Story A Day: Day 15: For the Greater Good

Prompts

Rewrite your First Person story from Week One

 

For the Greater Good by Sojourner McConnell

 

I have been a banker since graduating High School. I attended Night school while working at the bank to get my degree in Accounting. I was used to sad stories, stories of the downtrodden, the hopeful and the unworthy. It was one of the duties as a personal banker that I did not like. It was a normal day when I had the meeting with Roger Banks. I knew his father well, and I knew more about him that he might imagine. I was sorry to hear that Mr. Oliver Banks, his father and one of my clients, had passed away. I knew that it would be hard on the son as the trust fund would not transfer over to him. I had heard some unsettling news of his sense of entitlement from his own father’s lips. O

liver Banks always felt like he had failed his son by not making him more financially astute. Oliver was always embarrassed by Roger’s belief that he did not have to work hard for anything.
When young Banks showed up at my office this morning I was not surprised. Even thought he had never felt the need to come to me before, I expected him to come find out about his inheritance. I knew he had been given an ample allowance by his father. I had set up the trust fund originally.

 

When I saw young Roger in the lobby, I prepared for begging and pleading to release more funds. I did not relish the thought of explaining to him that he had been basically cut off without a penny.There were details that I was not privy to in the will. Those were not under my scope as personal banker.

 

I welcomed Roger when he was reaching my office. He looked sad, angry and a little bewildered.
He held out his hand and said, “Hello Mr. Conrad, thank you for meeting with me. I believe you were my father’s personal banker?” I shook his outstretched hand as I told him, “I was sorry to hear about your father. He was a good man. We shared a lot of afternoons together going over his finances. Let’s talk in my office.”
We entered my office and I motioned for him to take a seat. “I am sorry to hear of your father’s passing. I enjoyed working with your father. Oliver was a wonderful man.”
He began to speak with a shaky voice. “Thank you for seeing me, I am in need of some advice, and finances. I am here because you did know my father. To be up front and frank with you, Mr. Conrad, I need finances in order to complete his wishes in his will. He wanted me to continue his good work, and I feel compelled to do my best to accomplish his last desire.”
I listened to him and when he slowed, I encouraged him to continue.
He took a breath, his eyes were cast down and his head bent. His tone was quiet but sincere. “My father had a secret life, a part of his life that he never told anyone about. He had been born a twin. His twin was not a hard worker like Dad was. Dad and Uncle Carl were as different as day and night. Carl kept getting in trouble as a teenager and young man. By the time he was twenty five he had been to prison for grand larceny. He was given twenty years. When he got out, he was expected to be reformed and be willing to stay out of trouble.”
When he stopped speaking once again I prompted him to tell me more. I wasn’t sure what this had to do with me, but I was indeed curious. I simple said, “Go ahead, Roger.”
Nodding his head, gathering his thought he did speak again. “There was a problem in this. There was nowhere for him to go. My mother did not want him to come live with us. She didn’t trust him. It was sad, but she believed he would rob us blind. He ended up homeless and on the streets, supplementing his income with petty thefts. As you might have suspected, he was arrested again. Once again there he was spending more time in the local jail until his court date. Months went by and he was calling collect to the house. Occasionally getting through to my dad, most of the time being thwarted by my mother. My Mother never wanted him to be in her world.”
I could see he was nervous. His hands were fidgeting in his lap and his voice was raw with emotion.
“Why I am here meeting with you, is to ask for funds to open this halfway house. Fully funded and supported by a foundation I am to set up anonymously. This was the test my Father has put in place with his will. It states that I do not inherit enough to live on much less support this foundation unless I can find the funds to complete this project. I have come to you, with no credit of my own, to ask you to fund this project with the understanding that once the home is built and opened, I will have all the funds needed to pay the loan and support the foundation. If I am able to secure this loan from you, then many men will be helped. Taught to read, taught to make their resume, balance a checkbook. They will in essence be given an opportunity to thrive after prison.”
I tried to not let him see that his story was affecting me greatly. I kept my hands on my desk as he finished speaking.
“The project must be done anonymously. I am not even sure if they will appreciate me confiding in you, but I am asking you to respect my confidence. But I need this loan desperately. My uncle needs it. He is to be released in one year and that is my deadline on finishing the house.”
When he concluded, I nodded to him showing that I understood what all he had shared with me. I felt honored that he had confided in me and I assured him I would do my best with the board. I asked him to give me one week. I went to the board and without sharing the details of his conversation, I guaranteed his loan personally. I assured the board that they would get their money back if we were to back this project. It took almost three full days, but I was able to persuade them to agree.
On the afternoon of the third day, I called Roger. I could tell he was anxious, I could hear it in his voice and he had picked up on the first ring. When he said his expectant “Hello” I responded.
“Hello Roger, This is Elijah Conrad.” I could hear his breathing heavy and rapid through the phone. I went on eager to tell him the good news. “I hope you realize how much talking I had to do to get your loan approved.” I took a breath and could hear his own intake of breath.
“ I did not tell your story. I assured the board that they would be paid back. I guaranteed that fact to the board. We did it Roger! The loan is approved and the project can start immediately. I have promised you to help you and I hope you realize that means I will never tell your story to anyone, ever!”
I ended the call after a few more moments. I felt that deep satisfaction that comes with doing something for the greater good. I heard from Roger on occasion over the next several months. It was almost one year later. I believe it was eleven months, to be exact, that I received a letter in the mail.
The letter had a sturdiness to it that comes from card stock. I saw there was no return address and I grew very curious. Once I opened the envelope I could see that it was an invitation to a ribbon cutting. A smile began to crawl across my face. I read the words once, then once again.

