Writing Prompt: Day 77

77.jpgDay 77 of 365 Days of Writing Prompts: Your character won the lottery. What does he/she do after the first day.

Erin: When he won the lottery, he thought the news would be his ticket to freedom. But it wasn’t, it was his ticket to isolation. He shut out everyone the days following the win. He was worrying people and starting to lose friendships because of his secrecy. The only thing scarier than loosing those friendships though was word getting out and him loosing even more.

Shannon: I had enough money to buy anything I could possibly long for, but I wanted the first purchase to be significant. Sure, I would eventually use the money to pay off my loans, fix my car, and pay for all the other boring life necessities, but for right now I needed a good memory.

I didn’t want to screw it up, so I did what I always do and started looking up ideas online. Not to copy, but to be inspired. Also, to see if anyone had found a way to cheat the system and turn money into happiness. I found a lot of ecstatic people with their new purchases and some theories on how money can lead to happiness, but I decided to give up my search and go out to stumble upon it on my own.

I ended up going to the beach, which was kind of exciting because if I hadn’t won, I would have been working in an office instead. I was a little afraid to go out in public after being featured in so many top news stories, but out of the few people there no one seemed to recognize me. It was nice. I started out by lying on my towel, letting my body rest to soak in sun and watch the peaceful waves. Soon enough my mind was relaxing too, and for once I wasn’t thinking about what I needed to do next. I was actually living in the moment, and I came to the conclusion that I didn’t have to worry about my “grand” first purchase. It had already been made. I bought my time back, and I couldn’t think of a more valuable choice.

What can money buy your character?

2 thoughts on “Writing Prompt: Day 77

  1. She sat alone at the faded yellow table, with those ugly sunflowers painted on the rotting wood, that she’d always despised. There was a tall vase of freshly-cut alabaster roses that smiled cheerfully on the dismal woman. Spread out across one side of the table was an assortment of pamphlets for various charities that had aided her family in the past, or tried to help them, at least; they were a constant reminder to the woman, hidden in a filing cabinet that remained sorted neatly to avoid any reason to sift through its contents, that no one in her family had been capable of accepting help. But today she gazed at them with nostalgia-tinted glasses.
    Everything in her life had been difficult; bad first marriage to her high school sweetheart-turned-drug-dealer, her mother had fought cancer three times; her older brother was a drug addict since he was kicked out of the house when he was twelve; the stepfather incident; and her younger brother dying in a car accident last year. That wasn’t to say that she had it worse than anyone, oh no. She knew she was luckier, by far, than some of the people around her, but it was easy to feel sorry for her, all the same.
    When she’d been staring at the same brochures for half an hour, she turned to the tea that had been steeping in her thrice-repaired handmade teapot. A few years ago one of the neighbour girls was in need of a model for her art class, some kind of inanimate object that she wasn’t familiar with, and had borrowed one of the woman’s jewelry boxes. In exchange for the muse, against the woman’s wishes since she didn’t want anything in return, the little artist had crafted a stunning aqua teapot that looked fabulous on the shelf. Unfortunately, during one of her brother’s visits, he’d dropped the pot and it shattered into five pieces.
    At the time, it didn’t matter that it was broken, but she had carefully plucked each fragment from the kitchen tile, and had glued them, painstakingly, back together. Though it happened that the pot was dropped twice more, she thought the gold-dyed cracks gave the piece a more rustic quality. At any rate, the whole thing made spectacular tea, and that was all you could reasonably ask for from a teapot.
    With her tea poured in a plain, second-hand cup, she went back to studiously studying the leaflets. For a few moments she continued to scour the grouping for one that stood out; she couldn’t say what she was searching for, only that she’d know it when she saw it. Again, the multitude had her stymied in her decision, so she replaced her teacup on its plate and rose from the ragged table.
    Glancing out her second-floor window, she watched a couple shrouded in scarlet winter jackets strolling down the busy urban street and smiled at their simple joy. From her location she could also see a couple of homeless people who begged at her apartment complex; they knew it was a low-income compound, but no one else would give them the time of day. Across the street was a stray cat that meowed mercilessly at anyone who crossed its path, hissing wildly at the obvious dog-people. The world would continue on, even if her world had come to a complete standstill yesterday.
    Without wasting another minute, the woman strode to the rickety table in front of her door and rummaged through the canvas bag she carried about with her. After finding a small change purse that jingled merrily in her hand, she flipped open the cell phone lying on the second shelf and dialed a familiar number. After a short chat with the manager from her bank she hung up after he assured her, “Yes, the money has been transferred to your second account, ma’am.”

