by J.C. Elkin

When Bill drives his truck to the dump with his trash—his branches and brush and kitchen compostables, plastics and glass and paper recyclables, bags of lawn clippings and cans of grease drippings, paint, oil and other hazmats—he whistles to think of the treasures he’ll find arrayed on an organ that’s missing veneer and two stops, but still can play!

The best of the worst is neatly displayed by his pal, the county dump czar, for his regular customers—cheap Yankees, all, who know quality when they see it: a porcelain doll with soiled pinafore, a Bavarian green felt fedora, a clown music box, a framed string-art owl, odd lots of dishes and books. Large items sprout from the ground like endive, the bounty of barren winter: furniture ready to find a new home or be cannibalized for parts—lumber, springs, bolts, and foam insulation. Human scavengers pick through the lot even the seagulls disdain.

Today’s haul is good—a couple of boards, a bench for his old fishing dock, a harp poster for his pretty young niece, a catcher’s mitt for his grandson. Next week, he must bring the bookish boy. Teach him some worldly smarts.