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Message on a Dollar 5/30-6/5 : Writing Prompts and Challenges • Page 2 • Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com

Message on a Dollar 5/30-6/5

The editors of Writer's Digest provide a weekly Writing Prompt to get your writing going.
pawookie
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RE: Message on a Dollar 5/30-6/5

Postby pawookie » Thu Jun 01, 2006 5:14 am

While standing in line to by my favorite dark chocolate, I notice on the dollar bill I am holding there is a message. It is dull and hard to read. I exchange the bill with another one in my purse and save this one to read later. Later, I take the bill out to read. I have to hold it up to a light to read it. It is a very interesting message. It says, " Use me to enjoy yourself". I sit and think for a minute and then I know what to do with it. I can take the bill to the bank and deposit it in my savings account. Knowing that this dollar along with my other savings will one day give me the vacation of a lifetime. I could let the dollar grow for a while then use it. Or, I can go back into the stor and buy more of my favorite chocolate. I think for a minute. I go back into the store and buy the chocolate. Why save for later when you can enjoy today.

sunnyone
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RE: Message on a Dollar 5/30-6/5

Postby sunnyone » Thu Jun 01, 2006 10:37 am

Fate… karma… something


“Shirley, you’re are so naïve!” Megan frowned across the table at her best friend—well one of her best friends. She, Shirley and Grace had been a closed, impenetrable friendship of three ever since ninth grade. “First you buy Grace a seventy-five dollar purse for her birthday that you can’t afford and that she’ll probably throw on the floor of her car, and now think you have a free pass to a small fortune? Adventure? Excitement? You’re nuts.”
Shirley squirmed in her seat. “It was fate, karma, something…”
“Something all right. Let me see that bill again,” Megan reached across the table and read the neatly printed message on a ten dollar bill Shirley had received as change when she purchased her birthday present for Grace earlier that afternoon. “For adventure and excitement plus reward meet me at Barney’s Pub-June 7-6:00pm-alone,” she read.
Shirley shifted again. “Well, what harm can it be? It’s a public place. We’ve been there dozens of times.”
“Knowing you, it could very well be ‘harm’ as you put it. You’re too easy going. Don’t do this,” Megan paused. “At least don’t do this without us,” she said, referring to the ‘tried and true’ as they called their faithful threesome.
“It says ‘alone’,” Shirley countered.
“Don’t do it.”
Shirley shrugged her shoulders, took the bill back and slid it into her wallet. “Let’s go. See you tomorrow at the birthday party.”
Megan sighed, reached for the check lying on the table, and said, “My treat. Just don’t do anything dumb.”
At three minutes before six o’clock, Shirley, dressed in her best little black dress cautiously pulled the heavy door open at Barney’s Pub.
Timidly she stood just inside the door, adjusting her eyes to the dim interior. It was too early for the usual noisy crowd to be assembled. Three men on barstools turned in unison to look at her before returning to their drinks.
Kevin, a familiar bartender, tall and handsome, stood behind the bar. “Hi,” he greeted Shirley and motioned her to a seat at the far end of the bar. Without asking, he slid her favorite cocktail in front of her. “Nice to see you…without the other two for once,” he said, his smile lighting up his face. “Glad you came.”
She looked up into his startling blue eyes. “You knew…?
“I get off at six. Thought you might like dinner…”
“But how…?”
“Fate, karma, something…”

403 words

whyte_tiger
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RE: Message on a Dollar 5/30-6/5

Postby whyte_tiger » Thu Jun 01, 2006 12:23 pm

Nice!

StrangerBaird
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RE: Message on a Dollar 5/30-6/5

