Theresa O’Connor

How quickly things change

Scene: a small apartment. TED enters, carrying mail and a small paper bag. He sits down at the table, removes a $0.99 bean burrito from the bag, and eats it. He begins sorting the mail.

First, an ominous envelope from the State of California. He had been a week late in sending in his last unemployment form, and suspects that this letter will inform him that he's been cut off. He quickly shuffles the letter to the bottom of the pile, unopened.

Next, his utility bills. One is less expensive than usual, and one more so. He quickly performs the following calculation on his computer:

total amount in bank accounts − rent − utilities = $0.14.

Fourteen cents.

After a pause, he continues sorting the mail. Everything else is junk. With some trepidation, he opens the ominous letter.

It's his state tax refund.