Alan

We sell Christmas trees
on an empty lot
rented from a guy who owns
all the land
from the Tampa Bay to
the Gulf of Mexico.

Our tent offers two kinds of trees:
Fraser firs from North Carolina
Noble firs from Oregon.

Shipping from Oregon costs more
resulting in
higher prices for Noble firs.

Someone recently offered our landlord,
Alan, $90,000,000 ninety million dollars
for the majority of his land.
He turned it down
“I know I can get more.”

That’s what he told us.

Alan's about 70
with a hole in his neck
after throat cancer
and spends his Decembers
dawdling around our tree lot
interrupting interactions
with customers.

Today Alan asked if he could take home
some branch clippings. I said sure,
mentioned the Noble branches were already
in the dumpster. Alan responded,
“But those are more valuable, right?”

I stared at him, unsure how to estimate
the values of comparable garbage

Then I watched
statued in disbelief

as the deathbed millionaire
pink-faced panting with an open mouth
dug in the dumpster

rushing armfuls
of more valuable trash
to his car