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The Proposal ~ A Short Fiction Story

John has many years of writing experience in poetry, short fiction and text for children's books. Basically, he just loves to write.

Money flies

Money flies

Short Story Writing Prompt ~ Money, Money, Money

Writing prompts can be very helpful when you are looking for inspiration, or offer a little impetus to break the dreaded writer’s block. There are plenty of different sources of such prompts on the Internet. One that I personally subscribe to is 'Reedsy Prompts’ and each week they provide a topic and a list of ideas/scenarios to inspire us to try our hand at writing a short story of 1000 - 3000 words.

For a $5.00 entry fee you are eligible to win $250 via PayPal. I probably won't enter this story, but I still found these exciting prompts and I chose number four as the basis for my story, 'The Proposal.'

At the time of writing, I am not sure how long this story will be, but if I follow Reedsy's guidelines it needs to be under 3000 words. It does, however, look like it will have to be broken up into more than one part for publishing here at HubPages.

Here is Writing Prompt #308 from Reedsy this week.

Money, Money, Money

Like it or not, money makes the world go round. And while it (supposedly) can’t buy happiness, it can certainly change your life — for better or worse. This week’s prompts have money on the mind; whether your characters are winning big, or down to their last dollar, it’s time to start counting your cash.

  1. Start your story with a character accepting a bribe.
  2. Set your story in a world where the currency isn’t money — or at least not money as we understand it.
  3. Write about somebody down on their luck who unexpectedly comes into a large amount of money.
  4. Your character checks their balance at an ATM and is surprised by the number they see.
  5. Write about a character who’s never encountered a problem they couldn’t buy their way out of — until they do.

Most stories are too good to be true. That’s what makes them enchanting.”

“And dangerous,” I muttered.

— Kerri Maniscalco, Escaping from Houdini

The Proposal

The Proposal

The Proposal

Michael stood in line, patiently waiting his turn, then slipped his debit card into the ATM slot and keyed in his pin number. After selecting “Account Balance” he just stared for a moment in disbelief. He was trying to comprehend the amount that appeared on the screen. It just didn’t make sense.

There was at least $10,000 more than he was expecting to see. Certain the bank had made a mistake, he retrieved his card and walked inside the bank. Approaching the first vacant teller he explained to them the discrepancy, and asked them to check it out from their end.

The teller did all the necessary checks on the computer and then conferred with her supervisor, before telling Michael that all seemed above board. $10,000 had indeed been deposited into his account by…well, the depositor was simply shown as “Your Anonymous Benefactor.”

Michael ran his fingers through his brown wavy hair in confusion. $10,000 into his account? This was so random. But, he had done the right thing and informed the bank, and they confirmed it was legitimate. This gave him some comfort. Who was he to argue? Sometimes miracles do happen, besides, he could really use the money. But that didn’t explain who this mystery benefactor was.

If something seems to good to be true ~ read the fine print to see what it will cost you

— Mr Positively Inclined

He didn’t have to think too long and hard about what he’s do with the money. But he wouldn’t use it all in one go. He withdrew $5,000, just a little more than enough to cover the purchase of a new electric wheelchair for his wife who had suffered spinal damage from a car accident some ten years prior.

The remaining five grand would most likely pay off his maxed-out credit card, but tonight he’d be taking Cynthia out for a meal at a classy Italian restaurant he had always wanted to try. That was the least he could do after all she’d been through the last few years.

Cynthia couldn’t believe her eyes when her husband pushed the new wheelchair through the door. The tears in her eyes were enough reward for Michael to know he’d done the right thing with the money. She questioned how he got enough money and was as equally confused as him when he tried to tell her.

Later that night, as they enjoyed the finest Mediterranean cuisine and wine, Michael’s phone beeped alerting him of an SMS message. At first, he thought it was spam as he didn’t recognize the number, but curiosity got the better of him and he opened the message.

It simply read: “Greetings Michael Winyard. Thank you for accepting our proposal and initial down payment for your services. Further details will be emailed to you within the hour.”

“Who was that?” asked Cynthia.

“I have no idea,” replied Michael looking even more puzzled. “No idea at all!”

There were more questions than answers.

There were more questions than answers.

Michael was a little on edge…well, maybe more than a little. What the frig was going on here? He hadn’t agreed to any so-called proposals, or sold any services to anyone - and what services? This whole thing was much too cryptic.

About an hour had passed by the time they arrived home, and with his curiosity spiked, Michael sat down to check his email. There didn’t seem to be anything relevant in his inbox, so he checked the ‘spam folder.’ An email titled ‘The Proposal’ caught his eye. The sender was just shown as A. B. Associates, but the email address seemed scrambled and it stated “no reply.”

It read:

Dear Mr Winyard,

Another $10,000 has been credited to your PayPal account. It is now imperative that you undertake the actions stipulated in the agreement. Please click on this link to watch a video that will explain everything and provide further instructions that you must follow.

Yours Expectantly,

A. B. Associates.

This was all well and good, and as he had said the money was helpful, but nothing was becoming any clearer. A. B. Associates (whoever they were) seemed intent on being deceptive and continually changing the mode of communication and even means of payment. First by SMS, next by email, and now a video. The first payment into his bank account, and the second to PayPal…something was awfully strange here.

Another $10,000 - WTF did they expect him to do or assume he had agreed to?

Michael knew he hadn’t put his signature to anything or even agreed verbally. Nothing they said made any sense, so he had no choice but to watch the video. Perhaps that may shed some light on this mystery.

To Be Continued…

… so he had no choice but to watch the video.

… so he had no choice but to watch the video.

© 2022 John Hansen

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