I had so much fun today with my friend, Joy. We packed up our laptops...well, she packed up her laptop and I packed my new Dana and we headed off to Border's Bookstore.
After ordering a couple of chilled lattes, we headed to a quiet table in the back of the store in the section where they keep books on writing. We browsed through one and found a writing prompt that sparked both of our creative juices, then sat down to write.
The prompt was: Write about a five dollar bill that changes hands 5 times, what it was used for and how it changed the lives of those it went to.
Here's Joy's story:
$5 FRED --- A DAY IN THE LIFE…
Hi! I’m Freddie Fumph, a five dollar bill. Ouch! The cashier crumpled me
carelessly into this drawer.
This morning started out like many others --- I was sleeping calmly in the
wallet of an attorney named Nancy. I knew her name because I was right across from the window of her driver’s license. I was to be her morning Latte on the way to work.
She pulled through the drive-through of Seattle’s Best on Broadway and Fourth and placed her order. She promptly moved me into the hand of a blond-haired college junior and confidently said, “Keep the change dear.”
About three hours later, it was time for Kristy to get off work. She traded in
her pocket of change from the morning’s tips and grabbed me. We were off to class. I don’t know what we studied that morning, but we were there until afternoon.
On the way across campus, Kristy pulled me out and stuffed me in her pocket. I thought that she was going to take me to lunch. So did she!
As soon as we left the campus and crossed the street, Kristy was approached
by an unshaven, ill-kept man in a dirty blue suit. He asked if she had any change
she could give him for a meal. She thought a minute and then pulled me out and
handed me to the man in the blue suit. She smiled and said, “Have a good day, sir,” then hummed a tune as she sort of skipped away. I liked her!
The man seemed so thankful for me. He handled me gingerly almost like he
was giving me a massage to put me to sleep. He went into the grocery store down the street and picked up a can of soup, then got a spoon from the deli and kind of fumbled toward the check-out. I could see the eyes of the gentleman to whom I was given. He looked softly at the man, with a clouded look of compassion not at all like the lady behind the man looked. She had a look of utter disgust. I sure hope she doesn’t need a five dollar bill for her change!!!
I lay very still in the cash drawer. It was dark and I was imagining the rough
hands of the blue-suited gentleman massaging me to sleep.
Shift change must have happened sometime in the darkness. Next thing I
knew, I was being handed to a short Hispanic woman as part of her grocery change.
She was very thankful to have me. She had four little kiddos trailing along behind
her sort of like a parade of geese following their mother across the street. She was carrying me tightly in her hand like I was the best thing ever. I felt so very important and treasured. I belonged to a family now. Where would we go tomorrow?
What a day! I recounted my adventures and fell asleep on the dresser where I’d
been placed. It was dark --- I was happy --- life was good!
© 2009 Joy Books 1
And here's mine:
A Day in the Life of a $5.00 Bill
Larry methodically smoothed out the wrinkles in his $5.00 bill. He had been saving it in the secret pocket of his Lone Ranger wallet for sometime, but when he saw the Magic Kit at Mr. Beasley’s House of Fun, he just had to have it. Finally satisfied that it looked perfect, he slid the bill across the counter.
The cashier rolled her eyes and pushed the plastic bag containing his purchase across the counter.
"Here ya go, kid. Have a nice day."
Larry flashed her a big grin, "And you have a simply fabulous day, ma'am!"
He couldn't wait to get home and practice doing magic tricks. He chuckled as he thought about how he would drive his sister crazy wondering how he made things disappear.
In fact, he was so anxious to learn, that he sat down under a tree, opened the package, pulled out the instruction book and began to read about how to make a ball disappear in the magic box.
He had just about mastered the disappearing ball trick when a shadow passed in front of him.
"Whatcha doin', Larry?"
Larry looked up and squinted into the sun.
"Hey, Keri," he said, stashing the instruction book behind his back. He hadn't expected his little sister to show up.
"Oh, nothin' much, Keri," he said.. "Just practicing my magic skills."
"Magic? You can't do Magic," Keri said.
"Sure I can," said Larry, "See this ball? I can make it disappear!"
"Can not," said Keri.
