For Lack of a Hero

Jessica Shubert

Pigeons scattered as the gentleman with the tailored suit walked up to where the woman sat on a flattened Coke box, plucking a banjo.  A nickel or dime would drop into a cap crumpled on the sidewalk occasionally.

“You’re six cents out of tune, my dear,” the gentleman said.

“And sixty cents short of a sandwich,” she replied without stopping.

He glanced around, sniffed, and left.

When he returned, he set the sleek case down and opened it, smiling self-consciously.  She shifted for him to join her, cross-legged on the cardboard stage.  The banjo led and the violin played along.