The Perfect Coin
“The Perfect Coin” is one of the outstanding stories of the first biannual International Short Story Contest 2018 written by Kira Chapman, Inspire Charter School, Fresno, USA.
The Perfect Coin
“Clank!” One warm May morning, a lone garden hoe bumped something in the dirt. As Kitty Kauffman stooped to pick up her plunder, however, she had no idea what her find would lead to.
Katherine Kauffman was born in Trenton, New Jersey, on May 17, 2007. Although her given name was Katherine, everyone called her Kitty. With her maple colored hair and blue eyes, Kitty was a unique girl. She was even more unique in her personality. While many other girls of her age still played with dolls, Kitty had outgrown her dolls by the time she was eight. Although her friends loved dressing up in fancy dresses and outfits, Kitty was content to wear a shirt and jeans. Even Kitty and her friends liked different things.
Now, Kitty was a girl of many desires and likings, but most of all she loved animals. Pet sitting and walking dogs was a regular job Kitty performed for her neighbors, and she loved it. But of all the animals she cared for, Kitty loved cats most of all. Her 10th birthday was fast approaching, and she really hoped to get a kitten for her birthday. Although she had asked for one last Christmas and her birthday the year before, her wish had never come true because her parents thought she was too young for the full time responsibility of a pet. And now her birthday was ALMOST HERE!
Another job Kitty enjoyed was gardening. Planting and watching flowers sprout from seedlings and grow to full- sized flowers: well, for her it was like watching a miracle happening. And so that is how she came to be weeding her flower bed four days before her tenth birthday.
Just as Kitty was nearing the end of weeding her flower bed, she heard a faint “clink” right where she was hoeing. Stooping down to pick it up, Kitty gasped. Her eyes bulged to the size of balloons.
What she was holding in her hand was a coin that Kitty had never seen before. She knew it must be special. The coin was a reddish brown color, and Kitty guessed it must have gotten dirty during its period in her rich garden soil. It had a head of someone like a regular dime would have, but as she flipped the coin over to the reverse side, Kitty couldn’t help but feel that something looked strangely different on the back side of the dime from the other dimes she had examined in her pocket change, but she wasn’t sure exactly what looked different.
Kitty carefully leaned her hoe against the side of the house and skipped into the house, proudly showing off her find. After everyone in her family had seen it, Kitty laid the dime on top of her dresser and went back to work.
It wasn’t until she had been working hard for a few minutes that the thought struck her. I know what’s different about this coin. It isn’t a regular dime! Maybe it is a valuable coin that would be worth a lot of money… Kitty’s thoughts trailed off into the distance. How many times had she been told by her friends, siblings, and relatives to not let her imagination run away with her? However, Kitty still thought it would be worth it to check out the dime again. She quickly finished weeding the rest of her flower bed, leaned the hoe against the house in its proper place, and hurried inside.
Kitty stood on tiptoe, trying to search the top of her dresser with her eyes for the dime she had laid on its smooth wood surface only 10 minutes ago. Not locating it in her first search, Kitty’s eyes penetrated almost straight through the dresser, searching for any sign of her coin. Her luck was no better than the first search.
By now Kitty was frantic. If the dime was actually worth a lot of money, it would be terrible to lose it after just finding it earlier that day! She ran her hand over every square inch of her maple-colored dresser, but could not feel any metal shaped like a coin. She pulled over a chair from her desk and climbed up. She moved everything off her dresser and searched more carefully than she had ever searched in her life. The same thing happened--she could locate no sign of her coin.
Finally, Kitty gave up for the time being and sadly began lifting her possessions off her carpeted floor back onto the dresser. As she lifted her glass-button collection jar, a shiny bit of metal caught Kitty’s eye. She barely dared to hope, because it could just be a shiny metal button.
Stepping down from the chair, Kitty fumbled around with the jar lid. It took her a while because she was so excited, but she finally succeeded in unscrewing the slippery lid and pouring the colorful stream of buttons onto the carpet. There, right in the center, was a piece of metal that she knew could absolutely NOT be a button. It was her dime!
“How absent-minded I’ve been!” she laughed. “I put the dime in my button jar instead of on top of the dresser as I thought.”
As Kitty studied the coin intently, it finally hit her. The ‘valuable coin’ she had dreamed of was a mercury dime, and the date was 1921 D! Kitty wasn’t quite sure how much it was worth, but she hoped it would be worth a lot!
“The 1921 D mercury dime… there it is-I don’t believe it! This dime is supposed to be worth from $75 - $80!” Kitty exclaimed, jumping up and down with excitement. She ran to show her parents, who came running as fast as they could when they heard her cries of joy.
“Now Kitty,” her mother said with a smile, “do you want me to hold onto the dime for you so you don’t accidently sew it on a project?”
Kitty laughed at the thought. “Sure, Mom. I’d be glad if you would do that for me.”
“Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday, dear Kitty, Happy birthday to you!” Everyone clapped and cheered. It was Kitty’s 10th birthday!
“And now for your present,” her mother called, heading towards the family’s garage. “Close your eyes, Kitty.”
A couple minutes later, Kitty was told to hold out her hands. She willingly stretched them out in front of her, wondering what sort of present this could be.
“On the count of three,” her father said, “One… two… three! Open your eyes, Kitty!”
When Kitty saw the furry ball cuddling in her arms, she was speechless. It was what she had wanted ever since she saw it in the pet store window. It was a kitten.
“Thank you!” Kitty managed to gasp as the kitten snuggled in her arms. “
You’re welcome, Kitty,” her father answered. “We knew you had really wanted a kitten, and your mother and I decided you were old enough for a pet. I hope you enjoy it!”
“I will,” Kitty promised gratefully.
A week had passed since Kitty’s tenth birthday. Life began to settle into a normal routine as Kitty learned how to care for her new kitten, whom she had named Gracie. One day, Kitty was cleaning up her bedroom when her mom walked in. “Kitty,” she called, “remember the dime you found several days ago? I found it when I was cleaning out my room. Is there anything you want to do with it?”
Kitty realized she had almost forgotten about the dime. “Well, Mom, now that I have a kitten, maybe I will keep the dime to start a coin collection. Some of my friends collect coins, and I think a 1921 D mercury dime would be the perfect coin to start with! Do you think that would be a good idea?”
“That’s a great idea, Kitty,” her mom replied cheerfully. “I think it is the perfect coin.”