in a drawer reserved for dirty socks and torn and worn out underwear.
Dan estimated, as he counted what amounted in coin and bills to twenty three dollars and ninety cents as a down payment on a wedding ring or an innerspring mattress for the nights Sue said yes.
His Yes or No cash stash was growing, Susan was loosin’ her desire, especially when he put only pennies In her can, next to his worn out underwear and smelly socks asked her to pay the bus fare home and walk three blocks on a rainy night to save ten cents or more for the ring or on his lay away account for a secondhand mattress at the Good Will Store.
They were discussing his craving for saving one night as they were falling asleep.
“You’re a no good cheap creep,”” she said, as she heard the roar of his snore and said no more. She decided to end her
relationship with the drip, but not until after that Muddy River cruise he said he’d pay for if she paid the old lady next door to feed and wish his goldfish good night while they were away.
“After all,” he said, “two or three nights to fish all alone in an empty jelly jar with nobody to talk to is a lot to expect from your loving, loyal pets.”
“Goldfish can’t talk a it or give a shit,” she said.
“You know what I mean,” he said.
Again, she didn’t know and she didn’t care and that ragged underwear was in a state of disrepair starting to smell like what they used to share, She was about to tell him he, the goldfish and the jockey shorts smelled like ten dozen rotten eggs when that roaring snore was his reply. He paid the rent, the Creep, so I guess he’s entitled to a good night’s sleep.
Before they checked out the next day he said as they got out of bed, “When we get back have I got a surprise for you.”
“Don’t play games with me. What’s the secret, Danny boy?“
“Here’s a hint. It rhymes with spring and it’s something you’ll be glad to get. I used up our whole weddinng fund and had to borrow from another coffee can to get the man to let me have it on the installment plan.”
“Is it large or small or one size fits all?’
Before Dan could answer the bus stopped at their door. She ran ahead, couldn't wait to see the ring, the thing that rhymes with spring. What a romantic way to propose. He wasn’t a creep. after all. She was glad she let him sleep.
She looked on the bed. Nothing there. Under the pillows. On the chair. In the closet. Everywhere. Dan walked in, pointed at the bed, “It’s right there. You must be blind.”
“But where’s the ring? My engagement ring you promised me when we first went to bed to do your thing?”
“Not a ring. Thats my surprise--a brand new renovated, reconditioned mattress with an inner spring. You say each time we do our thing, you get an ache in your back.”
Dan took Sue‘s hand and led her to the bed. “The finger later. The back comes first. No more back aches. That’s my surprise.”
Sue shrugged. What could she do? He was a creep, but he worried about her ache. That said it all. She undressed and so did he. When it was over Sue looked at Dan, jumped up and down on the bed. “For goodness sakes, no more aches!.”
Dan pulled her down, kissed her gently on the cheek. They spent a week testing the spring. It didn’t squeak when they did their thing. Which rhymed with Spring, the mattress spring, of course.
“I know what’s good for my Sue,” Dan said.
“I guess you do,” Sue replied. They cuddled in their brand new, reconditioned Good Will bed and fell asleep in each other’s arms.
Dan won a big pot in his next poker game. The cash he got, plus most of what was in the coffee cans, bought Sue the biggest diamond ring in the pawn store. They wed and did what beds are for. Three kids later the springs wore out and the mattress retired to the attic of their new home, a reminder of the thing that rhymed with Spring and, also to two rings and lots of other things.