Day 127 of 365 Days of Writing Prompts: Write about a millionaire who looses all of it or a poor person who just gained millions of dollars.
Erin: I was the one investment that Charles refused to let go. One might think that a personal assistant in his financial state was ridiculous. However, without me he would have had so many small expenses I spared that did make me valuable. If there was one thing I did know how to do, it was being cheap.
“Where do you think, we are going,” I questioned as he got ready to turn into the parking lot of his favorite restaurant.
“To eat. I deserve a little treat,” he elaborated.
“Well then let’s go to McDonalds.”
“Micky whody whaty,” he questioned.
“9th street,” I instructed, continuing to give directions until we were parked.
“Do we seat ourselves too,” he asked still upset about the lack of valet.
“We order at the counter. We can instruct them that we will eat here or we can take the food to go. That way we can eat at your place”
“What is a Big Mac,” he started.
“Don’t mind that section of the menu. Let’s focus on the value menu,” I took my hands and turned his head to the section with the best deals. I could see the disbelief in his eyes as he turned slightly to see the prices of the items.
After some grumbling and fussing, he placed an order. He decided to eat there as the smell of the food had no place in his home and before I knew it he was humming with pleasure into a bite. Not shortly after he was asking a woman if she had tasted the French fries which to him “were just divine.”
Shannon: “That’s a crazy story, so they didn’t let you keep anything,” I questioned, taking another pan off the pile to scrub it down. He was working on stacking the rinsed ones for the dishwasher.
“Nothing but the clothes on my back,” he shook his head. “And the first thing you decided to do was steal food from a restaurant?”
“Is it stealing if I’m working for it now? I mean I didn’t dine and dash,” he shrugged, looking pretty proud of himself.
“By taking the food it’s basically a promise you’re going to pay for it with money, not labor, so yeah I’d say it’s sealing,” I corrected him.
“So I’m already a criminal?”
I hummed in thought. “Yeah, but people do what they think they have to when they need to survive. Although I’m surprised someone like you wouldn’t have any friends who could take you in, give you food,” I pointed out.
“I tried that. Apparently I’m not so pleasant. They actually loved seeing me fall on face, so I guess they only hung out with me because I could give them something,” he looked down and started pulling more pans from the water, getting himself soaked in the process. Clearly not used to this work.
“That sucks. I don’t know how much of a jerk you were to them, but fake friends are the worst. They know exactly what they’re doing, and there is something that makes me sick about that,” I scrubbed a little harder on the burnt crumbs I was working on.
“You sound like you’ve dealt with this before,” he seemed surprised.
“You know money is not the only thing people need,” I informed him.
He nodded pressing his lips together. “Oh I know.”
Write about how the rich get poorer and the poor get richer?
One day another human showed up on the three-pm flight, unannounced, uninvited and smelling so strongly of alcohol he might have been entirely made up of the antiseptic stuff. Though no one was there to bury the newcomer in snow, there was a distinct lack of attention from the elves that I could feel like a particularly stubborn draft. I didn’t find out about the arrival until a hush fell upon the workers I happened to be interviewing at the corner of Snowflake Road and Candy Cane Lane. Just like that, the whole North Pole, elves and Santa himself, could have been one elaborate hallucination as everyone fell silent and froze like wax figures, cigarette smoke spiralling wispily from a couple frozen hands. Down the once-grand street stumbled a stout, chubby dwarf of a man, who still managed to retain a few inches of height over the statuesque elves.
As I watched with acute interest, he faltered and fell flat on his round face, drenching his wrinkled grey suit in dirty snow and soot. It was an altogether otherworldly experience from my point of view; the normally hospitable and overly-friendly inhabitants of this strange land diligently ignoring the drunken man on the street. Gratefully, I saw his body twitch and his lungs heave on his heavy frame to draw breath, proving he was still alive, even in his state of stupor. Not a word had been spoken other that his grunts and unintelligible groans, but his face had been contorted into the fires of fuel-drenched rage.