    After a quick stop at the bank, and the staunch assurance that she didn’t need to worry about her savings, she was back on her own street sucking in the polluted air of the busy downtown corridor. Wandering leisurely in her heavy, oversized wool coat that had lasted nearly twenty years of harsh winter months, she finally came upon the beggar couple shivering in the alley across from her house. When she stopped to speak with them, they perked up at the respectful attention. She gently tugged loose an envelope from her bag and passed it to the man, touching his shoulder gently before she continued on her journey.
    Her next stop was the cancer clinic her mother was in; everything in the foyer made her shiver as the cold fingers of death reached toward her. But when she arrived at the counter, and a young woman dressed in bubble gum pink scrubs with a kind, sincere smile on her lips, and she felt more at ease. Speaking to the young woman in a steady tone, she asked about how she could donate anonymously to the center. When the nurse asked if she was certain it was an anonymous contribution, the woman replied she was sure and passed a blank envelope through, turned around and left without another word.
    The woman visited a homeless shelter, food bank, therapist group, a women’s group and an addict’s clinic that afternoon with much the same story. When she was finished and her bag was much lighter, she took a dingy city bus to the pond that always had a flock of ducks. Carefully picking her way along the trail, making sure to avoid the patches of black ice that always formed, she found herself standing before the long pier that thrust out into the middle of the pool.
    Taking tentative steps, she made her way out to the end of the pier in her holey winter boots. Right at the end sat a park bench, bolted down and covered in fresh snow, which she sat down on to admire the view. For a while the woman who won the sixty-million-dollar lottery sat peacefully counting in her head how much she still had to donate. By this time next week, the woman would have just enough saved up for her to live a simple life with simple pleasures, having given the rest away to people she saw as worse-off than herself.

