The one with the Ottoman




it’s pretty customary to have a little rummage around when you first move into an apartment. Next to my bed was an ottoman, and I couldn’t resist the temptation to open it and see if there was anything inside. And I struck gold! Well, mainly coppers and a few quarters. But deciding it was probably the previous tenants’ savings for a rainy day, I pushed the thought to the back of my mind and satisfied myself with the pleasure of the whole thing.

As we were preparing to head out to grab some stuff for dinner, I found another ottoman in the master bedroom. Excited by my previous discovery, I sought my fortunes a second time. Boy was I not prepared for what came next – $420.

This huge roll of cash was just there, in plain sight, staring at me in the face. So many conflicting thoughts were running through my mind. It just so happened that there were seven of us, making it $60 a piece. It was such a dilemma!

On the one hand, the guys in the apartment beforehand left it there, and as it was cash money, no one could really pin it on us, as it could have gone missing anywhere, really. It wasn’t difficult for us to just take it and leave.

However, it was still someone;s cash, I tried placing myself in that position, having kept a stack of cash handy for when I needed it. Perhaps they were tourists, like us, who were sick of carrying their travel money around and thought it a good idea to stash it in the old ottoman. Taking it was also super dishonest, as it would involve having to lie at every turn from then on to save my own skin. Enter the quandary.

Making the decision is theoretically a cakewalk. The obvious answer is to leave the cash. However, on the ground, with your share in your hand, the crystal clear resolve becomes decidedly murky. Leaving the cash does’t mean the person gets back the full amount, in fact, they wouldn’t get it back at all, as someone else in the group would split it out amongst them. It would also mean the weekend’s room would be all but paid for, a large consideration given my financial situation! Thoughts of all the things I could buy raced through my mind, a nice lunch, those S. Perry boat shoes from Journeys, maybe a pair of Roshi’s or Free 5.0s.

I could also have given the money away, that way I wouldn’t have kept it, and it would have gone to a worthier cause than my own indulgence. This avenue still didn’t rid me of the fact that it wasn’t my money.

Looking back on it now, I would like to think thatI wouldn’t have kept the money. That’s the last thing that was going through my mind before I heard that the true owners had called up to claim the wad. The landlord could have botched it, he could have taken a cut himself, but, I guess, the main thing was that it wasn’t, isn’t on my conscience, which would have been a massive killer; the extra sixty bucks would have been nice, but the price was too great.  NY-15


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