Act I:Mike and Jennifer are two Junior High best friends. As they leave for summer break, she gives him a flattened "rail penny" and tells him that it will bring him good luck. She moves away, and he moves on into High school. All through high school, he never goes on a date since no girl can compare to her. He graduates and goes away to college in upstate New York.
Three years later, Mike falls in love with a new girl, Anna. They date for a while, and he invites her to go back home to Santa Cruz, California with him. She accepts, and they make plane reservations. Meanwhile, in New York City, a very busy businesswoman begins making plans to fly to Monterey for a conference. Rather than pay for the extra puddle jump, she elects to rent a car and starts driving, but ends up stuck with a dead car in Santa Cruz.
Mike and his new girlfriend run into Tim, Mike's best friend from high school. Strangely enough, Jennifer is staying in the same hotel. In a comic moment, they manage to accidentally avoid each other repeatedly. Tim, hwowever, sees Jennifer. He says hi to her, but then remembers Anna and tries to keep them from running into each other. Of course, they run into each other anyway.
So, to add a nasty plot twist, they decide to double-date. Mike with Anna, Tim with Jennifer. They have a good time, but when Mike gets back to the apartment, Anna gives him the third degree. Basically, she is jealous that Mike wants to have anything to do with Jennifer. Mike gets mad at her, they fight, and Anna leaves.
Meanwhile, Tim goes back to Jennifer's apartment, where she confesses that she's in love with Mike, and that she always has been. To make matters worse, she makes a comment about Anna, and Tim says that she was "cute", but that he'd never come between his best friend and his best friend's girlfriend. He sinks deeper into depression about the whole thing, and says "if you need me, I'll be in the bar." And leaves.
Tim and Anna get to know each other a little too well, and Mike walks in on them in bed together, half-naked. He stands and stares a moment, shakes his head, and leaves. Devastated, he walks through the park. He looks across and sees Jennifer (or at least someone who looks like her) kissing a guy he doesn't recognize. He sadly pulls out the rail penny. He holds it in his hands for a moment, rubs it, and tosses it away.
Bits of Act II:And so, we find Mike sitting in a bar in California. "And I haven't been back there since," he says to the girl behind the bar. She comforts him a little, and he thanks her, pays for the beer, and leaves. She runs out after him and gives him a flattened piece of metal. It's a "rail penny for your thoughts". Someone gave it to me once. It'll bring you good luck. Every time you hold it, I want you to remember that there's someone who cares about you. It reminds him of the one that Jennifer had given him years before.
But I wouldn't be a good writer if I gave away the plot, so I'll stop with that, and a small hint: think class reunion....