Script Being a frugal man, I went to a thrift store looking for a birthday gift for my girlfriend, Misty. I knew she wouldn’t be happy with anything secondhand, so anything I got her would have to look brand new. As I browsed through a used dictionary that looked new, I scanned the printed rows, and saw that someone used every word already, and my girl would know. Eureka, I thought, I’d write her a brand new poem, but there wasn’t one unused word I could find. Then I glanced through all the books and found an old dictionary with words in it no one used in a hundred years or more. Even though used before, they were archaic, but considered valuable because they were unknown, and that alone made them better than new. I picked it up, and a fan blowing a turbulent breeze, crumbled the used-up English words to a golden dust as the book disintegrated in my hands. “You have to pay me for my destroyed treasure,” the owner said. Displaying modesty and congeniality, I tried to reason with her and used words I wondered if she’d understand, “Imagine the disintegrating words metamorphosing into lexis of their own in a language never before seen. Hybridizing new words and continuing to build solid walls from fragmented script into golden pages of poems, using cellular permutation to assemble a pecuniary wall.” “If that ever happened,” She replied, “They’d be words printed with gold leaf creating poetry with the pages floating on sunbeams.” I realized then she was the woman of my dreams. She didn’t mind secondhand things and could see the beauty they contained. She was older than I. Maybe by fifty years, but that didn’t matter to me. What counted was that she appreciated second-hand more than I. “Would you have dinner with me?” I opened the doggie bag I carried with the remains of my lunch I had saved for dinner and showed her I had half of a 12 inch subway sandwich and a bag of chips. “Looks yummy.” She got a knife from an old case and severed the bread in two. Then she turned on the heater and made tea. We sat at the dining room table and shared our views on the world, the economy, and the logic of buying second hand. Our conversation turned to relationships and love. I told her how my girl disdained anything used. “Oh my God,” she said, “What a moron she is. How can a smart man like you be with a girl like that?” “Well, she’s got a great shape and she’s good looking, that’s for sure, and sex with her is unparalleled.” “Young man, I may be older than you, but I’m telling you that even though used, once you turn out the lights, you’ll find sex better with me than you ever will with her.” We went upstairs into a dark room where there was a Queen Ann bed, and undressed in the dark and then made love for over an hour. When we finished, I agreed that being with her was better than being with my girl. I watched the old woman dress and saw the labels still on the clothes she wore meant she’d be putting them back on the rack to sell. She was really my kind of girl. I asked her to marry me then and there. “Today is my girlfriend’s birthday, so I don’t want to spoil her day by telling her I’ve fallen in love with someone else. I’ll keep my date with her and tomorrow I’ll break her heart.” “As long as you don’t wait too long. You know I’m always looking for a deal, and a better bargain may come along before we tie the knot.” I wasn’t worried; No one married her in all these years, and I didn’t think it likely to happen now. I went out with my girl and had to have sex because it was her birthday. When we finished she said, “Joe, I’ve got to tell you, I’ve met somebody new, and he would never think of giving me a secondhand gift as you have.” “But but, the gift I gave you is a genuine antique.” I had found a beautiful old lamp in the second-hand store and it was a deal I couldn’t resist. “You know I grew up on hand-me-downs and from now on I want only new.” She made it easy for me. “Okay,” I said. “If you feel that way, I’ll find another.” “I’m so happy you’re not angry.” A month went by, and she asked, “Will you come to our wedding?” My feelings got hurt because she already planned on marrying another, but I knew my life would be better with a woman who was as frugal as I. I married Helga, owner of the second-hand store. I quit my job and worked there instead. I came to know the frequent customers well. An older man who often came to the store told me he wanted a wedding gift. I showed him used jewelry, used furniture, and even some used sex toys. Helga and I got along fine until one day I saw her naked body in the light. I closed my eyes and remembered how good she felt lying in bed, but I couldn’t drive the sight of a sagging body from my mind, even when I turned out the lights. Things weren’t going so well when Misty’s wedding day came. When I saw her walking down the aisle, I regretted my thrifty ways and wished I would have spent enough to keep her. When the groom appeared, I immediately recognized the old man who had been searching for a wedding present. I watched as he slipped the reconditioned, second-hand wedding band on her finger that he had bought from me the day before. The end