Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: PROCRASTINATE (08/04/16)
TITLE: At the Last Possible Moment
By Brenda Kern
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“Rudy!” Carla yelled.
Rudy trotted over. “What’s up?”
Carla explained her problem, and he set about figuring it out. “Yep, there’s something stuck in there. Your hands are smaller--while I lift your cash tray, you reach up there and snag it, can you?”
Working together, Carla pulled out the offending paper, which turned out to be a $50 bill.
“I’ll walk this over to the customer service cage and explain. They’ll know what to do with it, Carla.”
Rudy walked over and Carla watched him hand over the bill. Rudy knows my name! Oh, wow!
Rudy turned to her and winked, making her wonder if he could read her mind. Then she turned back to her work with a blush and a smile. Now this has been a really good day.
The next morning, Patsy got a call from her younger sister Betsy for the fifth time that week about the same subject.
“Patsy, you know the potluck is tonight. I pulled a casserole out of the freezer yesterday, so I’m all set. What are you bringing? Have you even started going through your recipes yet?”
Patsy was grateful that this wasn’t an in-person conversation. She could keep the annoyance out of her voice but not off her face. “Since Chip’s layoff, we’re very tight on our budget and I can’t afford to make anything. I signed up for paper plates and napkins. I’ll swing by the discount place after lunch and pick them up.”
“That place is going to be a nightmare on a Saturday afternoon! You should go now. Why do you always wait until the last minute? Wouldn’t your life be so much less stressful if you just planned a little better, and were a little more organized, and if you could—“
“Betsy, stop lecturing me. I’ll get what I need and meet you at the fellowship hall later. ‘Bye, now.”
Ten minutes of deep breathing exercises later, Patsy was herself again. She put a load in the washer and made lunch for the family.
After lunch, her oldest boy informed her that he had a major science project due Monday. And that he had no idea what he wanted to do. So she sat with him and they pulled it together.
After another laundry swap, she looked at the clock. “Oh, boy, I’ve got to get a move on.” She left instructions with Chip on what the kids were to wear and made a gentle suggestion on his choice of attire, then flew through her own shower and prep.
She jumped in the car and prayed for all green lights.
At the store she was dismayed to see that Betsy was right--a total zoo. She shopped as quickly as possible, then got into one of the long lines to check out, worrying about the time.
When she handed over her card to pay, some kind of siren went off and a light started flashing over Carla’s cash register.
“You’re our one thousandth customer! Congratulations!” Carla said.
Someone from the customer service booth came over and handed her an envelope. “Thanks so much for shopping here! We appreciate you!” After a few VERY quick photos, Patsy rushed to her car. The envelope held a very old $50 bill and a certificate for $50 off her next visit. Patsy swiped away a tear and prayed. “Thank you, God. This will help so much.”
At the church she handed over her paper goods and scooted into place beside Chip and the kids, who looked reasonably clean. Mission accomplished. She had just enough time to tell Chip about the $100 windfall before the program started.
Later at home, she showed Chip the money and certificate, and he remarked on the condition of the fifty, smoothing it out. “It’s from 15 years ago, and… wait a minute.” He was still mumbling to himself as he wandered off to his office.
He hollered to her. “This bill has a misprinted serial number. It’s one of only twenty bills that were printed this way and it’s worth--“
He erupted into stomping and whooping, and she ran to look over his shoulder at the screen. He pointed at a number, and, whooping herself, she thought We’re not going to lose the house. God, you outdid yourself this time.
And whooped some more.
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