Monday Matchup Writing Challenge: Uncashed check, bad movie, Shakespeare

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Write a story featuring an uncashed check, a bad movie, and the word “Shakespeare.”

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4 thoughts on “Monday Matchup Writing Challenge: Uncashed check, bad movie, Shakespeare

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    I had pondered all morning about the things I had found while cleaning out my father’s closet. Dad was in a nursing home recovering from a stroke. My brother, John and I were getting the necessary things together for him to come live with me until he could again take care of himself. At least that’s what we told Dad. He was in his eighties and I worried that he would never go home again.

    As I gathered clothes and shoes, I spotted a suitcase in the back of the closet that I could pack everything in. Blowing the dust off the top, I opened it and was disappointed when I found it filled to the brim. I started to look for something else to use when an old movie poster in the suitcase caught my attention. Santa Claus Conquers the Martians was written in bold letters across the top and a picture of Santa with his arms around two Martian children were looking out of the poster at me. “Look, John”, I said. Do you remember me, you, Mom and Dad going to this movie when we were young?” “I do remember”, said John. “We laughed all the way through it and I remember how you said it was the dumbest movie you had ever seen and how sad Dad looked when you said that”. “Well, at twelve, anything with Santa in it seemed dumb to me,” I said.

    We started rifling through the suitcase. There were other posters and a Santa Claus suit complete with the beard. As we puzzled about this, John spotted a brown envelope at the bottom. In it was a check made out to Dad from Packard Brother’s Studios. It was dated November 14, 1964 and had never been cashed. “Well, what do you make of that?” said John. “We’ll have to ask Dad about it tomorrow.”

    I was getting nervous about approaching Dad about the contents of the suitcase. “You ask him,” I said as I crammed the check into John’s hands. As we walked into the room, I noticed the cross-stitch plaque on his table with his favorite quote from Shakespeare – “Boldness, be my friend”. Mom had made this for him a few months before she passed away.

    When John asked Dad about the suitcase and the check, he laughed. He began telling us in his slightly slurred speech pattern that he had been the star of the movie. It was a flop at the box office and he had been embarrassed by his role in such a bad movie. He never cashed the check because he felt it was his fault that the movie was a flop. We hadn’t known about his acting career – he had kept it a secret from us. “Do you think you could still fit into the Santa suit?” I asked. “The grandchildren would love it”. The thought of it made Dad smile and I knew we would have him with us for quite a while longer.

  3. Ricki

    Natalie made a point to balance her checkbook at least twice a year. She enjoyed the surprises, and thought of her check register as more of a diary than an accounting record. She might have attacked the task more frequently, but seeing that one remaining outstanding check every month just pissed her off.

    Three thousand dollars for Samantha’s rehearsal dinner at the Shakespeare Pub. It had been the one thing that she had asked to do, one little thing to be involved in her daughter’s big day. For three years the funds had sat in limbo. Natalie could not bring herself to reclaim the balance, even though she knew that Eldon would never cash the check, just as Eldon knew that Natalie would never tell Sami.

    Getting caught up in Eldon’s schemes had been ridiculously ignorant on her part, but Natalie had been young and over-the-moon in love. Plus, the money had been pouring in, a tempting elixir to a girl from the wrong side of nowhere. Eldon had pulled off a real estate scheme, selling the same property to numerous investors online, then pulling the plug on the whole thing just before he got caught. Natalie hadn’t known it was a scheme. When Eldon had shown her the papers revealing that everything was in her name, and had told her that it was his proof of how much he loved her, Natalie had lapped it up. The irony of the proof of the extent of Eldon’s love had only recently dawned on her. The authorities had never caught up with Eldon, but if they ever did, all he had to do was blame everything on Natalie.

    On Samantha’s third birthday, Eldon had cleaned out the savings account, cancelled the credit cards, loaded Sami and a pile of toys into the Range Rover and driven back to his boyhood home in Texas, the returning, self-made millionaire and single father. The 23 inch waisted, teased-hair debs had been lined up before the engine cooled.

    Natalie had signed every paper that Eldon’s lawyers had put in front of her: full custody, summer visitation, every other Christmas. For over two decades life had played out like a bad movie, and Eldon still held power over her, like an un-cashed check.


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