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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Prosperity (05/11/06)

TITLE: What about Jack?
By Leslie Lamb


Colton Douglas III was shoving the last of his papers in his briefcase when his blonde, coifed wife walked into the kitchen.

“I need you to pick up Jack from school today. I have an appointment at the salon and a meeting at the country club so I won’t be available today.” She picked up her tennis racket along with her freshly prepared protein drink and headed out the door.

“Wait!” he hollered after her grabbing his lap top along with his over-stuffed briefcase.
“Laura, you always spring these things on me at the last minute! I have a meeting at five with Mr. Stunley, reports to proof, details to go over, and a conference call with our parent company in New York! I don’t have time for this!”

Sliding into the posh leather seat of her recently purchased convertible, she answered, “Well, you should have thought of that when you hassled me to have him!”

He walked over while she lowered the top and pointed his finger in her face, “You will not lay this on me again!”

She put the car in reverse, “Sorry, honey, it’s your problem now. Figure it out.”

He cursed and kicked his truck tire as he watched her speed off leaving him to try to fix this. He quickly grabbed his blackberry looking for whatever standby was available for after-school care. Why was he always stuck with this?

Angrily, he dialed Laura’s number instead, “You’re the one that fired the Nanny because she allowed Jack to wear red cowboy boots with his school uniform! For God’s sake, Laura, he’s three! It’s pre-school; let him wear the boots! You ought to be the one searching for a replacement, not me! Take a break from yourself and be a mother!”

She would not be manipulated, “I got up an hour earlier than I like to because he had to be at school at seven thirty! So don’t talk to me about being a mother! Be a father; be as responsible for your child as you are your investments!”

Colton was fuming, “Funny! I never heard you complain about my concentration on investments when you went out and got that car you’re driving, or the cruise you purchased for you and your friends, or the closet you had made for the designer shoes that you insist on buying!”

She hung up.

He cursed again and threw down the phone!

“Something has got to give!” he yelled to his empty truck. “This ‘American dream’ is turning into a nightmare!”

And, then he remembered Andy harassing him about Jesus and God and something about storing up treasures in heaven! “It’s like he can’t see that I have plenty of time for that; I have to make money now! Leave a legacy. Have something set aside for Jack’s future.”

Thinking of Jack reminded him of the task at hand: his urgent need to find a nanny. He started scrolling through his data base of names again. Concentrating on the numbers, he didn’t see the car ahead or that he was in the wrong lane. All he could think of was the money he stood to lose with the hassle of his son.


Laura Chilton-Douglas didn’t like to be disturbed for any reason so she was in a huff when she got to the phone.

“I’m sorry, ma’am." The officer struggled to know what to say under the circumstances. "Your husband was pronounced dead on arrival; both he and the young man that he hit. Would you like to come and ID him?”

“What I want to know, Officer, is how this will affect Jack?” She managed to say through the shock.

“Jack?” the officer asked not fully comprehending.

“Our boy; he’s three.” She answered with a little more emotion.

“Oh ma’am, I’m sorry. It won’t be easy, telling him his father’s dead.” He didn’t envy her that task.

“It won’t be easy to find someone to pick him up, either!” She selfishly blurted out, oblivious to the fact that she sounded spoiled and immature, not to mention cold and heartless. She didn’t care. This was just like Colton to leave her to sort out his mess! And in that moment, she began to wonder if she had ever truly loved him at all, or had her love for him been based on the only thing he had really given her, the one thing she hoped she still had - Prosperity.

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This article has been read 653 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Joe Moreland05/21/06
Hmmm. Maybe it's just me, but I thought the perfect place to end this story was on Laura's line: "It won't be easy to find someone to pick him up, either!" Everything said after that is already said in that one line...plus it's funny. Sorry...my morbid sense of humor has a tendency to rear it's ugly head now and then.
Jan Ackerson 05/22/06
I agree with Joe; Laura is practically a caricature, and ending it with an unbelievably selfish utterance would really drive that home. Good writing skills here!
Pat Guy 05/22/06
Good voice - good dialogue! You captured the dark side of Prosperity very well. Godd job of writing!
Anita Neuman05/22/06
Welcome to the message boards! Isn't it fun getting a bit more feedback? I hope you'll be visiting with us a lot.

Now, about your story. This is indeed a dark side of prosperity, and you've written it well. Your characters are well-developed and you make a very good point. So I guess the thing to work on is tightening your point of view. There are a couple of spots that could be stronger. (Feel free to send me a private message if you'd like clarification.) Overall, this is quite good, and I'm looking forward to getting to know you on the boards.
Dr. Sharon Schuetz05/23/06
This is excellent. Your characters were so believable, and th dilogue was great.
Rita Garcia05/23/06
Well written look at the dark side of prosperity, good job.
Virginia Gorg05/23/06
Well done - gripping, and very sad.
Edy T Johnson 05/23/06
You have a knack for writing believable conflict. The poor husband with the spoiled-rotton wife! The poor little boy with such a self-centered mother! Yet, you managed to get inside that wife-mother to make her arguments believable--at least from her perspective. Thank you for a good read!
Beth Muehlhausen05/24/06
Once again I have to wonder how people get to be so callous in the first place? It's a mystery to me. Good character development - I wanted to rescue little Jack somehow or else shake up his mom a bit. :-)

This did make me ponder my responsibilities towards people who are deluded with selfish ambition and wealth - and of course it always comes back to patience and love.
Amy Michelle Wiley 05/24/06
This started out really strong, with believable dialog (unfortunatly). The paragraph about God came accross a little preachy and forced, but otherwise well done!