Awards . . . Prompt #174

You deserve an awardYou can write on this prompt from your point of view or from someone else’s point of view. You can also write as your fictional character would respond.

Write about an award you have received. Perhaps a certificate, a leather/letter jacket in high school, lapel pins, crowns, diplomas, trophies.

Is there an award you didn’t receive and thought you should have?  Did your fictional character deserve an award and didn’t get it?  How did he/she respond?

Writing Prompt: Awards

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  1. Ke11y

    Dying is a sad game, even if you perfect the idea. It may be that very soon there will be a dummies guide to dying on the bookshelves.

    Chances are you might think this a dreary start to why I would give an award. But suicide is, in its way, an achievement. The goal is to die. In the main most don’t achieve it. Most flop around the idea and flirt with attempts and some, by pure accident, actually manage it. That’s why it’s worth an award. Richard was a golfer; we shared many a golf round together. Golf was a kind of communion. The place we would go to avoid reality.

    Richard played the game better than most, not, however, the game of golf, at which we were both exceedingly poor, but at playing along. That’s why he’s my hero. It’s much easier to write about people when they are dead; you don’t have to make some of their features perfect or their manners acceptable. Richard smoked a lot. He drank enough to be social and sometimes enough to be your best friend. The combination, you must believe, was his long term attempt at suicide. Fear not, all you smokers and drinkers, none of these habits killed Richard. No. His wife killed Richard. The story is not complex. Richard was a bastard, not literally, but generally speaking. He was a rich man by modern standards. Not a tycoon, just an ordinary millionaire. He had guarded his money well, invested wisely, or not at all, and only bet on certainties.

    The trick of Richard was that he knew people; he watched them and weighed up what chances they would take, which made me the perfect foil for him. And no greater pleasure was had by any other living man. Richard cared little for social graces but learned them at the side of his wife. Murder, you must understand, was a constant thought in the life of Mrs. Richard. It happened with monotonous regularity. It was the ‘how’ that caused her to stumble from that chosen route. While he slept in the chair, afternoon or evening, was always a good time to ‘run him through’ but that would only bring recriminations on herself. So, for many years, Mrs. Richard amused herself with inventive and intuitive ideas on how to end her husband’s life. She rarely spoke about her adventures into such murderous thoughts, except to say something like, “I’ll kill him.” Not exactly ambiguous but always laughed at by those who knew them both. So Richard worked on. The business had got past being his ‘baby.’ It had almost done the job of his wife years earlier.

    The business had turned him into a recluse, hiding away in his office with journals and papers while the money came rolling in. Well, we all like to think that. I remember the first time we met, I had applied for a job in his business. I made up a story about moving to his part of the world and settling down. It didn’t matter what I said; he needed someone who had a modicum of intelligence. Well, thinking back I may have been the only person wanting the job. But that is all bye and bye. Ten years or so I knew Richard and in that time he became a legend of stories and folklore. That was it with Richard; you could not dislike the man. Impossible, unless, of course, you happened to be married to him. Then it was very simple. So this is my story. We have a hero, a fool, and a woman who was hell bent on killing her husband.

    His achievement, one that cannot be taken away from him, having scored his first hole-in-one, shot himself on the eighteenth green! I’m a writer; I can’t be trusted to tell the truth. Your job, if you choose to pass this page, is to enjoy Richard as I have done. I hope my story touches you, shows you what true courage is in an ordinary world. Do not think me simply an observer, the writer writing, I’m just as responsible as the next fool in the achievement of Richard’s success. Dying is a sad game. But NOT when you are as clever as my friend, Richard.

    1. mcullen Post author

      Omigosh, Kelly. Your writing is mesmerizing! Very cleverly paced, perfect word choices. Brilliant! I love the practicality of truth telling, “The goal is to die. In the main most don’t achieve it. Most flop around the idea and flirt with attempts and some, by pure accident, actually manage it.” Appreciate the clarification, “Richard was a bastard, not literally, but generally speaking.” Love the phrase, “just an ordinary millionaire.” I enjoy how you portray these characters, including the perhaps unreliable narrator. Written in a sparse style, with whimsy, tongue-in-cheek so to speak. So glad you posted!

  2. PamH

    Miss Nancy was the guardian of all things good and true in my five year old world. Watching her teach ‘Romper Room’ on the black and white TV made me feel like a big girl going to school. She taught that if you would share with others you were a “Good Do Bee.” If you fought with your sister it was straight to the “Bad Don’t Bee” list. At the end of the show there was a magic mirror Miss Nancy looked through to see her friends at home. Sometimes she would mention the name Pam. I would be amazed. That magic mirror gave her super powers just about equal to Santa Claus.
    One day the famous yo-yo wizard, Mr. Bob, appeared on her show. Miss Nancy was greatly impressed with his yo-yo tricks. Mr. Bob was impressed with Miss Nancy, though all she did was smile at him—a lot. When he announced an upcoming appearance at Cain-Sloan’s Department Store in three days I begged my parents to go.
    A small stage was set up near the store’s toy department. Mr. Bob demonstrated his skills to a group of kids and parents. When he stopped and asked for volunteers, my father put me on the stage. Mr. Bob placed a large yo-yo in my small hand. Trying to imitate what I had seen, I let the yo-yo unwind and dangle at the end of the string.
    “Good start,” he said. “Now next time try to bring it back up as well.”
    Well, next time that yo-yo unwound, I quickly jerked it back up, just barely missing several heads on the front row.
    “Okay Pam, let’s try one more time.”
    I did my fanciest trick. Completely unwinding the toy, I dragged it around the floor, my version of ‘walking the dog.’
    “Great! Let’s all give Pam a big round of applause.”
    As I left the stage Mr. Bob handed Mom my award. It was a patch saying I had won second prize in a yo-yo contest, the one in which I had been the only contestant.

    1. mcullen Post author

      Oh, Pam, you had me at “That magic mirror gave her super powers just about equal to Santa Claus.” I always wanted Miss Nancy to call my name. Alas, she never did. You wrote a great story . . . good cadence, expert story-telling details perfectly placed. My heart was with that little girl on stage, wielding a too-big yo-yo for her little hand, but being a trouper, she did her best! And the last line. . . I really did laugh out loud. Thanks for the wonderful story, the memory of Miss Nancy and her magic mirror and thanks for the chuckle.

  3. Kathy Myers

    I see Pam, I see Marlene, I see Kathy, I see all the boys and girls out on the world wide web who enjoy reading and writing. As Sinatra would say “Do bee, do bee do…!”

    I treasure a letter I received from Mr Rogers. I watched his program before my son was born. I was thirty years old and working full time on a locked psych unit in San Francisco. It was my guilty pleasure to turn him on after work; the slow pace and simplistic format had a sedative affect on me. I wrote him a fan letter complimenting him on his emphasis that children express their emotions, wants and needs assertively, and suggested some of my patients would have benefitted from this kind of childhood training. He wrote me back and said he has many adult fans. He complimented me on my work and said— and I quote…”You must be a very special person.” Mr Rogers said I was special! I felt the excitement of an eight year old on their way to Disneyland.

    1. mcullen Post author

      I love this story, Kathy. You were wise to slow down and watch him during what must have been a stressful and, perhaps occasional unreal, time of your career. I think we all could benefit from slowing our pace, enjoying the beauty of our surroundings as best we can. And breathe, remember to breathe!

      I agree with Mr. Rogers. Kathy, you are, indeed, a very special person. Thanks for posting.

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