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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Gifts (of the Spirit or service) (11/22/07)

TITLE: Club 90
By Mo


If he was edgy before, now he’s hanging off the cliff by his fingernails.

As Mac wrote out another check, he prayed for his twin brother. How could identical twins be so different? he thought for the umpteenth time.

I’m religious, serious, and generous. Dick… he seems to only think of himself, especially since Ma died. Been almost a year now…

Dick had squandered his inheritance on a new house, new cars, fine food, and not so fine women. Mac wondered what else he was into, but he didn’t really want to know.

He was so busy with Club 90. It’s the best, most rewarding job I’ve ever had. And it’s so easy. All I have to do is write the checks. The hard part is deciding who to give to. The most fun part is doing it in person, although that can be depressing, too, downright dangerous even.

Mac traveled all over the world to personally hand over large sums of money -- to build schools, hospitals, feed the poor, fight disease, and help after natural disasters…

Who’d have thought that it’d be so hard to give away so much money?

Mac wanted to help as many people as he could. He couldn’t just give it all to one place. There was too much need… He wanted to spread the wealth.

That’s what Club 90 members did. They gave away 90% of their wealth. Some had much more than he. Others had a whole lot less and lived very simple lives. Not everyone could afford to give 90%. Some gave 50%, or less, but still a lot more than most people.

Mac’s thoughts were interrupted by the phone ringing. It was Dick. He sounded spaced out, on what Mac didn’t know. Dick was crying. “I’m at th’ hossspital,” he slurred.

Mac’s heart skipped a beat. If he’s calling, he can’t be that bad off. Can he?

“Can yous come an’ pick me up, tomorrow, at the po-lice ssstation?”

The police station?

“She… She’s dead Mac. An’ it’s all my fault…”

A police officer got on the line. “Mr. Johnson will be all right, physically. His car’s totaled. We’re taking him downtown and charging him with vehicular homicide; driving while intoxicated. The victim was a young girl, pretty too. Keira O’Donnell, just 19 years old…”

Mac almost dropped the phone. He could tell that even the burly sounding cop was all broken up about it. Not about Dick, but about that poor girl. I wonder if he’s the one who has to tell her family…

Mac couldn’t sleep. Could I have prevented this? I should’ve said something to him, about his drinking… Would it have made a difference? Dear God, please be with Keira, and her loved ones… and Dick… He wept.

All the money in the world couldn’t save Dick now.

Mac hired the best lawyer in town, but the evidence against Dick was just too great. And, truth be told, Dick didn’t want to get off lightly. He told his brother as much. “I don’ deserve to be free.”

He’d bottomed out. “I so totally screwed up. Why did it have to come to this? Just to make me come to my senses? I can’t bring her back Mac. Nothin’ can. Why couldn’t it have been me who died in that wreck?”

Dick’s blood alcohol level at the time of the accident was three times the legal limit. “Jail time will sober him up,” said the judge.

But Dick had already sworn off the bottle, and his other excesses, too.

Dick had found his purpose.

He joined Club 90. He started a full four year scholarship in Keira’s name at her university. -- She’d wanted to be a teacher. He had a new wing built onto the hospital where she’d died and had it named after her. He donated to Mothers Against Drunk Driving. He was even writing a book about his change of heart, and lifestyle.

“I want to make amends. Somehow…,” he told Mac on one of his brother’s frequent visits. “I know God has forgiven me, but how can I forgive myself? …I can’t bring her back. But hopefully I can prevent someone else from making the same mistakes I made. I’m still here for a reason. Hopefully I can do some good with the time I have left. That’s something, isn’t it?”

Dick had finally come to his senses, and come back home to God.

This story is fictional, but The 50% League does exist. See www.boldergiving.org

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Member Comments
Member Date
LauraLee Shaw11/29/07
This story broke my heart! I'm always so thankful to hear about people who have made life-shattering mistakes turning it around and using it for good instead of swimming in their guilt forever. I'm glad that was the conclusion, but it is a tragic story nonetheless.
Jan Ackerson 11/29/07
I wondered if someone would write about the gift of giving. I tried and tried to, but couldn't find the right approach--but you did! Heartbreaking and really well-written.
Chrissi Dunn11/30/07
Wow - What a gift, and one that didn't come to mind when I first thought about this challenge. Yet it's so on topic, and the story kept my attention the whole way through. Sadly sometimes it's tragic circumstances like this that bring people to a full sense of responsibility.
Laury Hubrich 12/01/07
Very good story that I could relate to very well. It's so hard to know how to help family. Thank you for sharing!