When they were certain he was down for the count, I could feel the figures around me begin to move slightly, as though a stiff breeze were fluttering their immobile muscles. It was slow at first, until the elves I’d been speaking to finished their thoughts aloud, glancing to me for any further questions and taking long drags on peppermint sticks. Stunned at their hive-mind-like reaction to the intoxicated man, and their continued disregard for his unconscious body lying in the middle of the street, I gaped for a moment with icy wind cooling my already-chapped lips. “Okay, what was up with that? Who is that?” I asked quietly.
Their eyes narrowed and for a moment I expected to get an unhelpful, “With what? Who do you mean?” but they exchanged knowing glances and the tallest of the group nodded sadly. With a hat that came up almost to my eyes, he was skinnier than your average elf, but his wide eyes were set deep into a taunt, tanned face. Matching my hushed tone, he whispered, “He was a kid on the Really Nice list.” When he noticed my unasked question he explained with an eye-roll, “The list where Santa hand-delivers your toys when you’ve done amazing things or gone through great tragedy or whatever,” he spoke with condescension I hadn’t heard since I boarded my flight to the North Pole.
“Anyway,” he continued, “he asked Santa for a million dollars so, obviously, he got it. I don’t even remember exactly what he went through or did to get it, but it had to be pretty extraordinary.” A second hush descended and I prepared myself for no more information about this guy, but the tall elf just took in a frosty breath on a mint cigarette and breathed, “He didn’t ask for anything but the money, actually; smart kid. Since then he’s been slowly falling down the Nice lists and, just last week, he arrived on the Naughty list. So the big man took all the money back,” he concluded the take with another infuriating eye-roll.
One of the others, dressed in a soot-smudged lime green number pipped up, “He also took everything he’d made off the million; which was everything. He lost it all by being a really crappy human being.” When I gazed around at the friendly faces, I realized the law of the lists was a real thing to them, and certainly not something you messed with. If the big man put you on a list, you’ve done something special to be put there and deserve either a medal or a cold shoulder. While I could understand and relate to having rules that must be obeyed, and consequences to match, taking a twenty-year-old gift back seemed a little extreme, even for these guys.
There was one other place that Tony wanted to stop by, but he figured it would be better to call first. He dials the number and waits. “Sallow residence.”
“Is this Christopher Sallow?” Tony asks.
“Mr. Sallow, my name is Tony Stark.”
“…I know. Rick told me about you,” Chris says, his tone changed.
Tony swallows, “Yes, well… I’m sorry.” He waits a beat, “I would like to try to do right by her, Mr. Sallow.”
“I heard that you have some very inspiring invention and innovation ideas, but no one would take your ideas because of your rigorous values of production and distribution.”
“That’s right,” he says slowly.
“I’ve been in contact with Daniel Rand, of Rand Enterprises. We’d both like to partner with you to make those ideas a reality. If you are willing, of course.”
There’s silence on the other side of the phone. Tony thinks he’s going to deny the opportunity and prepares to convince him. “Why?”
“…Mr. Sallow, if…” he sighs, “if what I’ve heard from Rick those inventions of yours can change the world for the better. I’d like to help with that, if you would allow me.”
Again, there’s silence, “You know her friends are not happy with you.”
“And I have a black eye to prove it,” Tony quips, “but are you going to decide by your sons emotions, or by what is best for his future?”
“…What are you asking for?”
“Just a meeting. I’d like to see some of your inventions first hand. Mr. Rand will be there, too.”
“Am I allowed to bring someone with?”
“Rick is allowed, yes,” Tony says, reading the man’s mind.
“I can’t promise he won’t retaliate like his friends, but I’ll talk to him.”
“Trust me, Mr. Sallow, I won’t stop him,” Tony says somberly, “Have a good day. I’ll email you the times I’m available.” He hangs up. He touches his eye again. “I’ve more than deserved it…”