Every month, The Sun Magazine does something called Readers Write. The magazine provides a prompt, and then readers submit a short little story based on that prompt. It has to be true. This month's prompt is "Making it Last," and I wrote this:
By all accounts, my Aunt Shirley's husband Jimmy was a handsome man - tall and half Czechoslovakian with a smile that usually could make women forget he'd done any wrong. He was also frugal, and he knew enough of the world to know a good deal didn't linger for long. So it was one day in 1970 when he ambled up to the grocery store in Krotz Springs, Louisiana, and saw that salt had gone on sale. Five cents a box - well that was too good to pass up. He spent that whole week's budget on salt. There must be years' worth here, my aunt thought as she helped unload the groceries. How does he expect me to make dinner for him and the three boys out of nothing but a bunch of salt?
For a while, the family thought they'd never run out. When the shaker emptied, Shirley would paw through the cupboard and produce another box. They carried it across state lines when they moved to Yazoo City, Mississippi, then back to Louisiana. Then, when Shirley and Jimmy divorced a couple of years later - half on account of his stinginess, I should add - she somehow inherited the salt.
Shirley stayed single for a few years, but eventually she remarried a man from the local police force. George thought she was a little crazy when he first saw all the stored salt, but he grew to like not having to buy it. They had been married 24 years when George shook the last few crystals out of the salt shaker. Shirley hopped up to fetch another box. She looked in the cupboard then looked back at George, slightly dismayed.
"What is it?" George asked.
After 39 years, Shirley had run out of salt.