Got another super rough draft to look at. Don’t really know what to feel about this one, but it came down to the wire and this was what happened. Any comments, suggestions, or even just reactions you can post up in the comments.
Short description – About a man who wins the lottery, but loses himself and his loved ones.
I couldn’t sleep. The possibilities of 293 million dollars swirled around my semi unconscious mind to the point of annoyance. Half dreams of half formed plans melted in and out of my vision. I tried focusing on a white field with a black dot in the center, except the black dot kept turning into a yellow rectangle filled with numbers.
I tried flexing one butt cheek then the other until the motion lulled my brain asleep. Didn’t work either. The white field of my last sleep technic stayed, but with each butt cheek flex, a bird shaped fantasy soared down and peck at my now exposed, pink brain matter.
Since butt flexing was not working, I tried to focus on these fantasy birds. Each one was marked with specific details. A small yellow bird had, traveling someplace warm, patterned into its feathers. A blue bird had white Apple logos as spots, this bird landed on my foot, inspecting the new hair that was growing on my big toe. A swarm of birds that hovered over my head, patterned after the rainbow, had the word Skittles branded into their wings.
One thought, a pleasing background noise to all this odd bird chatter and restlessness, was the sure feeling that this drawing would be different.
I didn’t have a dollar bill at the time I bought the tickets at the Chevron, just a crisp $5. It was one of the new ones that had slight purple coloring to it. My hand slid the bill over to the cashier, my mind trying to decide if purple was a good choice for money.
Keylee would be mad. Her college grocery skills equating that new $5 bill into 3 packs of bagels and a thing of cream cheese. Enough breakfast for nine days. Toast and butter was fine with me.
There was no toast and butter bird pecking at my mind thought. It was far from my mind. I didn’t need to worry about that, birds representing all you can eat breakfast buffet items, piles of breakfast meats, fluffy breakfast sweets, and unlimited chocolate milk, came flying in to gorge on the exposed pink stuff.
Keylee’s slight form moved beside me, tearing my thoughts away from the birds. Her light brown hair brushing my bare arm. She was so tough. No more worries. What a powerful thought. Twisting over and dragging Keylee’s on sale heavy maroon blanket along for padding, I formed up against her. The warmth when her body was against mine was always comforting, she would understand the loss of the bagels, she had to, I was doing it for us.
This time was different. I just couldn’t shake the feeling.
“How much do you want?” I said with a smile, a knife at my face. Was it one of the steak knifes from the diner? Gregger’s was famous for their 72 ounce steaks, so the knifes were probably sharper than most. It looked to have a solid oak handle, essential if Gregger’s wanted the knife to last the rough and rowdy customers it served.
“Enough to drink my way out of this town,” said the stranger holding the knife above my chest.
“Was that from a cheesy cowboy movie?” I couldn’t help but smile. Some of the Midwestern states had a weird way of treating their tourist, especially ones with a little money.
“No, are you going to give it to me or am I going to rough it out of you?”
“Do I have a choice?” I had to be patient, threats could turn into action. This was my third robbery of the trip. The plan for this trip was simple enough, follow the Man vs. Food tour around the states, in a better equip set of vans of course, hitting any other attractions that caught my eye on the way. Nothing with money behind it ever seemed to be simple.
“No, my friend made sure your large friends were locked away.”
“I have a pre loaded Visa, $5000. Is that enough to drink your way out f this town?” My hand started the journey down to the right sided jean pocket before I had completed the sentence. I don’t know how the Man vs. Food crews made it out of some of these smaller towns without the bribing. Probably the cameras. I wonder if that would make these food challenges easier to complete?
“That should get us out of here, not as far as I like, but I think your friends are about to break down the door.”
“They worry about me is all. Salute!” He took the blue Visa card, whistled for his friend and took off. Getting out of the red pleather diner’s booth, my eyes met the waitress. The slightly stereotypical blond, who must have been oblivious to the situation I just went through, stared at me with maybe some slight curiosity in her eye.
My imitation roughed up jeans, red polo shirt, and sandals never got too much attention from women, but I smiled as I walked back to the bathroom area where Owens and Whipps had been trapped. After releasing the sandy haired, six foot five, 300 pound retired linemen from a simple door jam, I walked back to the bar area to talk with Ms. Blonde.
“Are the 72 ounce steak challenges almost ready? I needed six of them, to go.”
“Yes, Mr. Baylor, sir. The plates are being wrapped up right now. We don’t get a lot of people ordering six of the stomach busters”
“Well, I have help back on those buses out there. These two eat any leftovers I give them, so we should be just fine.” I was not the only one not looking at her eyes. I jabbed Owens, who jabbed Whipps. Subtly was not there speciality.
“Where are you from?”
“A little bit from everywhere. The buses make the scenery change fast. You grow up here?” My attempt at small talk with the towny made me laugh, getting rusty. This waitress was probably related to the two highway men that just got off with one of the small bribe cards I carried.
“Yep, born, raised, but hopefully I will fly this cage. Someday anyway.”
“Where to? If you don’t mind me asking.” My interests peaked at the looker’s need to get out of Gregger’s.
