For one million dollars...
‘For one million dollars…’ the quizmaster pauses, creating anticipation. I hear the question and smile. I know the answer! It’s one of those obscure things you learn in school and think you’ll never use in real life.
You can cut the atmosphere in the studio with a knife. I look at the audience and see Joe’s anxious face. Since losing his job (‘The recession’, they told him) he worries about money. Not that we don’t have enough – we do – just not enough for extras, treats and things.
‘Take your time…’ the quizmaster brings my thoughts back to reality – such as it is, right now.
Joe managed to find another job pretty quickly. He’s one of those people who will do anything and do it to the best of his ability. ‘There is dignity in all work’ he says to me as he puts his overalls on before setting off each morning. Secretly, I’m pleased not to have to iron all those white shirts every week and I enjoy eating together at the end of the working day. That is a treat in itself. We’ve taken up bike riding on weekends, enjoying each other’s company and shedding some pounds too. We found the kids’ old bikes in the garage and did them up – together.
‘I need an answer…’
One million dollars would change our lives forever. Heck, it would change anyone’s life for ever. Neither of us would have to work again. Sue would be so happy for me. We’ve shared our ups and downs and given hugs of joy and consolation to each other for over twenty years. People always say they will keep in touch, that the money won’t change them. But how can it not change a person?
‘I’m going to have to put the clock on you…’ the heavy ticking of the studio timer brings my thoughts back to the task in hand.
‘For one million dollars…’ he continues with the question, but it’s all background noise now.
‘I’m sorry Bob…’ I begin, and then stop. I’m not sorry at all.
I take a deep breath.
‘I don’t know’ I reply.
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