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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Hot and Cold (04/09/09)

TITLE: Brilliant Plan, Mr. Domingo
By Jan Ackerson
04/14/09


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Jasper Domingo ignored the blah blah blah of the meeting happening all around him. He was thinking instead of the recent increase in his personal assets, and coincidentally ogling his secretary’s assets as she walked around the boardroom, serving coffee.

“Mr. Domingo? Mr. Domingo, did you hear what I said?” His vice president pointed to a slide projected against one wall. “I was saying, sir, that making a profit on Choo-Choo Brew was like taking candy from a baby.” The V-P indicated an upward trend on the line graph, clearly expecting some words of praise.

He waited while Domingo pressed his fingertips together, motionless—except for his eyes, which followed Miss Honeywell’s orbit of the boardroom. Finally, he spoke. The men around the table leaned forward; Domingo was aging, and his voice tended to a quavering raspiness.

“Choo-Choo Brew was one of my finest ideas. A kiddie drink that resembles beer! As you’ve shown, Anderson, the kids get accustomed to drinking something that looks like beer, and they naturally gravitate to real beer as they get older. Are sales for our brewery up, too?”

Anderson flipped nervously through the annual report. “Yes, sir—by 132 percent. Marketing thinks the similarity between the products has helped the sales of both.”

“All right, then, here’s the plan. I want to develop a line of cigarettes for pre-teens. Get R and D on this—find some substance that’s perfectly legal, and tell marketing to push it as a fun and healthy pastime. We’ll call them Kwik Stix. And I want another team developing video games that simulate gambling, only I want to use cartoon characters. Can we get Elmo? Mickey Mouse?”

At the end of the table, the corporation’s lawyer looked up, startled, and shook his head.

“Well, put a team on it. Something cute and cuddly. And Anderson? I like what you said about taking candy from a baby. Get on that right away—some kind of candy product that mothers will think is great for their toddlers. Use our shadow corporation. Then in a year or so, take it away from them…make sure we get all the good PR for discovering how bad it is. Got that?”

Anderson gestured at the group. “I think I speak for all of us when I say these are brilliant plans, Mr. Domingo.” A dozen heads nodded. Miss Honeywell started to clear away the cups.

“Wait a minute, I’m not done.” Domingo patted Miss Honeywell’s bottom. “Go powder your nose, sweetheart, you’re not needed.” He watched as she retreated, then turned back to his men. “Boys, the doc says my liver’s shot—I’ve only got a few months left. I’ve had the best doctors in the country working on it, and here’s what I’m going to do. Sometime soon, I’m going to freeze myself—they call it cryogenic suspension. Going to set the timer for a hundred years, and wait for them to come up with a cure. I’m leaving the company up to you—I’ll be keeping my fifty-one percent share, and I expect a healthy profit when I wake up and they make my liver good as new. Anderson, you’re in charge. I expect you to be true to my motto: Grieve ‘Em, Deceive ‘Em, Relieve ‘Em of Their Cash.”

“Y-yes sir”, said Anderson. All around the table, the men nervously avoided making eye contact as little gears whirred in their brains.

Six weeks later, Jasper Domingo settled himself into a sparkling new CryoTank. “Hey docs, turn down the heat!” he joked, as a white-jacketed technician injected a sedative into his veins.

***
Domingo shivered as consciousness gradually returned. Cold…cold…my head aches, what did I drink last night?...liver damage…doctors...a hundred years…where’s that blasted button I’m supposed to push?...right hand…there it is…hope they’ve got that magic pill…wonder how much I’m worth now…

He pressed the button and the lid popped open. Immediately he squinted; the light was bright and reddish, and a strong smell of—what?—was in the air. Strange hospital.

Someone laughed. Jasper struggled up to one elbow and turned a stiff neck toward the sound…and then he gasped.

“Not what you expected, huh? Well, I’m a big fan of wicked irony, and after all, eternity minus one hundred years is still eternity, isn’t it? I’ve enjoyed every second of the wait. Brilliant plan…sucker.”

And the next sound Jasper heard, while flames nipped at his toes, was the hiss of rising steam as his CryoTank slipped into a pool of molten sulphur.