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  2. Created to Write:
    Mikio finishes tucking in six year old Josh and his younger brother August into their twin beds. August is sleepy after his birthday party, where he turned five. Mikio goes to turn off the lamp between the beds, but then Josh asks, “Can you tell us a story?”
    Mikio looks at the eldest of her new sons.
    “Of course,” Mikio says. She sits at the foot of his bed, “What story would you like to hear?”
    “Tell one about Mommy and Daddy,” Josh says.
    “No,” August complains sleepily, “I wanna know ’bout where you work Auntie Miki.”
    “She’s our mommy now, Gus,” Josh reminds.
    “…I know. It’s just…” August looks at Mikio with sad eyes.
    “It’s hard to adjust to, I know,” Mikio sympathizes. It was only two weeks ago since she officially adopted them. “I have an idea. I happen to know a story that involves both your parents, and the dojo.”
    The boys cheer, then settle down to listen.
    “It all started when I met your father…”
    ***
    Robin was working at a dry cleaners, and Mikio walked in with the clothes of the person she was the assistant to. “Hi, how may I help you?” Robin says from behind the counter.
    “These need to be pressed, and this needs to be…” Mikio looks at the bags in her hands, confused, “I’m sorry, I usually have a better memory.”
    Robin looks at the bags, “The instructions seem to be on the bags, so no problem.”
    “How long will it take?” Mikio asks.
    “Oh… about a couple hours, give or take. Do you need to be somewhere?” He asks, hanging up the clothes.
    “Yeah, I have other errands for my boss.” Mikio starts for the door.
    “See you soon then,” Robin calls.
    Mikio went to other stores, and picked up the lattes last as she headed back for the dry cleaning. She walked in just as Robin was finishing folding some clothes. She watches as he uses moves she knows well to put them on a rack behind him. He finishes then turns to the counter. “What?” he asks.
    Mikio asks, “I’m going out on a limb here and asking… do you know martial arts?”
    “Yep. You too?”
    “Yeah, my mother taught me. And my grandfather too, before he died,” Mikio states.
    “Oh, I’m sorry to hear that.”
    “No no, he, umm… it’s been a while.”
    “Though it never gets better.” He sticks a hand over the counter and points to his name tag, “Robin Evert.”
    “Ikeda Mikio,” she responds, shaking his hand.
    “So… I’m guessing, just guessing, that you have some Japanese in your ancestry,” Robin comments, “but if not, feel free to slap me and take the dry cleaning free of charge.”
    Mikio chuckles, “Yes. My grandparents came to the United States. But my parents are both American born, as am I.”
    Robin hands over the finished dry-cleaning, “Martial arts, it’s breathtaking, isn’t it? Not just for self-defense-”
    “But for balance,” Mikio finishes, taking out the money she was told to pay with.
    “Free of charge,” Robin says.
    “My employer would wonder why her dry cleaning wasn’t paid for.”
    “It’ll be paid for. I have a different method of payment,” he says. Mikio stares at him carefully. Robin leans over the counter slightly, whispering, “I haven’t met another martial artist since I moved to New York.”
    “Meaning?” Mikio asks.
    “Wanna meet up some time and spar?” Robin asks, “And if you even think I’m trying something, you have my permission to kick my butt. Which no doubt you can do.”
    “Humility,” Mikio comments, “it suits you.”
    “…Well?” Robin asks.
    “Well…” Mikio looks at her watch, then starts to back up, “I am running late, but I’m free on Wednesday after six.”
    “You know the park down the street?” Robin calls as she’s halfway out the door.
    “See you then!” Mikio calls back, nodding. Then she’s gone.
    ***
    “That’s how you met Daddy?” August asks, now more attentive.
    “Yes. And we both were very skilled in the arts,” Mikio says, remembering when they first sparred. “We talked about our lives and how we got to where we were. Later we talked of where we want to go. Your father was adamant about getting his own dojo someday. He was saving up for one he saw for sale, checking everyday if someone bought it yet. He had two other jobs, spending all his time on the job, or sleeping. But it was for his dream, and that’s all that mattered.
    “And I didn’t know where I was going, but martial arts was what I knew I didn’t want to give up. I pitched in when I could, claiming it was for his birthday, or Christmas, or something else he couldn’t refuse. He eventually asked if I wanted to be partners with the dojo. I agreed, and we worked together.”
    “Were you and Daddy, you know…” Josh pauses before making kissy noises.
    “No,” Mikio laughs, “no. We regarded each other as siblings. He even called me his big sister once. And I took that role with pride. That’s why you called me Auntie Mikio.”
    “…If you were Daddy’s sister, does that mean that Daddy is now our adopted uncle?” August asks. Mikio thinks about that.
    “I don’t think so. He was your father, August. Nothing more.”
    “Keep going! I wanna hear about Mommy!” Josh says.
    “And Daddy doesn’t have the dojo yet, does he?” August asks.
    “No, he doesn’t have the dojo yet. And your mother is coming up soon, Josh. Be patient.”
    ***