Larry held up the ball. "Look at the ball closely"
He put the ball into the end of the box and waved his hands dramatically over, under and around the box. Then he said the magic words, "Fabulous is as fabulous does, the object is not where it was. Where it has gone, I can not say, but where it is now, it always must stay."
He opened the box and to his dismay, the ball was still in the box.
"Well, it worked in practice," he said, looking up at his sister.
But Keri was no longer standing on the sidewalk. Keri had disappeared!"
Mr. Beasley had already sent his cashier home and was just about to close up shop when the Western Union messenger arrived. He opened the cash register and took out a smooth 5.00 bill, handed it to the messenger for a tip and took the envelope with shaking hands. He had never received a telegram before.
Dear Mr. Beasley: Your great-aunt Mildred has passed. STOP You are her sole beneficiary. STOP Please come immediately. STOP James Wentworth, Esquire.
Bart could barely remember his Great Aunt from the one visit she had made to their home when he was a child, but he did remember his parents talking about the huge fortune she had made in dog food. He thought it quite funny that someone could become rich by selling her recipe for dog food to a big company, but it didn't seem so funny now...it seemed quite wonderful.
He purchased a ticket and boarded the train the next morning, headed for Blackmore. The trip took three days and by the time he stepped down from the train, his legs were shaky. He hired a driver and they headed for Aunt Mildred's estate.
He was shocked when they arrived to find that what he had inherited was not a huge fortune as he had anticipated, but 500 dogs that had been Aunt Mildred's prize possessions.
Ralph slipped the 5.00 bill into his pocket and left the Mr. Beasley’s House of Fun. He was grateful for the tip. Raising 3 kids on a messenger’s salary was not easy. At least he would be able to get lunch today.
He pulled out the next telegram. Mrs. Kristi Barnes, 1034 S. Main Street. You might know his next step would be half-way across town. He decided to stop for a quick lunch.
The hot dogs at Circle K looked a little overcooked again today, but he didn't know anywhere else he could get two dogs, nachos and a Super-Gulp for 5.00.
He paid the clerk with the $5.00 bill Mr. Beasley had given him for a tip.
"Thanks Ralph," said the clerk, "See ya tomorrow!"
“Tomorrow, Delta,” Ralph said with a wave of the hand.
Delta picked up her paperback again and began reading. Getting lost in a romance novel was the perfect way to escape the boredom of a slow day at the convenience store.
"Fabio looked deeply into her smoldering gray eyes, pulled her close and..."
"I'll take 15.00 worth of regular on pump number 3".
Delta looked up from her novel, surprised to see a customer had slipped in unnoticed.
She took the 20.00 from the curly-haired blonde in the crazy rhinestone studded glasses and gave her 5.00 in change, then returned to the arms of Fabio.
Joy took the 5.00 bill and stuffed it into her wallet, more than a little miffed that the clerk had been so impersonal. She hadn't expected fan-fare when she bought gas, but she had expected to at least be acknowledged.
Her cell phone rang just as she pulled out into traffic.
Keri's voice seemed far away and Joy had to strain to here it.
"Mom? I can't stay on the phone, but you must do something for me right away. I can't explain, but it's absolutely necessary for you to stop at the next ATM and deposit exactly 5.00 into your account."
"What? Keri, where are you? Why do I need to do that?" Joy asked.
Keri's voice was fading even more, "Mom, please, just do it" and then she was gone.
Joy shook her head. That girl, sometimes she just didn't make a lot of sense, but then that was what made Keri so fun and lovable.
She spotted a Wells Fargo on the next corner, pulled in and deposited the 5.00 dollars, all the time wondering why.
Retrieving her card and receipt from the machine, she turned and ran smack dab into Keri.
"What in the world are you doing here, Keri? How did you get here? Where have you been?
"Mom, you wouldn't believe me if I told you." Keri said. "Can we just go home? And mom, if Larry wants to show you any magic tricks...don't fall for it!"
(Copyright © 2009 Jan Christiansen. All rights reserved.)
I like Joy's better. Love the point of view being the $5 dollar bill and love the emotions she gives it.
Mine is a bit to long and disjointed, but we had so much fun writing together, I'm going to twist her arm to go again.