Lost and Found

Seems like every place has one. You know. Lost and found. Places where missing things, stuff left behind, finds a temporary home in hopes that the rightful owners will return to claim them. Sometimes the rightful owner does return. But lately, more and more often, it’s me.

I drew the short straw in life, but I said to myself, “Jimmy, you shouldn’t be living in this discarded refrigerator box over a grate in this big city while rich people step over you like you don’t even exist.” I wasn’t having it.

Neither my resume nor my address made me employable, so I had to be more clever than those working stiffs, even the rich ones, who go by the rules and never develop any true ingenuity. If I couldn’t pay for stuff, if I couldn’t earn money, I had to find another way.

Lost and found. Free stuff. All around town, just waiting for Jimmy to claim it.

I’ve got some pretty decent clean clothes which was a crucial requirement for my scheme. They were hanging on the outside doorknob of a room at a ritzy hotel. The owner had left them out to be cleaned and pressed overnight. I got there before the owner woke up. Hugo Boss. I look dazzling if I say so myself.

I changed in the restroom and, on the way out, I saw the concierge.

“I checked my bag here in the lobby. I need it now.”

“Yes, sir. I hope you enjoyed your stay. May I have your ticket please?”

“I seem to have misplaced it. Mine is the brown leather carry on. You’ll see it.”

I gave him a stern impatient look.”

“Yes, sir!”

He returned with a bag. A good-looking bag. Filled with stuff, probably good stuff.

The toiletries kit really improved my grooming. I shave closer, use a fine cologne, and my teeth are shiny white. I’ve also got a portfolio full of important looking business papers which makes an excellent prop.

But why stop there?

I continued my acquisitions, and made a real score when I reported that my wallet was missing. Yeah, that was brilliant, don’tcha think? So, I’ve got these IDs, credit cards and a surprisingly large amount of cash. Who carries cash nowadays? I mean, other than me?

So, it turns out I look quite a bit like this guy, Albert Smythe, and I’ve got his IDs and résumé, so I thought, why not apply for a job? It’s steady money. What the heck.

Now I’m Vice President in charge of advertising. I’ve got a bunch of underlings to do the work. All I do is look serious and attend meetings. Incredibly easy. Why doesn’t everybody do this?

But now I’m worried. I’m losing my edge, my wit, my imagination. I’m becoming dull, conventional. I’m not just worried. For the first time ever, I’m scared. Somebody please hold me.