Sunday, November 6, 2011

"Replenishment"

      A drop in the river, someone thought to treat it like a wising fountain and tossed a nickel in it.  The young boy whose nickel it was, had seen it done at the mall’s ornate water fountain numerous times, but he was nowhere near there now, and he so desperately wanted to make a wish.  Flags to Delight, that’s what he wanted to call his store when he would become of age and be mature enough to manage his own business.  So a nickel here, and a penny there…three dimes over here and a quarter somewhere else to boot, each coin would eventually bring him closer to his wish. 
     This was David Alistair, a young boy with wide open eyes and a big dream to target them on.  That big dream of his, was to open a store of custom-crafted flags in his hometown of Cornertown.  It wasn’t a lofty dream, it was grand.
      David wore buttons, that he made himself using a button-maker kit his mom gave him for his 12th birthday.  The button he was wearing today read, It’s Good To Dream.  Yesterday, he wore one that said, It’s My Birthday In 10 Days!...and so it went, David had a customized button nearly everyday, and an indelible dream that was etched in stone.
      “….Sweetie, here’s your milk, take it into the living room and grab some cookies to go with it…” Charlotte Alistair was such a doting mother.
      “Mom……when’s grandma’s birthday again?” David asked.
      “Not till next month….why do you ask?”
      “I’ve made six buttons for her….one for each decade she’s lived…”David’s wide eyes gleamed with pride.
       “….I’m sure she’ll appreciate the buttons sweetie….now don’t forget your chores after your milk and cookies….and David, where did this new book on the kitchen table come from?” Charlotte asked with great curiosity.
      “Yes mom, it’s a book about the stock market…”
      Fifteen years later, after having read more than his fair share of books on the stock market, David Alistair became a somewhat cynical grown-up…..
     David, having left behind his dream of one day owning a flag shop, had become a stock broker on Walls Street.  He was at his second home in Altertown, when he dropped the newspaper onto the coffee table in dismay.  The stock option to buy into a fledgling manufacturing corporation was no longer available.  The company Urbanite Tools manufactured industry standard hardware tools. 
     David still believed that even with the computer age upon us, the nuts and bolts of society still needed tools to maintain it.  Even the plants that used robotics to increase employee output still relied on hardware tools for repair.  This current news did not start the morning in a good way for David, but he had to push himself out the door.  His appointment with Dr. Chapman was just an hour away, giving him the time to stop by the local coffee drive-thru.
     Meanwhile on the other side of town, Christopher was almost late for work, he actually worked for Urbanite Tools.  He was the dispatcher for the Urbanite trucks that delivered the tools to various venues.  He helped to make sure each of the twenty-five local trucks were equipped with the hardware merchandise and that the drivers had their destination addresses on hand.  He too, had an appointment with Dr. Chapman, but his was during his lunch break.
      Inside the offices of Urbanite Tools, Danielle was smelling the aroma of the brewing coffee and was wondering to herself, exactly what time the Board of Directors was going to have their meeting that day?  As one of the founders of Urbanite Tools, she had a great chance of being voted Chief Executive Officer by the board members. 
     She too had answered an ad put out by Dr. Chapman seeking out volunteers for a mental wellness test.  In exchange for coming into the test, each participant would receive movie passes for two, good all throughout the year!
      There were twenty phone calls to Dr. Chapman’s office the day that the offer was announced over the radio, but he narrowed the candidate count to five and now three of them had appointments with him at different times this sunny Tuesday.  The other two, had appointments for the next day.
     Then outside Marion’s house, the sprinklers had come on and another routine day lay ahead for the Sanders family…
     Marion was a housewife with four active bank accounts.  They were checking accounts that she paid certain bills out of.  The first account was with Bustling Bank and it covered these expenses; groceries, dry cleaning, ballet lessons, exercise classes and coffee splurging expenses. 
      The second account was with Stellar Bank and it covered these expenses; soccer expenses, karate classes, diet supplements, hair appointments and exercise DVDs. 
     The third account was at Starling Bank and it covered; the mortgage, house insurance, vehicle insurance, landscaping, the purchasing of new vehicles and the exterminator. 
     Finally the fourth account was with Beeline Bank and it covered; clothing, vacations, donations, computer equipments, electronic gadgetry, CDs and household cleaners.
     This was not a comprehensive list of all of Marion’s expenses, but if she was going to run a household and treat it like a business, then her husband Gary wanted her to learn how to budget.  Gary took care of all of the other miscellaneous expenses.
     What was different in Marion’s life now, was that she wanted to write a book on (of all things) financial budgeting because she had become quite an expert at it. 
     She used a popular spreadsheet called EXPAND and tallied everything.  She wrote checks from the four bank accounts for each of the corresponding expenses they covered.  It was brilliant how Marion’s life had become so organized.
      She had shoe boxes to keep her receipts separate and when her husband had set up a computer scanner for her to use, she scanned in images of all of those receipts and so then, she had electronic images of them also.
     She began a newsletter about the changing micro-economy that she managed.  She wrote that the soccer uniforms for her son that year were in short supply, so she had to anticipate his getting taller and buy next year’s larger size too.  She wrote that the exercise DVDs had become more intricate in their physical fitness difficulty level, so she didn’t have to buy as many.
