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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Prosperity (05/11/06)

TITLE: Wind of Change
By Jake Chism


Stan Goodman locked the front doors to the Laundromat, and began the long walk home. The Chicago skyline was gorgeous to the north, and he couldn’t help but wonder if things would have been different if he had somehow found a way to climb the corporate ladder to the top of one of those concrete palaces. Stan knew that his situation wasn’t that bad in the grand scheme of things. Daily he was reminded of this when he passed numerous homeless people on his route to and from work. Any one of them would do anything to own a Laundromat, much less a single washing machine.

As usual the wind ripped through the city streets, and Stan had to reach up to hold onto his hat. He rounded a corner and couldn’t help but notice a small piece of paper floating on the wind, heading right for him. He sidestepped to get out of the way, as if it might in some way harm him, and was startled when it changed course and landed against his chest. He stopped and laughed to himself as the strong gusts held the paper against him. He grabbed the renegade piece of flying litter, and realized it was a lottery ticket.

Stan looked around for the nearest trash can, and then he remembered something he had heard on the news that morning. One of the largest lottery winnings in Illinois Lotto history had gone unclaimed for the past week. The lottery officials had determined that the winning ticket had been purchased, and if he remembered correctly, it had been purchased from a drugstore just a few blocks from where Stan stood. The amount was somewhere around 350 million dollars. He had no idea what the winning numbers were, but he looked anyway, as if they might tell him something. The numbers were 42, 23, 16, 15, 8, 4. Stan had no idea why, but these numbers seemed oddly familiar to him.

As he continued to gaze at the ticket, his mind began to wander, and he began to see the possibilities of a better life. A bigger and better home. Financial freedom. Even though Stan owned his own business, he had more debt, both business and personal, than he wanted to admit. His daughter would be able to go to college wherever she wanted instead of taking community classes somewhere. He could actually do something wonderful for his wife. The more Stan stared at this ticket, the more he realized this could be the answer to all of his problems. This could be the key to ultimate happiness that up until now had always seemed locked away and unattainable. This could be that pivotal moment of change that he would always look back on. This could finally be the big break that he always hoped for, but long ago gave up on. This could be the answer to all his prayers.

Stan hurriedly pulled out his wallet to place the ticket inside. He wanted to keep it safe from the wind that had delivered this answered prayer to him. As he flipped his wallet open, he looked down at it and he froze. His eyes locked on the family photo that he kept in the front of his wallet. As he stared at the photo of his family, his vision began to blur and a tear began to trail down his cheek.

Suddenly he was filled with indescribable joy and a sense of clarity. This had been one of those pivotal, life-changing moments! His prayers had indeed been answered! As Stan looked at his beautiful wife and his precious daughter, he realized that all along true happiness had been right in front of him. He had an incredible family that loved him more than anything. Stan Goodman was the richest man in the world!

Stan hurried home now with a renewed spirit. He had been asleep for far too long and now he was awakened to the blessings that surrounded him. He couldn’t wait to kiss his wife and put his arms around his daughter. As he rounded the corner, he couldn’t help but notice the homeless man. Day after day Stan had passed this man with nothing more to offer than an awkward, avoided stare. With a smile, Stan walked up to the man and handed him the lottery ticket.

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This article has been read 872 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Edy T Johnson 05/19/06
This is polished writing with an almost O.Henry twist at the end. I enjoyed your choice of words and your creative writing. God bless you.
Jan Ackerson 05/22/06
I'm so glad you ended it the way you did!

Quite a high percentage of your sentences begin with "Stan..." Maybe work on more variety of sentence structures?

Nice irony here, and good plotting.
Trina Courtenay05/25/06
Congrats on placing Jake. Nice twist ending.

Edy T Johnson 05/25/06
I'm so glad to see your winning entry and your name up in lights! God bless you with all of His best, and Congratulations!