“Larry Johnson had been living in an abandoned RV for the past 10 years. Sure, it wasn’t exactly his dream home, but it was still better than nothing. Larry had recently turned 65, so he was considered an old-timer among other people living on the street. He used to be a talented mechanic in his past life, so now he could easily fix any old equipment. He could repair an old clock or repair the spiral in a broken toaster.
The local homeless community knew about Larry’s skills and always brought him all kinds of stuff to fix. Some things even worked better after being repaired by Larry than they did before breaking down. Other homeless people appreciated Larry’s talent very much. Some of them even managed to sell the repaired equipment at flea markets. The homeless people seemed to be fair and honest because whenever they managed to sell something, they gave half of the proceeds to the elderly repairman.
That was Larry’s life. He didn’t think about tomorrow nor did he look back at the past. Of course, deep down, the man dreamed of a very different life, which didn’t involve homeless people and the pungent smell of the city landfill. Unlike the vast majority of the homeless people, Larry couldn’t stand alcohol, and if he did drink a shot or two, it was solely for medicinal purposes. This inspired respect in other homeless people, who all treated Larry very warmly. They found it very reassuring to see a man who didn’t give up after ending up on the street and didn’t lose self-respect but continued to deal with all the hardships life threw at him.
One warm July morning, a homeless man named Frank brought Larry an old TV set he had found in the trash cans. “Here, it’s almost intact, but it’s very old. When this TV was sold, they hadn’t even heard of plasma TV yet,” the man explained and sighed wearily as he put the heavy load down. “So what do you want from me, Frank? I don’t see any point in repairing it, but I can dismantle it for parts. You could probably sell them for a good price at the flea market,” Mr. Johnson gave Frank his expert opinion.
“Well, if you say so, then we have a deal. Please take it apart, and I’ll make it worth your while. I’ll share the proceeds from the sale, and I’ll even get you a bottle of whiskey,” Frank continued. Larry just chuckled in response and gave Frank a thumbs up. The TV was huge and old. In order not to carry around the heavy load, Larry decided to take it apart right there in front of his RV. Having removed the back cover, Mr. Johnson grimaced in displeasure. Apparently, this TV hadn’t been used in a long time, and so all its electronic boards were covered in a dense layer of dust.
Having picked up a soft bristle brush, Larry was about to start cleaning off the dust. However, having taken a closer look, the man saw something in the corner of the TV case. It was some sort of bundle wrapped in cellophane and duct tape. “What is this? Is this someone’s stash or something?” the old man whispered. Having carefully taken the bundle into his hands, Larry immediately felt its pleasant heaviness. Burning with impatience, the man tore open the package, and several gold rings and brooches fell on the floor with a melodious ringing. “Dear God, what a gift of fate!” Larry exclaimed happily.
In addition to the gold jewelry, the bundle contained a thick pack of hundred dollar bills held together with a tight elastic band. The sight of so much money and valuables made Larry’s heart skip a beat. Larry’s head immediately filled with thoughts of how he could best use this money.
Meanwhile, the man decided to keep it all for himself, choosing not to tell Frank about his find. Larry knew that Frank wasn’t exactly honest with him when dividing the proceeds from the sale of the equipment he repaired, keeping most of it and only giving Larry 20% of the amount at best. For the time being, Mr. Johnson preferred to ignore Frank’s tricks and continued to pretend that everything was fine.
Thus, having taken some of the money he found, Larry went to the supermarket to get some food. Being in an excellent mood, the man was humming some song under his breath. Suddenly, he saw a woman in her 60s crying her eyes out on a bench not far away from his RV. Wiping her eyes with a handkerchief every now and then, the stranger desperately tried to get a grip of herself.
“Ma’am, are you all right? Is there anything I can help you with?” Larry asked anxiously. The woman raised her eyes in surprise and looked at the homeless man in front of her. Despite the fact that Larry tried to take care of himself and wash his clothes, his appearance still made his lifestyle painfully obvious. “Thank you, but I don’t think there is anything you can do to help me. My son’s wife unwittingly threw out something very valuable, something that had all my savings hidden in it. Now I lost all the money and valuables I had,” the woman answered with a sob.
The woman’s confession made Larry feel uneasy. Having already guessed what had happened, the elderly man still decided to ask, “Are you talking about a TV set by chance? A really, really old one with the kind of scope like in the 80s?” “Yes, how did you know? Do you know anything about it?” the stranger asked, having stopped crying in an instant. Larry sighed sadly in response and told the woman about his discovery.
“I haven’t had time to spend a dollar of that amount, ma’am. Let’s go; I’ll give you back every last cent. My RV is just a hundred yards away from here,” Larry offered readily. The stranger was happy to oblige, as it turned out later. The name of the owner of the secret stash in the old TV was Miranda Simpson. She lived in a house on Main Street with her son and his young wife. Miranda’s husband died 15 years ago in a terrible car accident. Ever since then, she hadn’t been able to let another man into her life.
