This Week’s Best Profile

From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Newspapers aren’t dead! Sorta!):

The shades were drawn against the morning sun, as though Rodney Dukes were trying to block out his doubt about the $1 million bill. The room was dark. It was hard to see the dishes in the sink, the unpaid bills on the table, the gray in his black hair. The TV was muted. The only sound was the occasional beep of a smoke alarm battery dying.

Rodney often thought about the bill while sitting in the darkness of his daughter’s place in the Villa Griffin public housing project. A million dollar note. A life-changing sum in a scrap of paper. A bill he had discovered five months earlier on the street — his ticket out, away from all this.

At first, he was certain the bill was fake. Or stolen. Just another false promise in “this dead-ass, beat-down town.” He hadn’t held a steady job since working as a parking lot attendant six years ago. He and his wife recently lost their house. Now they were staying with his daughter. Rodney, a father of three, was a man close to bottom, a place where even dreaming of escape can feel like too much weight to bear. Better to let it go.

But now he believed. He believed in the possibility of the $1 million bill. He allowed himself to think that luck might be smiling on him at long last, finally, after 51 years, tapping him on his worry-worn shoulders.

You can probably guess how this ends. The commenters certainly weren’t pleased. But it’s eons more interesting than most of the Style/Leisure/Living section drivel you’ll read in a daily paper.

(Via Gangrey)


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