“Strange Fruit” by Mike Meginnis:
In the last summer before he would be a man, Norman bought a Greyhound bus ticket to Florida. He bought it with his last handful of dollars. He had bought the dollars at a two percent loss with hundreds of rolled quarters. The quarters went as far back as 1895, when it was still John Adams’ face on the top side and the edges were smooth. Grandma Anita had built and rolled the collection for him. Norman got them when she died.
The ticket was only good one way. If he was going to come back home, he would have to earn the money in Florida.
The orchard would be his first job. He meant to see if he was made for work. He held Joe Macafee’s last letter open in his fat hands. “I still have one spot open,” said Macafee. “I would’ve preferred a Mexican but after the wall they are in short supply. Bring warm clothing for the cool nights, a blanket, and any kitchenware you need — a bowl, a plate, a knife, and a spoon all come highly recommended. If your mother wants to call you there’s a pay phone at the gas station and you can mail her the number. I hope your legs are strong.”
If he couldn’t hack the orchard Norman planned to kill himself.
Full Story: PANK: Strange Fruit by Mike Meginnis