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Message on a Dollar 5/30-6/5 : Writing Prompts and Challenges • Page 3 • 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.
dpuro
 

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

Postby dpuro » Sun Jun 04, 2006 12:32 pm

“Thank you.” I grabbed the bag and sidled over to let the women behind me pay while I stuffed the change in my wallet. Words in bold black caught my eye, graffiti over George’s placid green Mona Lisa face: “The rainbow’s pot of gold—www.newlife.com.” Right. I slid the bill in my wallet and headed to work.

At lunchtime I opted for quick and faux-healthy, a foot-long sandwich with lots of veggies to smother the saturated-fatty demons within. I reached for the surfeit of one-dollar bills straining the wallet seams and spotted the words again. Feeling foolish, I put the tainted bill back and handed over the rest. Paradoxically, the wallet felt heavier in my pocket.

I was dog-tired as I pushed my apartment door open and tossed the keys on the kitchen table. I dropped the wallet on the bedside end table then muttered, “Who am I trying to kid?” I pulled out the bill and stared again at the words written in precise marker strokes. Www.newlife.com. No. I’d have to be an idiot. Computer viremia. Identity theft. I tossed it on the table and managed to ignore it until bedtime, when an hour’s worth of insomnia and ten minutes of rationalization found me at the keyboard. I’ll virus check everything.

The website’s index page was slick, with a hearty welcome and magnificent animated rainbow hues morphing into, you guessed it, a pot o’gold. It thanked me for my visit then unceremoniously dumped me from the site. As the disk drive ominously clicked away, I knew. Stupid, stupid, stupid! I desperately punched up the antivirus program, wondering how its autocheck function had so failed me in my hour of need. NO VIRUS DETECTED. I exhaled. I’d used up all my allotted stupidity points for the year.

Lunchtime the next day I decided to use plastic.

“I’m sorry, sir, this card isn’t being authorized.”

“There must be a mistake.” Three new card attempts later I was sweating and exhorting on the phone. As far as the digital world was concerned, I no longer existed.

A week passed and my pants and the bags under my eyes sagged. I looked at the growing pile of letters beginning with “I’m sorry...” and “We are attempting...” and pounded the drywall, causing an indentation only very good credit would ever cure. Anger overcame self-pity and I punched up www.newlife.com. “The page cannot be displayed; the page you are looking for is currently unavailable...”

I had to drag myself to work the next day. At noon I had no appetite. At 3 PM I received the first call that my MasterCard account had been reinstated, paid in full.

“But how...?”

“I don’t know, sir. It’s been paid.”

At 3:25 the two Visa accounts were restored and debt-free. At 4:05 the First National Bank manager called to ask if I’d like any portion of the $2 million disbursed to interest bearing accounts.

And I still have the dollar bill.

Courtpye
 

Message on a Dollar

Postby Courtpye » Mon Jun 05, 2006 1:38 pm

I woefully place my last 100 dollars for the week in the cashier’s hand. How can I be in overdraft again? My checkbook can’t be that off, my only extras are my daily triple-shot lattes. I mean, how much can that possibly add up to?

As I stand in a stupor of self-pity, my thoughts turn to the sight at hand. Underneath the glossy plastic bag lie the promise of a fresh start. Julie has been reeling for a month following a painful break-up. She needs to do something nice for herself. She needs the newest, chicest make-up on the market. Though beautiful, she is starting to neglect herself. I am happy to do it despite my monetary grievances.

After the cashier hands over my remaining meager bills, I exit the store. While counting my cash, I notice a curious 20 staring me in the face. Upon closer inspection, there is writing on its surface.

“To whom ever finds this, fortune is in your future”.

I laugh sarcastically to myself. Yeah, right. This 20 is sure to get me through the week.

I drive up to Julie’s house and peer through the glass of her front door window. Dark. She must be sleeping again. Saddened at the thought of another lonely night on her birthday, I ring the doorbell with present in hand. As Julie drags her way to the door I do something unexpected- I slip the 20 in with her card. After all, she’ll need the pick me-up that only a week’s worth of triple-shot lattes can provide.

She smiles as she opens her gift and I explain what the 20 is for. I don’t mention that the thoughtful message is penned by another clever author. I also hold my tongue at my selfish desire to confess that she holds in her grasp my livlihood for the next seven days. No, I will not be rich after all. Turns out, the hapiness in my dear friend's eyes is my future fortune.

impower
 

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

Postby impower » Wed Jun 07, 2006 8:46 am

Thanks, I am back to my writing self after almost 8 years of creative silence. It feels good to be born again.

User avatar
4thtroika
Sergeant
 
Posts: 231
Joined: Sat Jun 10, 2006 8:09 am
Location: Illinois

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

Postby 4thtroika » Fri Jun 16, 2006 6:53 am

"Hi, welcome to Sam's. Can I help you?"

"Uh-yeah. Is, uh, Trish here?"

"Who?"

"Trish."

"There's no Trish here."

"I didn't think so. I got this dollar in change and it said on it, 'Go to Sam's. Ask for Trish.' And you're the only Sam's in town, so I figured what the heck."

"Huh. Wierd."

"Yeah. Well, as long as I'm here I think I'll order something. Any recommendations?"

"The roast chicken sandwich is good."

"Okay, that'll do."

"Anything on it?"

"Uh, lettuce, dijon mustard, and- could I get a slice of ham on that?"

"Sure, I don't see why not. I never had it with ham and dijon mustard before. We could make that our new sandwich- The Trish."

"Yeah, go to Sam's and ask for Trish! Brilliant!"