Postby StrangerBaird » Thu Jun 01, 2006 12:51 pm

Everyone is so clever...I like the "familiar grin" one. HilArious. I wrote this before I read all yours, but how original? I don't know. It's placed somewhere you've probably never been. (Unless my subconscious knows something I don't about 1000 yen bills.)

~~~

Look!!!
This is a charm. Rub between fingers, and when you smell the vanilla, make a wish. Enjoy!

So said the bill. Even as I took it from the cashier whose Hello-Kitty watch seemed an effort at individualization, I had read it, and laughed. But I held onto it. Saty was buzzing, even at 10:15, the Japanese and English elevator announcements peaking and fading as streams of shoppers went about their errands. The 1000 yen bill, scribbled over in English, was curious enough that I was even thinking of keeping it, though it was supposed to get me groceries for the weekend. I took my exquisitely gift-wrapped package, and headed to the door. While wandering past the bookstore, the smell of something sweet and warm, maybe a candle, wafted by. It reminded me of the poetry reading last week at Pat's with the other literary JETs* (precious fewof them). The party for Seline was to be there tonight--if it could only be a little more like that than the hectic, loud gatherings at which the primary occupations seemed swearing and making rude jokes while one had a comprehending audience. I wished Jamie could be there.
This note would be a fun conversation piece, at least. Maybe even in class this afternoon...
I glanced down at it. Bewildered, I began to flip it over, but was interrupted by a familiar deep voice.
"Sarah! I see you'll be at Pat's tonight?"
I looked up and smiled as brilliantly as possible, altering course a little to join Jamie where he was perusing the sparse English section in the bookstore.
"Yup; will you?"
"If I can find a decent present. Think you'll be able to get me that Longfellow?"
"Oh, yes. I should write that down..."
He had a pen in his shirt pocket. I self-consciously jotted the name on the back of my hand and returned it with a smile,
"See you later! Good luck."
"Thanks! Ja neh."
I then turned my eye to the bill. The writing was gone. I internally shrugged (the Japanese don't shrug), and decided to buy groceries after all.

*"Exchange" teachers, native English speakers who work in Japanese public schools.

myfair_98
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RE: Message on a Dollar 5/30-6/5

Postby myfair_98 » Thu Jun 01, 2006 2:04 pm

Wonderful! I really craved an eclair after reading your "Message on a Dollar". I could just imagine the little, desperate pooch - good ending.

debo
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RE: Message on a Dollar 5/30-6/5

Postby debo » Sat Jun 03, 2006 9:11 am

    Here in Byzantine, money really does talk. The guys at HFS (Homeland Financial Security)take their business seriously, and they’ve encrypted every government bill withan interactive chip that monitors every citizen’s spending—and controls it, inthe national interest.

    So when I decided to use some discretionary allowance on a birthday mug for Jamaica, I wasgratified when I handed my cash to the doubting clerk and the bills chimed inchorus, “Approved.”

    And of course when she gave me my change, those little ones echoed, “Approved.”

    Except something didn’t sound right. A wrongnote somewhere. In more than one sense.

    I flipped through the still humming currency and found the dud.

    “Hey!” I held it out to the clerk.

    Before I could say more, the customer behind me barked that I was holding up the queue.

    I edged over to the side, intending to confront the girl when the crowd diminished, butthe line kept lengthening. Not one to cause a scene, I gave up. Flapping the errant bill against my left palm, I strolled out into the mall and found an empty bench. Empty mall benches. One of the advantages, by the way, of the HFSsystem. Less crowded malls now that people—especially kids—can’t spend their money just anyhow.

    I inspected the silent money. “Recreational drugs,”I whispered. No response. “Ten DVDs a month.” Nothing.

    Then I noticed the handwritten message scrawled across George Washington’s visage:

    “The Revolution Starts Now!” then in smallerprint:

    “Silence the snoopers. Express your freedom. FreedomFighters’ Ink slays their chips.”

    FreedomFighters’ Ink? Never heard of it.

    I looked around, suddenly suspicious of surveillance. The few desultory shoppers shuffled resolutely toward their destinations, ignoring me and the artificial trees. No Mall Security in sight. Glassy gazes from the jeans’ store manikins. Cinnamon fragrance from the nearby bunnery.

    FreedomFighters’ Ink?

    I wandered toward the food court, still clutching the revolutionary money. I studied every storefront, every face . . .and nearly knocked over the Middle Eastern girl beside the inter-mall kiosk.

    “Sorry—” I began.

A glimpse of her merchandise stopped me. Banners eulogizing processed foods and frivolous vacations. Sequined t-shirts and ball caps. Paisley-bordered writing paper. And almost at my elbow, gleaming, multicolored bottles labeled “FreedomFighters’ Ink”.

Impulsively, I grabbed a bottle and shoved a wad of money at the girl.

“Unauthorized! Unacceptable!” shrieked the bills.

I stumbled backward, afraid of attracting attention.

She smiled.

“Don’t you have any other money?”

“Well, only this . . . uh, dollar.”

She glanced at the ink scrawl.

“That will do.”

We exchanged money for ink and I went to the nearest bench, throbbing traitors in hand.

Having no nib, I dipped my forefinger into the oddly swirling ink, then pressed it to a bill. The currency emitted a low moan. I smeared ink across the presidential portrait. A few weak gasps. Then silence.

I stared at the bill, feeling like a murderer.

Then I laid out all my cash on the seat beside me and lowered my finger into the ink.


3greenfrogs
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RE: Message on a Dollar 5/30-6/5

Postby 3greenfrogs » Sat Jun 03, 2006 10:34 am