“Anywhere really, just need a change.”
“Know what you mean. I may be able to help. Here is my card, contact me sometime.” I slid my contact card and another one of my bribe cards, this one loaded with $10,000, for when the robbers were a little more demanding, onto the counter. “I want you, to keep the change. Understand?”
“Yes, sir, thank you.”
“If you could just bring those plates out to the bus, I will grab my friends and be out of your hair.” I reached the door, motioned for Whipps and Owens to get back to the bus. As we left, I watched the waitress slid the Visa through the register. Her eyes grew really big as she saw the remaining balance. I could always use more help, especially someone who knew how to cook.
“Dad, what happened to the 2 million I gave you last year?” My phone was warm against my face. My father was running out of time.
“You know the market son, it was up and then it spiraled into the depths of hell. I just need a little to get me started again.”
“I don’t know if I should get you started again, Mom said you were down in Vegas again.” My contacts in Vegas were the ones who informed me my father was at the tables again.
“Your mother doesn’t know what she is talking about. The only time she is aware is when she calls you.”
“That isn’t fair Dad, she has had a really hard time. She needs our support to get better.” Which is exactly why I had my own contacts gather the information. My hand was reaching into the right breast pocket of my slate colored suit jacket. I caught myself, putting back on the polished surface of my desk. This was my father, not a two bit robber who could be paid off with a prepaid Visa.
“Son, please, just $500,000. That is it, I know I can make that money grow and then I won’t have to ask you ever again for money. Maybe you will ask me for a loan someday, like a son should.”
“You will have to do something for me then, for the family.” A plan forming in my mind, a smile creeping up my face.
“If you can get Mom to be sober and aware for more than three months, then the money is yours.” An impossible task, but one that would kill two birds with one stone. I needed a motivated worker for mother. My father being desperate, would be the perfect watcher and may even break through to her.
“I will do my best son! Your mother will be all better before Christmas vacation.”
“Good, I have missed Mom being at the island.” The last time the family had been altogether was before I got the island, but my father wasn’t listening anymore, he was daydreaming about the money.
“Love you son.”
“Love you Dad, good luck. You can contact Julie if you need anything for Mom’s recovery plan. She is the main contact at Breezes.” My fingers found the edge of the prepaid Visas. Power.
I couldn’t sleep. The possibilities of losing Keylee and little Cambre tormented my every thought. Why couldn’t they leave us alone? It was just money. Stupid paper that was made from recycled jeans. Not worth the lives of the two people he loved the most.
“Sir, the shoe choice for tonight needs your approval.”
“Thank you, Jennifer, those Italian blacks look fine. Has my speech for tonights event been checked?” My hand found my pocket with the cashier checks in it, a prepaid Visa couldn’t handle the amount of bribe tonight. My right pocket felt lighter without those cards in it.
“Yes, sir, James had it done earlier this morning.”
“Did he remember to play up the…” I grabbed a handful of Skittles, not caring what color, just in need of some sweetness after the bitterness. Would I get tearful on stage? Maybe I should try to work that up a little, really get the sympathy going for me.
“Yes, sir. He remembered to play up that up. I don’t know if you will need it for the Deanship though.”
“Every little bit helps, I need all the help I can get, my life isn’t perfect you know.” Money made life messy, not simple.
“Sir, did you want us to include a picture of your daughter?”
“Of course! That is the pivot point for the speech. Is the jet ready? Don’t want to keep them waiting.” Jet travel was such an upgrade from the old buses, though, not as fun. She loved those buses.
“Yes, sir, waiting for you.”
“Thank you, Jennifer. After tonight, I should be able to check one more thing off my list.” The Board of Directors at Harvard didn’t know what was coming, my daughter’s loss would cement my election onto the Board. No dirt could counter act my loss and the cashiers check. The money wasn’t a big loss. It was more of an investment. The money would most likely be used to upgrade the school. Besides a little money to become something I wanted to be since I was a kid, that is priceless. The power was nice too. Keylee may be mad about the Cambre thing, but Tiffany’s would make her forget. It always made her forget.
Keylee’s brown hair caught under my shoulder as I tired to roll into a cuddle position. Her body jerked away, connection incomplete. My mind black, no thoughts. I turned towards Jennifer, her full figure body a lot more accepting, she was always willing.
Keylee snuggled up against my back, not wanting to be left out of the warmth. Her warmth always comforted me, even after 15 years of money, her warmth was still relaxing.
The restlessness shouldn’t be too hard to overcome. No thoughts were pecking at my brain. Weekends were always slow. No hard decisions, no fires to put out, no invoices, no pleads for money.
The sun wouldn’t be up for a couple more hours. Warm sand and water waited for us on the weekend. Jennifer waited for us on the weekend. Keylee was more accepting of this arrangement after some reminding her where the money flowed from. She seemed to feel my thoughts, her feet rubbing mine for warmth. I pulled up the light blanket that was silk to the touch due to a thread count I couldn’t remember.
The gun was pointed at my head. The tropical sun light glinted off the barrel. I didn’t have any pockets.