Diving for Dollars

Everybody has a favorite uncle. Mine was Uncle Harry. He and Aunt Elsie couldn’t have children of their own, so he showered his nieces and nephews with extra attention. Their house was within walking distance of the city dump. In those days, the gate was wide open and you could go in and dig around in other people’s trash to your heart’s content.

Uncle Harry would always save me little treasures from the dump. It was mainly pocket watches that didn’t work and other shiny objects that would only a packrat would love, but still, it meant a lot that he thought enough of me to carry that junk home and save it for my next visit.

If you’re new to Friday Flash Fiction, the leader of this clan of wild and rambunctious misfits is Jeannie C. Riley Wisoff-Fields. If you’d like to participate in this exercise in madness, head over to her blog for step-by-step instructions. To view the FFF Hollywood Squares Authors Block click here.

copyright - Douglas MacIlroy
copyright – Douglas MacIlroy

Dear diary,

Uncle Doug stayed with us today while Mommy and Daddy went to Parent Teacher conference. He took me and Sissy on a treasure hunt.

“You gotta dive deep if you wanna get the good stuff,” says Uncle Doug. Then, he put on a big helmet and told us to pull all the cushions off the couch. Then, he dove in with nothing but his feet sticking out. Sissy got scared.

He came out with a fist full of coins and a black disk he calls a 45. Next week, he’s taking us to the dumpster behind Toys R Us.

I love Uncle Doug!


I usually don’t read other’s stories before I write mine, but this week I made an exception.  The idea for this story was already in my head, but was sent spinning down a different path, influenced by what I read at the other site.

Now, I know you’re just dying to hear what was on that 45 Uncle Doug found in the couch. Well, here it is;


36 Comments on “Diving for Dollars

  1. Dear Uncle Monty,

    And even if the kid knew what a 45 was, what would he play it on? Dumpster diving with Uncle Doug sounds like fun. I wonder if Mommy and Daddy went to the same parent teacher conference my kid’s mommy went to.
    Fun story.




    • After reading yours, I couldn’t help but drop that parent teacher stuff in. Thanks for the nice set-up. I hope Uncle Doug stops by to read this one 🙂


  2. Ha ha. So funny! This reminds me of all the change we could find in the couch as kids. That was like finding hidden treasure!


    • Yes, I could have easily written 200 words and not mentioned everything he found in that couch. Anyone who has ever been ‘couch diving” can relate.


  3. I do have an Uncle Doug, although he’s never brought us dumpster diving before. 🙂 This is similar to what I would do when I was little and living on the coast, just walk along the beach and pick up whatever treasures I could find. Did you bring a gun to the dump for the rats? We just had seagulls.


    • Nah, sometimes the rats and I would play tug of war if we found a particularly shiny treasure, but most of the time we got along fine.


  4. That was great! I bet the dumpster behind Toys R Us would have some great stuff. 🙂 I have a book on how to save money and it has directions on dumpster diving. It warns the reader not to get caught as I think there’s a law against it these days. I don’t know if anyone’s ever been arrested for it. Some places I’d be very afraid what I’d find in there. 😦
    Hilarious as usual and I enjoyed the music. 🙂


    • I don’t know if it’s illegal or not, but a lot of snooty people frown on the practice. Glad you enjoyed it, Patricia.


  5. Russell, oh Russell. Thou art a master of decorum and anything that should be considered “Good Manners”. Your story is uplifting and will probably be responsible for saving many young families from starving to death, or raised without any 45’s or for that manner, know what a 45 is. Personally, I think Dumpster Diving should be an Olympic Sport and yet, each year, people shun it and call people who participate in this enjoyable and uplifting pastime ugly names like ‘hillbilly’ or ‘low-life’. Oh Master, it was a marvelous story indeed! Thank you for writing! Nan 🙂


    • Hmm . . . an Olympic sport with people from around the world competing. They would start training as small children and grow up to see their face on a box of Wheaties.


  6. As kids our father used to take us to the dump over the hill. We always found great things: an old washing machine on wheels my brother flew down the hill in to my mother horror, a cache of raunchy love letter from some family friends. Every child needs someone like Uncle Doug. Love your story, Russell. Thank you for bringing up those great memories.


    • Did you get some good ideas for a romance novel?
      Thank you for a wonderful comment. It brought back memories for me too.


  7. Dumpster diving for “stuff” is one thing but I’ve read of groups of people who get together and look for food that way and not because they’re starving. Not for me. Love your story, Russ, and I’ve found interesting and sometimes useful things in the cracks of sofas and similar places. I prefer my dumpster diving to be the sissy suburban kind where you take things from the tree lawn. 🙂

    Happy Easter!



  8. Following a late night of carousing, my friend, Milton, returned home and inhaled a Little Debbie Snack Cake before passing out, He woke horrified. He feared that he also ate the wrapper. He called me in a panic. He couldn’t find that wrapper anywhere. Although he has the intestinal fortitude of a goat, I suggested he recliner-dive (he doesn’t have a couch). Sure enough, he found it tucked in a corner of his La-Z-Boy along with a fossilized Chicken McNugget. Good thing he is not an uncle like Doug. The youngsters in his life would feel stiffed.


    • That’s funny. I bit into a sandwich recently only to discover that a piece of that paper they put between cheese slices to keep them from sticking together was stuck to one side of the cheese. Damn, that thing was chewy.


      • If that happened here in New York, I am sure someone would sue someone just to settle out of court to collect a free grand or two.Of course, if you made your own sandwich, I suppose you could sue yourself and settle for two copies of your magnum opus. Make sure that they’re both autographed!


  9. i like buying vintage fashion items from thrift stores. i wish it can all be free. 🙂 reminds me of the days too when i’d find change in the cracks of sofas 🙂


    • You need a pair of Uncle Doug approved gloves, Sandra. He could start quite a business selling couch diving tools and accessories.


    • I’m sure we have some petrified peanuts, crushed cookie crumbs, and corn chips from the 2004 Super Bowl party still down in there.


  10. When I was a kid, my Aunt Alice took me and my three sisters to the dump in Loveland, CO. My mother was appalled by the stuff we brought home. It became a specialty of the neighborhood kids, this thing called “looking in other people’s trash”. One day I found an entire box of Box Cars. SCORE!!! (acquired many jealous friends afterwards.) Now my mother dumpster dives almost every day. She’ll call and say, “Oh, Lish, guess what I found in the trash today.” She has become a 90 year old kid. Thanks for the reminder of good times.


  11. Boy, did you reach into the past for that one! I have to say that’s one song from the past whose existence I actually completely had forgotten of, although Jennie C is a lot cuter than I remember. But how much hairspray did it take for each performance and how much damage was done to the Ozone layer?


  12. What dive your Uncle Doug treated you to Russel 😉 A fun read 🙂 In my house if one did a couch dive,some dust mites and a few mosquitoes may be the only gain 😦 And God forbid if one takes to dumpster diving here in India-not unless you are ready to be covered with rotten vegetable peels and such stuff-yuck!


  13. Dumpster diving sounds like aprofitable pursuit and your uncles, both real and imaginary, sound like they know exactly how kids get their kicks. Great story, well told.


  14. That was a clever coordination with the P.T.A. song and where the kid’s parents disappeared to! This was an exciting read and made me wish I had an Uncle Doug! It’s awesome when grown-ups can contribute to the wild imagination of children. I’m really interested in reading what they might find in the dumpster!!!


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