Lorre Laughs Last

Samwise found the poster at the bottom of a box of junk at a garage sale. BUY VICTORY BONDS! it demanded. SAVE TO BEAT THE DEVIL. The devil looked worried and had a little pencil mustache. “Holy hell,” said Samwise.

“Oh, hey,” said the old guy running the sale. He was wearing brown cargo shorts that sagged in the back. “That old thing. I’d forgotten we had that. Crazy, isn’t it?”

“It’s in such good shape. How much do you want for it?”

“Well, now, I don’t know.” The old guy sucked at his tatty little beard and looked at Samwise speculatively. “How about… say… fifteen dollars?”

“Done and done!” He gave the old guy three fives and the old guy gave him a long cardboard tube to put the poster in.

“Useta have wrapping paper on that. Wouldn’t let me throw anything away… guess it’s good to have it now, though I wouldn’ta thought we’d get any use out of it.”

“Your wife?”

The old guy laughed, a braying horse’s laugh. “Nah, I’ve never been married. My sister. She died last spring and I’m just now getting around to clearing stuff out.”

“Oh, hey, I’m sorry to hear that.”

“Ah, she was old. Just that age, I guess… listen, you enjoy the poster, hey? I’ve gotta get back.”

Samwise thanked him and scuttled across the lawn to the car, tube tight against his chest. He was going to make such a collage!

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