As I glanced down at my bills, I quickly noticed that the one on top said for me to leave the store immediately and without hesitation. I looked up and saw three men dressed in suits with coats come in. One had a walkie-talkie in his hand while I could see the other two had guns tucked away in their coats. I knew this was it. I grabbed my change and slowly started to leave. As I reached the door, more men in coats rushed passed me as I could hear them yelling behind me "Nobody move!". When I got to my car, I saw the cashier, a few more customers and some sales people leaving as well. I reached my friend's house just fine with her present in tow. As I walked in she was watching the news. "What happened?" I asked her. "Well, it blew up, just as planned. You got my present?" "A little bit of it," I replied, "the others should be here soon with the rest of it." Just then, the cashier, a few of the customers and the sales people walked in, one of them with a very large duffel bag. "Whew, that was close," said the cashier. "Happy Birthday!" I said to my friend. "No," she said as she opened the bag to reveal piles upon piles of cash, "Happy Birthday to all of us."

Eironia
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RE: Message on a Dollar 5/30-6/5

Postby Eironia » Sun Jun 04, 2006 8:18 am

Wow, Debo - I loved the concept of money literally talking, and finding a way to silence it!

As for mine, I think it was more an exercise in editing than in writing - chopped the original attempt of 1,027 down to 500 words.  I think I smoothed out all the rough spots - but where mass chopping is done, the result is too often choppy.  C'est la vie!

----------------------- Words in Red --------------------------

Bright lights, bad music, squealing cart wheels and shrilling voices. Ruth wanted out of the inching line, but the conveyer belt and overpriced candy trapped her between customers.

Ruth didn’t do well with people.

Nor with shopping. On the belt under her guarding eye was a plunger, a barometer, and a box of chocolates. Two were presents for the upcoming party; the third, her sweet reward.

Another half-step. She did not do well with people, but this party offered a chance. Ruth bit her bottom lip, watching her hands twist her money. What's that?

Red-inked words crossed the five: "From Willow to Cyprus, follow the signs by the letters - 1,1;2,2;3,3;4,4. Walk the Way for the Answers."

"How're you today? This all?"

Ruth debited instead, then sprinted to her car.

Behind the wheel, she reread it. "Party's on Dogwood. . ."

But -

Already late, she balanced the chance of - maybe a friend, with this tricksome promise, like a clever genie’s.

Without quite deciding, Ruth found herself parking near Verit Way.

She wasn’t good with decisions, either.

Ruth locked the car, double-checking it. Her shoes clicked a staccato rhythm, jumpy as her pulse. "There - 'Road Work Ahead’ - so I take the ‘r’. . ."

Afternoon light slanted down the street. Shadows yawned beneath old storefront awnings, most shops closed, abandoned; windows boarded, graffiti-marked. A cool breeze plucked at her clothing with persuasive fingers.

Most of the poles stood bare; graffiti masked others. Jaw set, Ruth walked on. "CarWash - closed."

Then, by a burnt-out quick-mart - "Reformed Way Bible Church," the white sign declared. Its message board challenged: "Do you believe in fate?"

Head bowed against the rising wind, she continued. R-A-F . . .Raft? Rafe?

A low crack of thunder split open the sky, emptying out rain; the cold torrent lashing Ruth.

"Here!"

Beneath a tattered red awning. Fear in her throat, she stumbled into the haven, squinting.

"What’re you doin’ out here? In rain?"

"Seeking. . .answers," she gasped.

"Here?"

"That’s where the signs are."

"Naw."

"You don’t know what-"

"Sure do. Answers." He limped forward, an honest smile parting the beard, kind eyes laughing. "Or you alone got questions?"

"Well, no –"

"Need instruction books, not street signs." His gaze turned to the rain.

"That’s not . . ."  Hands in pockets, she paused. "Do you believe in fate?"

The man held his hat in a double grip, silently twisting the brim. "Rain’s stopping," he said. "Look –"

"Look," she echoed, withdrew the bill, and dropped it in his hat. "For kindness."

He squinted at the words in red, smiled. "You follow instructions." He thrust a hand into his coat. "Just need the book." He shoved a dog-eared book into her hands and limped from the awning, away, calling back "Follow the words in red!"

Ruth stumbled into the rain-washed evening, turning after him, seeing instead a last sign - "Detour. . ."

* * * * * *

Late, chocolates in hand, Ruth shyly recounted her quest.

"What were the letters?"

"RAFO," she mumbled toward her lap.

The hostess laughed. "What an answer! ‘Read-And-Find-Out'!"

Ruth smiled at her hands. "Answer enough."


goobiesonvenus
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RE: Message on a Dollar 5/30-6/5

Postby goobiesonvenus » Sun Jun 04, 2006 8:40 am

I took the change from the cashier without bothering to look at it. It was my daughter who said, "Mom, what's that?"

"What's what?" I asked as I gathered our bags and walked in the other direction.

"Something was written on that dollar," she returned.

I grabbed the dollar bill from my purse and examined it more closely. Sure enough, someone had scribbled, "go ave h po 312 key register". "That's strange," I said, to myself as much as to my ten-year-old.

"What's it say?" she asked me.

I considered telling her. If I did, the adventurous child would not rest until she knew what was inside. If I didn't, the child would not stop asking me what the note said.

On the other hand...a little adventure would be fun. "We're going to go on a treasure hunt," I told her.

As we pulled up to the post office, she was positively thrilled. She was out of the car and into the building before I had turned off the ignition. "Emily, wait!" I cried, jogging after her.

"I need to get into box number 123," I told the cashier.

"What's your name?"

I told her, and she got a key. "We were waiting for someone to come for this." She went to the box, pushed in the key, and pulled it open.

It was empty.

"This is the post office on Avenue H, isn't it?" I asked.

"Yes. I guess someone got here before you."

goobiesonvenus
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RE: Message on a Dollar 5/30-6/5

Postby goobiesonvenus » Sun Jun 04, 2006 8:44 am


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