Story Time – Tips Appreciated

I’m sharing a short short story with you.  It was a product of a writing course I took and it’s one of my favorites.  I hope you take the time to enjoy!

Tips Appreciated

By Cassie Newell

Scotty left the subway platform in a hurry bundled tightly to his scarf and his Kenneth Cole long wool coat. Putting his hands in his pockets he felt for his gloves, turning the corner he spotted the old bag lady from yesterday, sitting on the concrete against the financial building.

She was wrapped in several layers of clothes that were torn and dirty. There was a ratted top hat in front of her with a sign written in red Advice from Ol’ Jiffy, Tips Appreciated.

Scotty observed the various suits walking briskly past her. He paused when his cell phone buzzed in his pocket, looking at it, his teenage daughter’s smiling face greeted him on the screen. “Good morning sweetheart.”

“Morning Dad. Just reminding you, that I have an orthodontist appointment at two and need you to pick me up from school and take me.”

“Can Mom take you today, I have a couple of afternoon appointments – .”

“Dad, really? She is still off on the island with what’s his name. They don’t come back until next week, and honestly I don’t think she’ll even remember me and dog breath for her new life.”

“Don’t talk about your brother that way.”

The bag lady smiled at Scotty and patted the spot next to her beckoning him to sit. Scotty just shook his head to display his intent.

“Let me text you at lunch and I’ll see what I can do.” Scotty walked toward the bag lady. “Hey, make sure Barrett, a.k.a dog breath, brushes his teeth before school today.”

Giggling, “Sure Dad. Love you.”

“Love you.” Scotty put his phone in his leather shoulder bag and found himself in front of the bag lady.

She patted the spot next to her again, “Come have a seat, I have something to tell ya.”

Scotty stopped to be polite. He looked at his Tag Hauer watch and smiled, “Sorry but I have to get to work for an important meeting, I don’t have time.”

“Spare some change?”

Scotty stepped around her avoiding people walking by “Actually, I don’t have time.” Tapping his watch.

The bag lady pulled her knees to squat herself to stand and caused Scotty to pause at the scene “Oh dear, ya lost time like ya done lost your wife. An island breeze would be nice bout now.”

“Excuse Me?”

Now standing and dusty herself off, “Lost you are, Ol’ Jiffy can see.”

Scotty looked each way to see if she was speaking to someone else.

She came up to him, smelling of BO and gym locker. Smiling with yellow teeth and cracked lips, her kind old eyes stared at him.

“I’m truly sorry, but if I don’t get to work I may be sitting next to you begging for money, I gotta go.”

Pointing her mitten hand with an exposed index finger she waved it at him. “I aint begging, I offer a service! A service you need to heed.”

It was like he was back in fourth grade sitting in front of the principal being scolded.

“You will lose your job today, but you’re lost already.”

Scotty didn’t move.

“This job isn’t who you are. It’s a blessing that it leaves you.” She curtsied to him in her dirty rags as if it was a ball gown.

Stumbling in retort “I’m not losing my job, I was assured my position was safe.” Scotty paused, the bag lady shook her head.

He quickly tried to smooth over her obvious disappointment. “I didn’t mean to offend you.”

She began laughing rather loudly at his comment. “Ol’ Jiffy isn’t offended, but she is right.” Putting her hands on her wide hips in a pose. “Ya job is no more. Can take daughter to the appointment today without issue.”

“How did you know about that?”

Shrugging her shoulders “Just know.” She turned, humming an upbeat tune to herself. How does she know?

Scotty followed her back to the building wall, she sat behind her hat out of the cold wind. Scotty rummaged through his bag and pulled out his only cash, two dollars, and put them in her hat. “I hope your wrong about the job, I have kids to raise.” Reluctantly he turned to leave.

“A job and kids, is two different kinds of things. Be better than what you’ve settled for.”

He looked at his watch, he was officially late and wouldn’t make the meeting on time. What did it matter?

There was no rush now, what’s done was done. It was most likely decided weeks ago. His corrupt boss wouldn’t tell him the truth if he wanted to keep him working in the interim, it made sense he’d lie.

“Thank you Jiffy.” Scotty waved and strolled away.

*         *          *

Thanks for reading my short short story! I hope you enjoyed it.  

All rights for story are held by the author. Please contact for permission for reprint or posting outside of this website.

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