    Robin and Mikio worked hard, saving any penny they didn’t need for necessities. They even found a two bedroom apartment to share so they didn’t have to pay for two rents. They took on odd jobs, kept two or three part-time ones each, and saved any gift money from people.
    There were a few times when they saved a couple of their neighbors from mugging, and were rewarded though they both refused the money. But their neighbors know about their savings, and as one old man told them, “People will benefit from a place to learn to protect themselves. This is my way of saying thank you for those that will later.”
    But it still wasn’t enough. The amount needed to buy the dojo was too much for them to get on their own. Mikio saw an advertisement for the lottery. She didn’t consult Robin because he was away for his family’s friend’s wedding. So Mikio took most of the money they saved up, and put it into the lottery.
    When Robin came back, he was furious when he found out. Mikio wanted to wait until he came back before finding out if they won.
    ***
    “Did you?” Josh asks, no longer under the covers.
    “By some miracle, we did,” Mikio says, “we collected the winnings and it was enough to pay for the dojo, and a new apartment closer to it. We cleaned up the dojo and started advertising.”
    ***
    The first day with students, Mikio and Robin were excited. They learned about each of the kids, and all of them were eager to learn. Some parents came some of the days and the two decided to open it up to not just kids, but adults as well. Mikio taught a class with only women in it, while they both taught classes for adults only, children and teens only, and then one for families. Their schedule slowly filled up, and the pay wasn’t great, but it kept them afloat.
    ***
    “And then…” Mikio smiles softly, “we met your mother.”
    ***
    Robin was watching his pupils trickle into the dojo, putting their stuff away and go change into the gi’s. One of the boys had an older woman trailing behind him. Robin walks over, “Dallas, who’s this?”
    “This is my sister. She’s here for spring break, so I wanted to show her what I’ve been doing,” Dallas says. He then leaves to go change.
    “Adelina Mauss,” she offers her hand to him.
    “Sensei Evert,” Robin returns, shaking her hand. Mikio walks over and is introduced as well. When the students come out of the changing room, they line up. Adelina stays on the side of the room. “Would you like to join today’s session?” Robin asks.
    “No thank you, I’ll just watch today,” Adelina says. But how she said it meant that she might join another day.
    ***
    “She came to every class her brother was in. Your father convinced her to go to a woman’s class before she went back to school. I taught her some things, and he happened,” Mikio chuckles, “just happened to be there at the end of the class to see if she liked it. Your mother wasn’t a usually active person, but she did enjoy the class. But she had to go back to school when spring break was over, which wasn’t in New York.”
    “…That isn’t it, is it?” August asks.
    “I thought you didn’t like love and stuff,” Josh teases.
    “I don’t,” August defends, “girls are icky! But… This is Mommy and Daddy.”
    Mikio smiles at him, “No, there is more. Your mother came back in the summer and was looking for a job. She took on a waitress job on the same street as our dojo, and I even offered she could come and help clean up. Your father was unsure if we could pay her, but even when we couldn’t, she still came. Your father started teaching her a few things, and she came to the women’s classes when she was free those days.
    “As your mother was around me, she told us about her writing. It was her passion, and some days she could be found at a café or park just writing away. Your father took an interest, reading the book she had already published. And I knew it couldn’t have been for his lack-of-love for literature.”
    Mikio looks at Josh with teasing eyes.
    “He was in love with the writer herself.”
    Josh awws, while August pretends to puke. Mikio gives him a stern look and he apologizes.
    “He was her cheerleader and accountability partner, keeping her working on it, even when that meant having her sit down with a timer to get words down. And she gave him credit he didn’t think he deserved when her next book was published.”
    “Did she love him back?” Josh asks.
    “I didn’t know at the time, but I still tried to play matchmaker for them.”
    “Did they know that?” August asks.
    “…Your father caught on quickly. But then he worked up the nerve to ask her out. She said no at first, because she had standards that she didn’t want to go against. But your father was open to learning more about her, and was eager to see what held her heart so dearly. And after a few years, she said yes to a date, and then yes again a few years after to marry him.”
    “Then they got us!” Josh chirps.
    “Yes. And they loved you two, more than writing and far more than the dojo. Which I renamed in your father’s honor. Which is why it is called ‘Sensei Robin’s Dojo of Self-Defense’,” Mikio finishes.
    “Does anyone get confused when you aren’t Daddy?” Josh asks.
    “Sometimes, but I always tell them it’s named in his honor, because it was always his dream, not mine.”
    The boys are silent, then Josh asks, “Can we read some of Mommy’s writing later?”
    Mikio helps tuck him in again, “We’ll see, Joshua.”

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