A Home of New Beginnings
Founded by the Father’s Brother Foundation

A sense of pride came over me. I knew at that moment that I had made a good decision indeed. It was with great happiness that I attended the ribbon cutting of the halfway house that Roger had successfully opened. I knew I would never tell anyone the secrets that Roger had shared. The house would open just in time for his Uncle to be released from prison. I felt confident that with the support of his family, it would be for the last time.

The Daily Prompt 2016: Blackberry Bushes and Applesauce

The Prompt from: The Daily Prompt 2016 by J. C. Cauthon

Blackberry Bushes and Applesauce by Sojourner McConnell

I remember the Summer we went to my Granny’s to live. My brother and I were staying with my neighbor, Mrs. Clarke. We went there everyday during the summer and after school in winter. Will and I played with her little boy, Matthew. We were there, as usual, when the policeman came to the door and told Mrs. Clarke some bad news. It was only after the police left and my Granny came to her house that they told us what had happened. My parents were gone. There had been an accident on their way home from work.

I was scared and confused. I was only 11 years old and Will was only 5. I was always close to my little brother Will, I felt like I was the only one he had left, other than Granny.

We had visited Granny’s farm before as a family. Mom and Dad, Will and I. Now it just didn’t seem right, it wasn’t a vacation. It was to be permanent. I can remember the first night with the crisp line dried sheets on the bed that smelled of sunshine and bleach. It was a smell that made me miss my mom even more.

I was lost in memories of coming here with her to this farm and picking apples. Not just picking them, but going into the kitchen and helping her and Granny make applesauce. Will was just a baby and Mom would place him in the high chair that had been hers as a baby.She would feed him the fresh applesauce, still warm from the stove. I could almost smell the apples in the air as I remembered those moments with my Mom.

Then I closed my eyes and shifted deeper into the sheets and I had another memory. It was the day my Mom and Dad and I left Will with Granny so that we could go out to pick blackberries. The sun was high over heard and I remember my Dad warning me about snakes. I was scared at first to put my hands in to the blackberry bushes, but I finally did. I did it and I was rewarded with blackberry preserves that next morning for breakfast. I was never so scared as I was that day. Listening for snakes and tentatively sticking my hands into those prickly bushes. I remember how proud my Dad was of me.

