I paid the Chinese man behind the counter with a hundred dollar bill and he gave me a dirty look. It took all of his twenties and tens and most of his fives to give me change and he slapped it into my hand. I paid him no mind as I folded the bills over the change and dumped the whole thing into my pocket. Millie handed me my bag and we headed for the door.
We were fellow employees but rivals, both jockeying for the same account. It had been a hard morning, a four hour conference call to Tibet and so I had a craving for Chinese when we finished. This place was way on the other side of town but it was the best Chinese in the city. Millie had spotted me just after I had hailed a cab and after I told her where I was going she joined me.
The cab hadn’t waited for us so we headed down Fifth hoping to see a cab on Lincoln. Right before we passed an alley way I got a sharp pain in my foot. I almost dropped my food and I bit my tongue to keep from screaming in pain. Millie pretended not to notice I wasn’t walking next to her until she was about twenty feet ahead of me.
“Ed, what’s the matter?” she said in that too cool tone of hers after twirling around like a super model. She had to have known I noticed—everyone noticed—that her skirt was too high per the company dress code, but no self-respecting heterosexual male had the wherewithal to say something to her at the behest of his genitalia.
“Nothing,” I said, gritting my teeth. “Just a cramp.”
The pain radiated up my ankle all the way up to my knee. Perhaps I’d severed a tendon. Balancing my food in one hand, I pulled off my shoe, stoking the pain and felt the bottom of my foot. There was something flat and small stuck in my foot. I switched the bag to my other hand and half knelt, putting my ankle across my opposite thigh to examine the area.
There was a quarter sticking in my foot.
**Come back for the final installment tomorrow at 7:30**
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