This was originally published February 27, 2007
This prompt fiction piece was written in a hurry and hasn’t been edited (much). I use prompts to free / speed write – just some warm-up exercises.
You can find a ton of writing prompts at Write Anything. Click over today and write YOUR version!
Writing prompt: While you are volunteering for your favorite charity, a man walks up to your table and hands you $1,000,000 in large bills. He walks away weeping, but never says a word.
Tell his story.
“I hate to tell you this, husband of mine, but you’re going to hell. And I ain’t burnin’ with you, buster.” Mary leaned against the makeshift bar and scanned the crowd. She continued talking, keeping her voice low and even. “You’re a thief, Stan. You were born a thief, you’ve lived your life as a thief and you’ll die a thief.” She leaned in close to his ear, her lips barely grazing his skin. “If you don’t give that money up right now, right this very minute, I’m walking out that door. And you’ll lose the only good thing that’s ever happened to your sorry life.”
Stan heaved a heavy sigh and silently agreed with her. Mary was a difficult woman, but she was right. He loved her and she was good for him. He could feel his entire life of conning people out of their hard-earned cash weighing down on his shoulders. He wanted to change, he just wasn’t sure how to go about it.
Mary stiffened beside him and looked at him in surprise. She had issued the ultimatum because she wanted him to change, their lives to change, but she hadn’t really expected him to agree. The truth was, she would never leave him, she loved him too much. She quickly squashed her astonishment and nodded. “Well okay then.”
“What do you want me to do?”
Do? Mary chewed on her lower lip. She hadn’t thought this far ahead. They were at a charity function. Her kid brother was heavily involved with raising money for some such charity (in truth, she wasn’t even sure what the charity function was this week) and she had agreed to stop by to show her support. She glanced around the room and quickly assessed each person’s personal need by what they were wearing and their body language.
“There.” She nodded toward three women sitting around a table. Two women, both blonde, were leaning toward each other and chatting under their breath. They were drinking what looked like margaritas. The third woman, a small-framed person with hair the color of copper, was quietly watching the auctioneer. She lifted the bottle of water to her unpainted lips every few seconds as if to give her something to do.
“Give the money to that red-headed woman over there.”
Stan stared at her. “Are you crazy? Do you know the hoops I had to jump through to get this stash?”
Mary simply stared at him. Though she hadn’t expected him to go along with her request, now that it was happening, it suddenly became very important to her that he go through with it.
Stan issued another gut-wrenching sigh and nodded. “Fine.” He picked up the briefcase and walked over to the woman. He ignored her shocked look as he placed the case on the table, snapped it open, and began placing $1,000,000 in cash before her. He felt the tears rolling down his face and continued counting.
When he was done, he nodded to the woman (he noted she had one of those sexy beauty marks just to the right of her mouth), and walked away. He did it. He felt strangely … free. He smiled at Mary when he reached her. He leaned in and whispered softly into her ear. “Tonight better be my lucky night after this.”
Mary simply smiled in return.