I felt the tears start to fill my eyes. My Mom and Dad would never be proud of me again, I thought. There would never be moments with applesauce and blackberry bushes ever again. Mainly I cried for Will. He did not have the memories of Blackberry bushes and making applesauce with Mom and Granny,  like I did.

Before I fell asleep, I promised myself that I would make those memories for Will. We would go out tomorrow and pick the ripe red apples from the trees in the pasture and ask Granny to make some applesauce. Then we would make the trip to the shrubby area by the trees and pick blackberries. I would use my most serious grown up voice and warn Will about the snakes. We would make new memories that would go hand in hand with the old ones. I would make sure that Granny and I made Will some wonderful memories to hold onto.

Now we are here at Granny’s once again. This time to say goodbye to her. Will and I sit on the back swing gently pushing off with our feet. Funny how that motion comes without even thinking about it. It is like the muscles know what to do and automatically do it. As we swing, Will and I recall all the times we sat here before watching the sunset in the horizon. We talk about the memories we have growing up here. The main ones we both share have to do with blackberry bushes and applesauce.7c2ea5b5-d896-4710-ab9c-423960bd35cf

 

The Daily Prompt 2016: Faces

The Prompt from: The Daily Prompt 2016 by J. C. Cauthon

Take the following words, and use them in a short story or poem: rule, point, sharp, scrawny, beef

Faces by Sojourner McConnell

My name is Esmeralda, let me get straight to the point. The last time I had beef, I was a preteen.

I decided that as a rule, I would cut all meat and anything with a face, from my diet.

I am against anything where you have to use a sharp object to take the life from a creature.

Maybe a cow is not a creature, but it is not a scrawny little animal to be bullied and tortured this way.

When I became twelve and saw that a cow was used for dinner.

I rebelled.  No meat for me!9f4218f0-8abe-4a0c-aeec-ab9f74ce0317

Story A Day: Day 12: Meeting of the Minds

The Prompt

Write a story with the flawed protagonist

Meeting of the Minds by Sojourner McConnell

Ronald Jackson had always been a man that wanted to be successful. He had attended the local college and was happy to report each semester that he had made the dean’s list. He was proud of his 4.0 grade point average.

Ron, as his friends called him, was popular with people his own age and usually was popular with his Mother’s friends. Until he opened his mouth and blurted out exactly what was on his mind. No matter how inappropriate that thought was. His mother had tried to teach him to keep some thoughts to himself, but it never quite took. Ron did not even realize he did this.

He did not realize it, even after his mother pointed it out to him that he had hurt Joyce Cloverton’s feelings when he saw her in braces for the first time. He had blatantly told  her “You look like a rabbit chewing through its cage!”

When Ron was being social, his parents and friends would cringe when he would blurt out some random idea. They had a lot of opportunities for him to embarrass them. Yet, it never seemed to embarrass him. He always acted as if he were doing someone a favor by speaking out.

Ron walked into the conference room, dressed professionally and looking his best. He noticed a few people already seated at the large oblong oak table. He proceeded to his own chair on the far end. Pouring himself a glass of water he straightened his papers and sat down. Glancing around he saw that there were two new people that he had not seen before. He looked from one to the other trying to figure out why there were new people in the monthly meeting.

“Who are you two and why are you here? His voice was not harsh, but it did come across as brash and simply rude.

The woman in the blue skirt, crisp white shirt and blazer, looked up at him and responded. “ I am Gail Bentley,  your new Marketing Director. She pointed to the man next to her in the white shirt and blue and black striped tie.  This is Brad Singer, your new Financial Director.”

Gail raised one eyebrow at Ronald. ” We haven’t had the chance to meet you face to face. She applied a polite smile to her face and gave him a slight wave. “Hi.”

Ronald looked at her with a shocked expression, “I didn’t hire you. I would have remembered if I had agreed to new Directors!”

Gail looked at him directly, “Surely, you remember sending us an employment packet, Right?” She asked with a little lilt encouraging him to see the humor in this misunderstanding.

He pushed his light colored hair back in a frustrated motion before asking. “What are you two about? I am calling security!”
Ronald reached around and picked up the phone on the edge of the table behind him and pressed several buttons. Gail and Brad could hear the security officer through the phone as he answered and assured their boss that he would be right there, to remove the trespassers.