     She wrote about the pumpkin pie mix at the grocery store and how there had been a run on them just the other day and the best Internet places to acquire pumpkin mix coupons.
     She formatted all the articles neatly in their little bordered boxes, complete with clip art.  These newsletter blogs became the material for her would-be self-published book on budgeting that she wanted to appropriately title “A Budget From Marion.” 
     Marion felt that this was the way that she was going to give herself a salary.  The proceeds from the book sales would become her own personal fund source.  This was going to be her project, her own personal creation to pay herself.
     The problem manifested itself by way of the self-publishing fees.  She needed $250 to initially pay for the fees, plus periodic marketing fees which she figured she would save up for from the initial book sales.
     She was well on her way, because she pushed aside money from the dry cleaning from the Bustling Bank account and the charitable donations expenses from the Beeline Bank account.  However, Marion ran into problems because no matter how she divided the financial pie, there was only so much to go around.  She wanted all of this done without her husband noticing any of it.  After all, this was her project.
     To take her mind off of her financial worries, she answered Dr. Chapman’s ad as well, because she wanted to surprise Gary with the free movie tickets that were good for an entire year, for their wedding anniversary.
     At the medical office….
     Dr. Chapman pulled down three books located in different places from the upper shelves, in a one-at-a-time-sequence.  The whole front side of the shelf shifted to the right to reveal a hidden control room.  His office was or course locked from the inside out, from any unwanted visitors…
     There was a visual of a tall tree with a mini-satellite dish perched on top of it….waves of transmissions splitting the air as the communiqué between his home planet, where that tree was planted and his office on Earth began….
      “Do you have the psychological questions,” his commander asked from across the galaxy.
      “Yes, we’ll find a candidate soon.  I’ve narrowed the field down to four possible ones,” Dr. Chapman answered.
      “Can you give me some background information on these four?” Commander Laser asked.
      “Yes, David is a stock broker, Christopher is a dispatcher for Urbanite Tools and Danielle is on the Urbanite Tools’ Board of Directors.  Plus of course there’s Marion, a very busy housewife.
       Dr. Chapman and his people have a wayward gene cell, it prevents them from moving forward in life.  His race of beings are called the Cyberians and they desperately need down-to-earth human cells that have the potential of superseding the wayward cell found in each of them.
      10 days later, out of all the survey applicants, Dr. Chapman knew that they had found their subject specimen – it would be Marion.  Her answers shone brightly out of all the applicants….
     Here were her answers…
      Is half of anything ever enough?
     I would be happy with even one fourth of anything.  Life is bountiful and even half of anything is plenty enough.
     What was the most profound sentence that you ever heard?
     “It’s a boy!” when my son was born, because there is a link between us, one that I share with my daughter too.  Children are such miracles of life. 
     Is marketability the key to wide-spread influence of a product?
      I will soon have a self-published book that will be my very own product and yes I definitely think that letting people know about your product is the way to sell it.
     Do you prefer to feel the rays of the sun on you or are you more apt to sit in the shade?
     Oh, I love being both out in the sun, as well as being in the shade.  Each has its advantages.  It depends if I’m wearing sun block or not.
     When you’re driving your car, do you prefer to have talk radio on or regular music?
     I love regular music, but if the topic on talk radio is also interesting, I will listen to that too.
      If you could play any sport for a living, what would it be, would you make up one that suited you?
     The key I’ve found to sports and exercise is repetition.  If you do five push-ups, followed by five jumping jacks, you will have done an exercise set.  It’s just repeating a movement for a few different repetitions.  In my mind, exercise is just repetition and sports performance is just the result of exercise preparation.
     What are the top five names that you would give to an iguana?
      Larry, after my butcher; Tiffany, after my hairdresser; Gary,after my husband; Dustin, after my son and; Kate, after my daughter.
      If you wanted to amplify the theater sound for an orchestra, what expert would you turn to?
      Dustin has a good friend whose a D.J. and knows a lot about acoustics.  His name is Leonard and he would know how to amplify the sound in a theater.
      Days later….
      “Marion, you’re a healthy specimen for my research.  It has to do with er…er.. cancer.  Yes, that’s it.  I would like you to donate blood samples so that I can observe your healthy cells.  How does that sound to you?” Dr. Chapman asked.
      “Well, yes, but I might have to charge a fee, you see I’m saving up for self-publishing fees…” Marion said.
     “Yes, we can accommodate that, plus marketing fees too – if you need them,” he continued.
     Dr. Chapman recognized that Marion had made something of her life and although her answers seemed ordinary, they were very normal compared to the other applicants’ answers, some of which were way over the top.
      Therefore, Marion solved her problem of how to pay for her self-publishing fees and Dr. Chapman and the Cyberians received an influx of Marion cells to combat that one wayward cell that each of them had.
      For Marion, it was a replenishment of money and for the Cyberians, it was a replenishment of good cells.

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