Thanks to his extensive life experience, Larry immediately guessed that the relationship between Miranda and her relatives was rather strained. He had a similar experience in his past, but he didn’t feel like going into detail talking to Miranda.
Larry caught himself thinking that he felt very comfortable around the sweet woman who faced so many hardships in her life. Carefully handing the bundle over to Miranda, the elderly man lowered his eyes in embarrassment. Larry felt ashamed that he almost left this sweet woman without her life savings, even though he didn’t exactly know about it.
Then, to the man’s great surprise, Miranda took out several hundred dollar bills from the pack and handed them over, saying, “Please take it. I’m very grateful to you.” Larry’s first thought was to reject the woman’s offer and give the money back, but having looked into Miranda’s eyes, Larry simply nodded his head in agreement.
Thus, by the will of fate, the man had lost the treasure he’d found in the old TV just as unexpectedly as he found it. After saying goodbye to Miranda, he went inside his trailer. At the same time, the elderly man caught himself thinking that he would really like to see her again.
A week flew by; Larry had returned to his usual routine, continuing to repair equipment and earning his living by collecting recyclables. Then, one day, there was a soft knock on the door of his RV. “Who could that be?” Larry muttered rather annoyed. But when he opened the door, he gasped in surprise. Miranda Simpson stood in the doorway with a plastic bag in her hands.
“Here, take this, Larry. It’s for you; I baked it myself,” the woman whispered, feeling rather embarrassed by her own boldness. “Wow, that smells delicious!” Larry exclaimed in delight as he made a loud sniffling sound. “There’s a chicken pie, an apple pie, and a bottle of homemade lemonade in the bag.” Larry couldn’t even remember the last time he had such a delicious dinner.
While the hungry man worked diligently with his jaws, Miranda sat next to him and looked at her friend with undisguised concern. When Larry finally finished his dinner, the woman told him why she came over.
“The thing is, I need your advice. You seem like an experienced man, and you obviously know a lot about things. My son wants to sell my house and then get something cheaper with the proceeds so we won’t have to live together anymore. What do you think about it?” Miranda asked, feeling a bit embarrassed for oversharing.
At this moment, Larry felt like history was repeating itself. “I’d advise you against selling your house. The fact is that ten years ago, I was in exactly the same kind of situation.
My wife Rachel died of cancer, and less than three months after the funeral, my beloved daughter and her fiancé decided to sell my house. I don’t even know who came up with the idea, but just one month later, I ended up on the street. So, I found this trailer, and I’ve been living in it for 10 years now,” Larry said with undisguised regret.
“No, my Kevin isn’t like that. He wouldn’t kick me out on the street,” Miranda exclaimed, but Larry only shook his head in response and recommended for Miranda not to make any rash decisions. Miranda’s face clearly showed that she didn’t really like the old man’s advice. Larry realized that the conversation was hopelessly spoiled.
Trying to hide her disappointment, Miranda said a polite goodbye and left. Larry looked after her with undisguised regret. The elderly man wanted to catch up with Miranda and apologize to her for his harsh answer, but on the other hand, he understood perfectly well that it was only up to Miranda to confirm or refute her own fears.
To Larry’s deep chagrin, Miranda didn’t come to see him the next day. She didn’t show up in a week, and even a month. Every time someone knocked on Larry’s door, he rushed to open it, hoping to see Miranda. And when he finally came to terms with the fact that their relationship was clearly over, the woman did come by, but she had a rather large travel bag with her.
Larry’s surprise knew no bounds. “Well, will you let me spend the night, or should I go sleep on a bench? I’m homeless now,” Miranda said instead of a greeting. As it turned out, a little later, Larry was right, and everything happened exactly as he predicted. Giving in to his wife’s persuasion, Miranda’s son kicked his own mother out of the house and suggested that she find a homeless shelter to stay at.
“Yeah, that’s too bad, but it’s okay. Don’t worry; we’ll figure something out. Settle in,” Larry offered cordially. But Miranda’s response shocked him to the core. “Actually, I only need to stay here for one night, but I’d like to invite you to move to Kentucky with me. I have an old house there, which I inherited from my grandmother. My son and daughter-in-law don’t know about it. Sure, it’s no mansion, but it’s better than an RV. So, what do you say? Will you go to Kentucky with me?” Miranda asked, having plucked up her courage.
Tears welled up in Larry’s eyes; he was ready to follow Miranda to the ends of the earth just to be near her. Having agreed to Miranda’s proposal, Larry never once felt lonely again. Instead, he found the happiness he had only dreamed of for so very long.
After moving to Kentucky, Miranda and Larry started living as a family. They often recall the story of the old TV stash, which marked the starting point of their now beautiful relationship.”