Short Story Fiction
The Gift

He thought the gift was a joke. He never knew how wrong he was.

Ivan Andrews stepped up to the bank teller with documents in hand. He had just come from the attorneys office of his recently deceased uncle. His uncle had named him in his will as a recipient of a significant sum of money. He had come to collect.

(Fair warning: There is some cursing in this story)

Money- The GiftJohn Goccione / Pexels

According to the will, he had been given a very valuable “gift”. It was stored in a safe deposit box in the vault of the bank he was now in.

He handed the paperwork to the teller. “I want to get into this safe deposit box.”

The teller looked over the paperwork. “I’ll need to have the branch manager approve this,” he commented.

“I’ll wait,” replied Ivan rather smugly.

The teller left Ivan at the window as he went to talk with the manager. A couple minutes later they both returned. After looking over his I.D. He agreed. “It seems the paperwork is in order. Come around the counter and I’ll take you back to the vault.”

Ivan followed the manager who led him inside. He poked his key into the slot on the small deposit box door. “Do you have your key, sir?” He asked.

Ivan pulled a key from his pocket. “Damn right I do,” he sharply answered with an attitude the manager took as a bit snarky.

He had Ivan insert his key into the second slot. He turned them both and removed the small box.

“Not a very big box,” thought Ivan as the manager set it on the counter and stepped out of the way.

“Just buzz me when you want out.” He pointed to the small button by the gate as he closed it and left the room.

Ivan was disappointed the box was not big enough for stacks of cash. He began to imagined the possibility of gold bars or precious gems; Maybe some valuable stock certificates were stashed inside.

He opened the box and looked in. What he found inside stunned him and then it pissed him off. “What the fuck is this?” He said it loud enough to be heard by those on the other side of the gate.

The box was almost empty. No gold bars, no jewels and no stock certificates were inside. It was empty except for a single penny.

Ivan was pissed. “What the fuck is this?” He repeated. “Son-of-a-bitch. That fucking old man. He never did like me.” Ivan picked up the penny and threw it at a small metal trash can in the corner. It missed the opening and bounced off the side. It rolled into the corner of the room.

“I can’t believe it. That old man must be laughing in his grave right now. Bastard!”

Ivan had mistakenly misinterpreted the word “gift” in his uncles will. He thought it meant money. He never thought he would be left with nothing more than a single penny.

He took it as a shitty practical joke.

“The bank manager walked up to the gate. “Is everything alright?” He asked.

“No, everything is not alright. My uncle said he was leaving me money. He didn’t leave me shit. Fucking old man. Get me out of this cage,” growled Ivan.

The bank manager opened the gate. Ivan pushed past him and stormed out.


That evening, the cleanup person, Floyd Andrews, was vacuuming the carpet in the vault when he spied a penny laying on the floor. He instinctively picked it up and dropped it into his pocket. He had a habit of picking up loose change whenever he found it. As he always said, “even pennies add up.”

That evening after work he pulled the penny out of his pocket. He was about to throw it into his loose change jar when he stopped. Floyd was rather intuitive and the thought hit him to take a closer look at the coin. After finding some unusual markings on it, he decided to pull out his laptop and look it up.

He was shocked at what he found. His first thought was to return it to the bank, but then Floyd wasn’t stupid. Instead, the next morning he took the penny to a local coin shop and had it looked at.

The man at the counter approached Floyd. “What can I do for you?” He asked.

“I have a coin I’d like you to look at for me.” He pulled the penny from his pocket and laid it on the counter.

The man picked it up. As he was examining it, the expression on his face became deadly serious. He looked up at Floyd, then back down at the coin. He called out to his supervisor. “Jackie, you need to come in here for a minute.”

Jackie called back. “Give me a couple of minutes.”

“No! I need you to come here now!” He urgently replied.

Jackie walked out to the counter. “What is it?”

“I need you to look at this?” He handed her the coin.

She looked at both sides, then pulled out a magnifying loop to get a closer look. She then pulled up some information about the coin on her computer. When she finished reading, she set the coin back down, but this time on a felt pad. “Do you know what you have here?” She asked Floyd.

“I believe so,” he replied. “I just wanted you to verify it.”

“Well, I’m verifying it. This is a 1909-S VDB Lincoln Penny. It’s rare. Not in mint condition, but close. From the looks of it I’d say this coin has been out of circulation for close to 100 years. How did you come into possession of such a coin?”

Floyd lied. “I live in an older home. I was doing some remodeling when I found it tucked into a crack between the floorboards I was replacing.”

“Well this coin will pay for your remodeling and then some. Are you interested in selling it?”

“Depends on what you’re willing to give me for it,” replied Floyd.

Jackie did some quick figuring. “I’ll give you $95 thousand for it.”

Floyd wasn’t a greedy man. He knew it wasn’t worth much more than that and the store needed to make a profit, so he agreed. “Sounds good to me,” he replied.

The store cut Floyd a check.

Not wanting to raise suspicion, Floyd opened an account at a bank other than the one where he found the coin.

Floyd dabbled in the stock market and decided to invest some of the money in a certain stock he had been looking at. He had a hunch it would do well at some point in the future. Yesterday he wasn’t able to afford the cost of $275 a share. Today he decided to purchase 200 of them. The company was called Amazon.

Authors note:

This happened in 2013. Eight years later Amazon stock was worth $3600 a share.

At $3600 a share Floyd cashed them in and retired early with a comfortable nest egg.

As for Ivan. He lives his life unaware that his short temper had cost him a fortune. He now earns minimum wage working the night shift… vacuuming floors for a cleaning company.

© Copyright 2023 by Scott A. Gese All Rights Reserved.

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