Ronald Jackson, mumbled in a louder voice than necessary before hanging up, “I will not be made a fool of by these two upstarts.”

Gail and Brad, looked back and forth at each other, quite confused and bewildered. Neither said a word but Gail fidgeted with her badge. Her officially provided badge, she thought. The badge handed to her personally by the head of Security, she remembered. What the heck is going on. Is the President of Manufacturing mental? She asked herself.

Her mind racing in confusion and she felt herself getting a little ticked off. “I am not sure I would have agreed to be come the new Marketing director if I knew that the President of Manufacturing  was insane” she whispered to Brad. He let out a little laugh that he immediately tried to cover with a cough. It didn’t really work that well and he could feel Mr. Jackson’s eyes on him, once again.

Brad spoke quickly trying to defuse the situation that was rapidly escalating. “Sir, I am sure there is no need for security. I have my badge right here, it shows my name and title and a picture too! Would you like to see it? Show him your badge too, Gail.

Gail rolled her eyes and pretended she did not hear Brad. She wasn’t about to show this nincompoop her badge. How dare he act like she was a trespasser. She had been working here almost a full month and was not about to be made to feel like an interloper.

“I’ll just wait for security!” Her tone made Ronald glance back at her with a scowl.

He kept ruffling his short hair with one hand while aggressively tapping his fingers on the desk with his other. He pounded his hand on the desk decidedly and stated.  “I would never hire a woman for the marketing position. Especially a pretty woman. Why, that’s just asking for trouble!”

At the sound of muffled footsteps everyone looked over to the door where Ronald’s brother Jonathan stood.

“Ron! I see you have met our newest employees!” Jonathan nodded to both Brad and Gail before coming in and slapping Ronald on the back. “We were sure lucky to get these two. We had to get a headhunter involved to sweep them up before anyone else could. I can tell you, we had our work cut out for us. But they agreed and now we  just need to make sure they stay happy here. I can count on you, can’t I, Ron?”

Ronald was looking a little green as he sputtered his agreement. “ye ye  yes.” composing himself he added.  “Well Jon, to tell you the truth, I didn’t know we had hired anyone new. Maybe someone should have told me. I may have prematurely , called security. We might need to cancel that call.” Ronald mumbled loud enough to be heard by the entire room, ” I still say someone should have told me.”

Gail looked at him with fire in her eyes. “I did tell you, Mr. Jackson. Remember? Right before you called me a trespasser.” The look she was giving him said that he could play nice or she would tell all.

Ronald decided he would play nice. He gave her a brilliant smile. “That you did. I should have listened. I am sorry. He looked down for a moment then looked up with a gleam in his eyes. “But you didn’t have to be so rude about it. Did you?”

“Look who’s calling the pot black.” Gail blinked that she had actually spoken the words. It was not like her to blurt out thoughts like that. For some reason this man pushed all her buttons and made her behave badly.

Ronald looked back at her bemused face and smiled. “Perhaps you are right. But I did say you were pretty, didn’t I? Surely that counts for something.”

Jonathan cringed when his brother said that out loud.  Is he trying to get us sued? This is incredible, she is as blunt as he is. Does he even notice it?

Jonathan almost laughed at that moment, because he could see the future and it included two outspoken people, working closely together maybe even starting to like one another.

Oh, just wait until he told his mother.

57cc0e2a-3f3a-49df-9c87-65a257cb1e2c

Story A Day: Day 11: Little Matey

The Prompt

Write a story in which the setting is key

 

Little Matey by Sojourner McConnell

The worm, moist, droopy and slick, hung from the hook as I tossed the line back into the green water. The little dollop sound that the hook entering the water made was the only thing breaking the silence. The sky overhead was the most vivid blue with little marshmallow puffs of clouds floating about changing shapes every few minutes. The breeze had the vague scent of lavender wafting across the boat.

