The Gold Button
by Michael A. Kechula
than ever to find a decent cigarette butt in the
gutter. I'd just spent an hour looking. I
spotted candy wrappers, banana peels, assorted
junk. But no smokes. Dammit! Where does
a guy go to complain?
Then I spotted
a gold button. When I rubbed it against my
jeans, it got real shiny. I checked the back
hoping it'd say 14 carat. But
all I saw was, 555-2279.
If I had a
quarter, I'd use a payphone and dial those seven
numbers. I'd say, This is Joe. I found
your gold button. Is there a reward?
I called. Got a quarter for a cuppa
coffee? Well, a dime is good. Know
where I can get fifteen more cents?
Lady. Can you spare a quarter? I'll
give you a dime. Yeah, that's the idea...you get
an instant rebate. Here's the dime. Glad I
made you laugh.
I dialed 555-2279.
A man answered
by repeating the seven numbers.
I said. Im Joe. I found
one. Is there a reward?
are you, Joe?
jeans. Red shirt.
and stay where you are. Im sending
somebody to get the button.
a Dodge drove up. Two guys in dark suits got
see the button.
I gave it to
them. They looked at it real close.
you want for it?
the car. We'll take you to a smoke shop.
I said. I get car sick. I might vomit.
They threw me
in the car. One leaned against me so hard, I
couldn't move. When I complained, he bopped
When I woke up,
I was in a room with a bright light shinning in
say youre Joe Slavitsky, said a mean-sounding
voice. Age 61. No address. Tell
us again how you got the button.
in the gutter, while looking for smokes. Who
are you guys?
matter. What matters is who you really are.
Have you ever been inside the Russian Embassy?
don't even know where it is. Think they'd let me
in dressed like this?
have a report that says youve been there
twice this week. Looks like you're in big
a stupid button? Forget the reward. Let
me go. I got things to do, people to see.
people to see all right. FBI
It took the
FBI a couple hours to realize I was nobody, never
been nobody, never will be nobody. They
apologized. Even chipped in so I could buy a
carton of cigarettes. Then they released me.
cigarettes ran out, I went back to searching for
smokes in the gutter.
Since then, I've
found other buttons. I wouldn't touch them with a
Even if one of
them happens to be 14 carat gold.