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This article has been read 1063 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Lynda Schultz 04/16/09
Oh, ouch! Really clever, but loaded with truth. Good work.
Verna Cole Mitchell 04/17/09
This is very, very clever. The slogan was priceless. Yet, with your message you reminded us clearly that there is a price to be paid for harming even "one of these little ones."
Sonya Leigh04/18/09
What an awful man who paid the ultimate price just to enjoy a few seconds of the devil's wisdom. If his reward is such, I wonder what kind of agony the devil and his demons have in store. Amazingly written.
Karen Wilber 04/19/09
Loved it. I couldn't wait to see Mr. Domingo get his just desserts (another product idea, Anderson). Plenty of funny bits with a very satisfying ending. Wicked irony indeed.
Betty Castleberry04/19/09
Very clever. Great detail. I suspect, knowing the author, that even the names are very intentional. Two thumbs up.
Kristen Hester04/19/09
Yes, this is sooo clever and RIGHT ON TOPIC! I enjoyed it and was engaged from beginning to end. Bravo!
Margaret Gass04/19/09
This kept me engaged all the way to the end, where I knew I would find the "hot" to go with the "cold"...excellent!
Leah Nichols 04/19/09
He seems to me to be a bit over the top as far as heartlessness, with the men so readily agreeing with him....it seems almost unreal. I mean, I'm sure there are plenty of bottom line want-to-be-rich people out there, but I wouldn't expect them to be quite so overt.

I get the point though. Nice job - just the right amount of dialogue combined with plot, and well done on your title. :)
Carol Slider 04/19/09
Oh... wicked ending! I wasn't expecting that! This story had me on edge until the very end. (And from what I've seen at kids' clothing stores and toy stores lately, I think Mr. Domingo is in charge of a lot of it! Thanks for unmasking his evil plot! :)
Catrina Bradley 04/19/09
I was on the edge of my seat from the very beginning to the chilling end. Cryogenics can't preserve a lost soul. (I wonder if the shareholders changed any policies after he was "gone"?)
Shelley Ledfors 04/20/09
Original take on the cold / hot theme. I like the way you illustrated the many levels or layers of coldness in Mr. Domingo. The final tie-in to "hot" was powerful.
Diana Dart 04/20/09
Ooooooooohhhhh, I'm totally creeped out (in a good way of course!). This was a great entry, creative, intelligent and all wrapped up with a lesson. The plans Mr. Domingo has were so spooky b/c they seemed possible, dare I say probable? Shudder. Great atmosphere - especially the ickiness that was intensified by him staring at Miss Honeywell. Your attention to detail is awe-inspiring.
Sharlyn Guthrie04/20/09
Well, Mr. Domingo got what we all deserve, were it not for grace. His sinister plotting and behavior toward Miss Honeywell made me glad to see him get it. I agree, the plot is disturbing, but probably because there's so much truth in it. Love your creativity!
Dena Wilson04/20/09
This was a great story. I was locked in the whole time. Mr. Domingo scared me knowing that this people are out there thinking these thoughts. I loved what happened at the end.
Jim McWhinnie 04/20/09
Sheer brilliance! With sentences so masterfully crafted and a story so vivid and imaginative, I found myself going to writer's school on this story.

My, you are so talented.
Sheri Gordon04/21/09
The first paragraph and the last paragraph sum this man up perfectly. Loved the opening and ending, oh, and everything in between. Excellent take on the topic--so original. Amazing writing and creativity, as usual.
Yvonne Blake 04/21/09

Eerie!

"What does it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?"
Myrna Noyes04/21/09
Your characterization of Mr. Domingo as a cold, heartless, evil man was perfect! His "flunkies" were just the spineless "yes-men" he needed to carry out his plans, too! Great writing! :)
Carole Robishaw 04/21/09
There was a Twilite Zone show once that had a man wake up like this expecting to be the richest man on earth, only to discover that costs had risen so high he couldn't even afford to ride the bus.

Very good, I was so glad he got his just desserts, or is that desert? Hot, dry, hmmm?
Ruth Ann Moore04/21/09
Wow. I did no see that ending coming. As always, superbly written.
Joshua Janoski04/21/09
I don't think you went wrong at all with this one. I think you accurately portrayed the attitudes and actions of many executives in corporate America today. Not all of them are cold and heartless, but many are out to see their shareholders pleased no matter what the cost to society.

The ending didn't surprise me as much as it did some people. I knew that a man this evil had to be headed downward. This was excellent writing. Your point came across loud and clear.
Connie Dixon04/21/09
I'm always amazed at the creativity of your writings. This entry was amazing (again).
Gerald Shuler 04/22/09
The Dictionary.com definition of satire is:

"a literary composition, in verse or prose, in which human folly and vice are held up to scorn, derision, or ridicule."

You did that perfectly in this story that lifts up Mr. Domingo to the readers for review. The readers that have left comments were certainly full of scorn, derision and ridicule of the MC's evil ways.

You succeeded as a satire!
Laury Hubrich 04/22/09
Oh man - a plan gone wrong - ergh. Poor Mr. Domingo:) Very good story. Wow. Brilliant writing. Almost scary how clever you are;) LOL.
Beckie Stewart04/22/09
Oh my goodness. This was so well-written, but what a sad tale of truth as well. Like the way you showed the deception of the enemy with the vices of our world.
Sharon Kane04/22/09
Brilliant portrayal of a man wicked to the core, and of the shock that lies in store for all the Mr Domingos. It's characters like these that have me looking forward to judgement day.