Ethel dug her parched hands into her purse, shoving aside her green, faux, lizard wallet with its floppy clasp to get a grip on the small envelope beneath it. She pulled this out and leaned toward Margery as she opened the flap, exposing the neatly clipped coupons inside.
“I have one for three dollars off that good coffee in the red can.” The papers stuck together. Ethel dabbed her forefinger on the tip of her tongue and used the dampness to separate them. “See? This one here.” Pulling it out of the envelope she displayed it to Margery.
“I don’t think I got one of those.” Margery opened her own purse, a white, boxy looking bag with hard handles and plastic pearls adorning the exterior. Many were missing, their absence leaving the stained, muslin-like fabric exposed. She removed several items and set them on her lap. No envelope for her, just a thin stack of raggedly torn coupons trapped together with a silver paperclip. Before removing the clip she raised a hand to her head, digging a finger beneath the edge of her gray wig to scratch in a quick motion, like the paw of a vole with a ticklish twitch.
“It was in the Sunday paper,” Ethel said helpfully. Her eyes watched Margery’s finger as it dug at her skin.
“I got the paper.” Margery left her wig a bit worse for the wear along the itchy edge and began laying her coupons out along the wooden arm of the chair separating her from Ethel. She barely flinched when the nurse called her name from the check-in desk.
“The doctor can see you now Mrs. Kline.”
“I didn’t get the coffee coupon though.” Margery stared at Ethel. “I wouldn’t have missed that one.”
Ethel nodded sympathetically and patted her friend’s knobby knee.
“It’s okay, you can have mine.”