Random Creative Writing Challenge (Just for fun):
Trace the journey of a five dollar bill through the lives of five different owners. What was exchanged during the transactions? How much (or how little) did the transaction mean to each of the people involved?
I wrote this several years ago.
(Copyright Micheline Harvey)
Jean-Yves walked briskly across the busy intersection, dodging between the random cabs, rummaging through his pocket for his cell phone and looking at his watch. He was running late. Again. This was going to be a huge deal, he couldn’t really afford to piss off the client, not this time, so he thought that a bit of his trademark sweet talk might just fix things. He certainly knew his way around secretaries and receptionists, for so many had fallen prey to his charms. If only he could find his stupid cell phone and dial the client’s number, he was sure he could buy himself another 30 minutes or so.
He finally located the damn thing, wondering why they keep making them so tiny! He did not like the old, clunky, cumbersome cell phones from way back, but he DID like something that had at least some weight in his hand. Something that did not get lost at the bottom of his pockets so easily! As he pulled it out, avoided getting his expensive suit splashed by an impatient driver, cupped his family jewels quickly – just to check – and prepared his most sultry, sweet and low voice to charm the panties off the girl who answered all the incoming calls to MADISON, DRAKE, LLOYD & ASSOCIATES, a folded five dollar bill fell out of his pocket, fluttered out in front of him, swirled up in the whoosh of wind of a passing city bus and blew away, too fast for him to try to catch it.
Oh well, he shrugged, what’s five bucks when you make as much money as I do and are about to close the deal of the decade?
And so Jean-Yves hustled on to his appointment, speaking in hushed, syrupy tones into his teeny tiny high tech cell phone as his five dollar bill made its way down the street.
Giselle hiked the baby up higher on her hip, pulled on her purse strap and tried to untangle the many bags she was hauling with a single hand. She frowned, thinking that she’d only been a few dollars short and was unable to get her husband Steve’s big bag of veggie chips he liked so much. They were struggling a bit since the baby, and since little Trey had been basically her idea, she hated when his diapers, formula and baby food took anything away from Steve. Her husband did not ask for much, and he had not been ready for a baby. He kept telling Giselle that they should wait, just a couple of years, for him to get a raise and her to find a job. Instead, she had stopped taking the pill without telling him and presented Steve with the fait accompli. He had freaked out a little, but had been nothing but supportive throughout her entire pregnancy, taking on extra shifts and doing odd jobs on the weekends in order to be able to get her anything she wanted, or needed.
The baby sneezed, dousing her entire left shoulder with snot and drool and broke out in a curious little giggle, bouncing up and down on her sore hip and stretching out his little hand.
Giselle could not figure out what he was reaching for, until she realized that little Trey had found a five dollar bill, stuck in the branches of a thick shrub!
That’s my baby boy, she thought, smiling. Giselle looked around to see if anyone seemed to be looking for a missing bill and, seeing no one, she slipped it into her bag and headed back to the grocery store to get Steve a bag of his favorite chips.
Kat made a funny face at the baby in the woman’s arms as she bagged her purchase and handed her the change from her five dollar bill. The baby yelled, laughed, vibrated against his mother’s shoulder and let a long strand of bubbly drool fall onto the conveyer belt that led to the cash register. Kat wrinkled her nose as she fished around for the paper towels to wipe it off.
Kat’s period was ten days late. She was NEVER late. She was like fucking clockwork. She zoned out and flashed back to the night of the bonfire and how her boyfriend Luke didn’t have any rubbers. How she had drank one too many beers and felt all loose and lovely and loving. How she let him stick it inside her “just a little”. How she was so sure that he had not pulled out in time like he said he did. She eyed the rolly polly drooly little boy and thought that she was way too young to deal with having a baby. She closed her eyes for a couple of seconds and prayed for her period to start. Just. Please. Start.
The woman pulled Kat out of her reverie by asking her to give her a five dollar bill in exchange for a fistful of loose change she had just discovered at the bottom of her purse. Kat counted out the pennies, dimes and quarters and handed the same fiver she’d just put in the register back to the woman who smiled, picked up her numerous bags, and left, baby bouncing on her hip.
“Here’s the five dollars I’ve owed you forever…” said Giselle, as she put the baby in his playpen and set the bags on the kitchen counter.
“Oh, and I got you your chips.” She smiled, thinking of the luck of finding a wayward five dollar bill AND discovering as much in change in her purse after the transaction. Not only could she get Steve his beloved chips, but she could pay back a pesky little debt that had been nagging her for a couple of weeks. Having no income was a bitch.
Steve took the five dollar bill, smiled and kissed Giselle.
“You can keep this, honey. I don’t expect you to pay me back.” He said, handing it back to her.
“No way. For once I can pay you back. Please, leave me this small pleasure.” Said Giselle, tucking the bill into Steve’s pocket and copping a feel of his butt at the same time.
Joe sat on the corner, bundled up in too many layers of smelly old clothes, his dog Bugger by his side, holding up his empty coffee mug to beg for money. This was a pretty busy corner. He usually made enough money for dog food, McDonald’s and the upkeep of his drinking problem. Some people did not even look at him, other’s tossed in a couple of quarters. Mostly, he got one dollar bills. But sometimes, when he was lucky, some generous soul would fold a fiver into his mug.
Joe sometimes remembered, through an alcoholic haze, the years when he was a successful businessman. When he had a family, a wife and two really good looking kids. When he thought about this, he’d smile, until he started to remember his drinking, and what it made him do. Joe lost his values, lost his wife, lost the respect of his kids, lost his business and ended up on the street. Joe was now only a shadow of his former self. Five dollars would help him feed Bugger. Five dollars would keep him alive one more day…or give him that buzz he craved so much. Joe smiled, revealing two missing front teeth, and held his mug up high.
Standing out in front of the expensive sushi restaurant where he’d just had lunch with the sexy receptionist from MADISON, DRAKE, LLOYD & ASSOCIATES, Jean-Yves glanced over at the homeless wino sitting in a smelly lump and begging for money. He turned his nose up and sneered, in disgust, thinking that he’d NEVER, EVER in a million years give money to people like that. They were pathetic. All they needed was a swift kick in the ass. Although he had more than enough money for several lifetimes, he would never even consider giving them one, red cent.
Little did he know…the folded five dollar bill that was just placed into the beggar’s mug by Steve, as he made his way to work, was the one that flew out of his pocket, that very morning.