JaneStandish
 

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

Postby JaneStandish » Fri Jun 16, 2006 12:20 pm

Hope you don't mind ... I'm a hopeless romantic. :)

----------

"Hi, welcome to Sam's. Can I help you?"

"Uh-yeah. Is, uh, Trish here?"

"Who?"

"Trish."

"There's no Trish here."

"I didn't think so. I got this dollar in change and it said on it, 'Go to Sam's. Ask for Trish.' And you're the only Sam's in town, so I figured what the heck."

"Huh. Weird."

"Yeah. Well, as long as I'm here I think I'll order something. Any recommendations?"

"The roast chicken sandwich is good."

"Okay, that'll do."

"Anything on it?"

"Uh, lettuce, Dijon mustard, and- could I get a slice of ham on that?"

Several minutes passed, and he was about to bite into his sandwich when a pretty young woman stepped to the counter.

“Hello,” she said. “Does Ben work here?”

“No,” said Sam. “No one by that name works here.”

She held up a dollar bill. “I didn’t think so, but I received this in change, and is says, ‘Go to Sam’s. Ask for Ben.'”

He put down his sandwich and held out his dollar bill. “My name’s Ben. The same thing happened to me except I was supposed to ask for Trish.”

“My name’s Trish.”

User avatar
4thtroika
Sergeant
 
Posts: 231
Joined: Sat Jun 10, 2006 8:09 am
Location: Illinois

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

Postby 4thtroika » Tue Jun 20, 2006 1:53 pm


JaneStandish
 

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

Postby JaneStandish » Wed Jun 21, 2006 2:38 pm

Whew!

I was worried I'd gone too far--screwing with someone else's story is bad form.

Jane

RedWriter
 

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

Postby RedWriter » Fri Jun 30, 2006 3:55 pm

Hope I'm not too late with this. I wrote it a few weeks ago, am brand brand new, and just got time to register and post it. RedWriter
Here goes...


The sales associate handed Sarah the change and receipts, then the Nordstrom’s bag with the Escada skirt for her best friend’s 40th birthday.
In the car, Sarah folded the bills in half, presidents facing out, largest outside. That’s when she noticed the writing: Hurting? 660-565-7783. She ran a finger over it as if to read in hidden Braille another message that explained it. Nothing. She put the bills into her wallet.

“I’m home,” Sarah shouted. “What do you say we order in Chinese?”
The only sound above the television was the clicking of claws on tile as her golden retriever ambled to her.
Sarah bent down. “There’s my love bug. Mommy missed you.” She rubbed his ears furiously. “I love you, baby.”
“Did you hear me?” Sarah walked to the sofa that faced the television.
“What?” Her husband looked up.
“Chinese?”
“Sure.” He turned back to the television.
“How was your day?” she asked
“Okay.”
“What’s new?”
“Nothing.”
“Mine was miserable.”
“Hmmm.”
Sarah sighed and went into the bedroom. She lay back on the bed, looking at the ceiling. Without thinking, she pulled the bills out and ran her finger over the message again. Hurting?
Sarah punched the numbers into her cell phone.
“Hello,” a man breathed out the word between wheezes.
For a few seconds, the only sound was the rhythm of his labored breathing.
'This is absurd,' Sarah thought, then, 'either hang up or say something.'
“Who are you?”
“I AM.” Wheeze. Wheeze. Wheeze.
The Biblical reference did not escape Sarah.
“You’re not what I expected, Lord.”
“Look for me and you will find me.”
'Hang up or play along, those are your choices,' she thought.
“How are you hurting, child?”
‘Child. So odd. Yet somehow comforting.'
“I… I… I can’t do this,” Sarah stammered. “This is ridiculous.”
“You are afraid you cannot be forgiven.” Wheeze. Wheeze.
Sarah brought her hand to her mouth as if to stop what had started. She sat up. “How did you know?”
“Do you want to confess?” Wheeze. Wheeze.
“No.” Sarah began to sob. “It’s just… It’s… What am I doing? It… It was our last year of law school. The timing…”
“You are forgiven.”
“What?” Sarah cried, needing to hear it again.
“You are forgiven.” Wheeze. Wheeze. Wheeze. “Go and sin no more.”
The receiver on the other end clicked.

Two months passed before the first call.
“Hello.”
“Hello. Who are you?”
“I AM,” Sarah said.
“Is this a joke?” Sarah could hear fear beneath pain in the young woman’s voice. “I can’t take a joke right now.”
“Look for me and you will find me,” Sarah said calmly, then, “You are afraid.”
The woman cried softly, “I am so scared. I don’t know who…”
“Do not be afraid,” Sarah said. “I will never forsake you nor leave you.”
“I want so much to believe this,” the woman sobbed.
“I tell you the truth,” Sarah said.

KarenRankowitz
General of the Army
 
Posts: 5598
Joined: Thu Mar 09, 2006 10:54 am

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

Postby KarenRankowitz » Fri Jun 30, 2006 4:24 pm


RedWriter
 

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

Postby RedWriter » Sat Jul 01, 2006 9:59 am

Karen,

Thanks so much for the warm welcome. Wow! And the kind words about my writing.

Regarding the adverbs... I didn't really even think about it until you mentioned it. I learned a while ago to try to let the dialog and the action do the 'painting'. However, after you mentioned it, I did go back in and found three: She rubbed the dogs ears furiously. And in the last section there is a softly and a calmly. Thanks for the insight.

I hope to post a story on the villain thread in the next day or two. See you there.

RedWriter

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