I looked at my one man crew on the tiny rowboat and realized that the day was just about perfect. My grandson with his blond hair standing straight up in a little crew cut, was perched on the far end of the boat. In vivid contrast to the river, his bright orange life vest was secured. He looked so frail with that large stuffed vest around his stomach and chest. His eyes darting across the top of the water skimming all around for a fish of any kind. He was a mighty fisherman for a little tyke.

Mica took it upon himself to be in charge of the chest containing the river water and the fish we had already caught. It had been a productive day out here in the great outdoors. As always we kept our eyes pealed for water moccasins and snapping turtles. The rules were that no one dangled any appendages in the murky water. The water had a bit of a fishy smell that kept my nose curling when I caught a whiff. The aroma of fish drowned out the lavender every time.

The sun was warm on our skin and succeeding in making us drowsy with its magical relaxing properties. If someone bottled a warm sunny day, no one would ever have insomnia again. The little rowboat was floating in small circles making bullseye designs on the still top of the water. The only sounds were of bull frogs croaking on the chore and an occasional duck or goose that would fly overhead. The hawks that we could see dotting the sky made no sound at all as they soared high above.

It was days like today that made me happy to have this little guy in my life. Even if it was only for one weekend a summer. It was all worth it.

fishing-1-1

Story A Day: Day 10: Help, Police!

The Prompt

tell a story using the Hansel & Gretel story structure

Help, Police! by Sojourner McConnell

 

civic

Julia was stunned! Her car had been stolen! She had only parked here for a moment while she ran into the bank. Storming around the parking lot she knew she needed to call the police. She also knew that she had left her phone in the console. What a bloody mess.

“I know I locked the car, I always lock my car.” She fumed as she stalked into the bank. Taking a look around she found a window that did not have a huge line and stepped behind the woman with the lime green pant suit. The teller could call the police for her.  They always were so friendly and helpful, they would call for her.

It was only a moment later that her eyes began to water and her throat felt like it was closing on itself. She politely coughed once, twice, then a third time before realizing that she must be allergic to the perfume of the woman standing in front.
Gasping she stepped out of line and while wiping her eyes, Julia got in line behind a tall thin man that did not seem to be wearing any loud offensive cologne. She looked over to the woman in the lime suit and saw that she was already at the teller.

“Darn it” Julia muttered. “This line is not moving at all. I wasn’t even in here this long last time.” Julia became aware of the fact that she was mumbling out loud and people were watching her. She just wanted to crawl away and bundle up in a ball and cry.

She basked in the self pity for a moment then straightened her spine. Julia, in a loud voice proclaimed, “ I need someone to call the police. Now please. My car has been stolen. Does anyone have a cell they will use to call them, please?”

Julia added on the please, even thought it wasn’t in the polite tone she would normally use. It came out as a bit sarcastic and for that she was sorry, but no one was responding to her pleas. As she lifted her hands in aggravation, the tall slim man in front of her pressed a phone in her hand.
“Just dial 911. It is unlocked.”

Oh! Thank you! Thank you! Julia barely had time for the second thank you before the emergency operator answered.

“911, What is your emergency?” The puny voice cried out in her ear and she almost laughed at the man’s voice. He sounded so weak and frail. But she remained straight faced as she reported that her car and her phone had been stolen.

“We will send a unit as soon as one becomes available. What is the address?” She asked in her loud clear voice for the address of this branch, and was met with silence.
The teller that was now available in the other line said, “I only know the P.O. Box, sorry.”

“All I know is that it is the branch on the corner of Main St. and Castille Ave. Surely that is close enough to an address, isn’t it? Julia was starting to feel her face heat up, she knew she was about at her breaking point.

She stepped outside the bank and wandered over to the parking spaces on the side of the building. Sitting on the curb she waited for the police to arrive.

“What kind of car is it?” Julia looked up and there stood the tall slim man from the bank. She wondered for a moment how he looked so cool standing outside in the heat in his suit coat. He reached into his inside pocket and pulled out a narrow wallet, flipped it open and showed her his detective badge.
“I’m Detective James Ralston, sorry I wasn’t able to help more in there. I am on a case and can’t really be much help. But I can put in a word with the officers when they respond. If I have your information.”

“Um ok, sure. That sounds great. It is a Honda civic. Silver with black interior. Do you think that is enough to help?” Julia swung her hands between her knees in a nervous manner waiting for the police to arrive. The detective wandered around while he waited with her.

Detective Ralston said, “Miss, what’s the tag number?”
Julia looked confused for a moment then nodded and told him, “125”
“SMK” Detective Ralston finished for her. Once again Julia looked stunned.

“Yes, exactly! How did you know?”

He pointed over to the adjacent parking lot, where a silver Civic with the license plate 125SMK sat facing away from them. Julia jumped to her feet, raced across the square lot and across the walkway.

“Oh my god, oh my god,” she kept repeating as she ran. Racing into the other oblong lot straight up to her car. The Detective was right beside her, with a smile on his face.
“I take it, this is yours?” Julia nodded at his words, still overcome and almost unable to make coherent sentences.

“How did I miss my car. I mean I walked all over that lot over there.” Julia ran her hands lovingly over the roof of the car before sticking the key into the lock and opening the door.
“I will cancel the call for you. You have a great day, Ma’am.”

Julia looked up at him and stammered, “Th…th thank you! I can see now why you are a detective! You are a miracle worker!”

Detective James Ralston laughed once then shook his head. “Nah, just observant. Glad you got your car back.” He walked back toward the other lot as she climbed into the drivers seat.

Julia cranked the car then grabbed her phone after he walked away.

“Mom, you are not going to believe what just happened to me.”

 

Story A Day: Day 7: Accusations

The Prompt

Write a story containing only dialogue

Accusations by Sojourner McConnell

 

Accusations by Sojourner McConnell

“Where have you been?”

“If it’s any of your business, I have been over at Johnny’s house. “

“Does Mom know you went there?”

“No… Why should I ask Mom? It is only two houses down. I’m not a baby!”

“What are you, stupid? Haven’t you heard the talk?”

“You better not be calling me stupid! What talk?”

“The talk about the murder, it’s been on the news and at school. Don’t you ever pay attention to things going on around you?”

“Are you serious, a murder? Who was murdered? I pay attention, unlike you who only knows about Fingernail polish and Fairies!”

“Miss Callahan, you know old Miss Callahan on the corner, in that spooky old house. And what’s wrong with Fairies?”

“When did this happen? Where was I? You are seriously talking about Miss Callahan. that lives next door to Johnny?”

“Yes, yes I am! They found her Tuesday morning. There were cop cars everywhere. Didn’t you see them?

“No… I didn’t see anything like that. It would have been kind of cool to see that. Why didn’t you tell me? Girls, I swear…”

“It’s not like boys are any better. It was probably a boy… maybe even Johnny that killed Miss Callahan.”

“Johnny wouldn’t kill anyone, it was probably a burglar. I heard she had money hidden in her house.”

“Well if Johnny didn’t kill her, then why didn’t he tell you about the murder? Hmm?

“Yeah! Why didn’t Johnny tell me… Wait a minute; you can’t go blaming Johnny for any old murder. He didn’t do anything!” You’re just jealous that Johnny is my friend and not yours!”

“Jealous? Why would I be jealous? I don’t want no murderer for a friend.”

“He… is…Not…A…Murderer! Stop saying that!”

“You can’t make me. I have heard things”.

“If you don’t stop saying that… I am going to tell Johnny what you are saying and he is going to wallop you. “

“Cause he’s a murderer.”

“He is not a murderer. You better stop saying that. I am telling Mom. MOM! MOM! Where are you? Julie is calling Johnny a murderer! I am not talking to you any more, Julie; you’re the one that’s stupid!”

“I still say he is a murderer. You can’t prove I said anything. Go run to Mom, Luke. You’re a tattletale!”

“MOM… Where are you Mom?”

 

Today was day 7 and I think each day gets a little harder.  Still committed to a Story A Day!  

I hope you enjoy. 

Vicki