I was approached by Managing Editor Anthony Rao of FOCUS Magazine in Lake County to participate in a fiction anthology. Each author was asked to continue a story about a self-absorbed man who is sent on a quest to find six people that would be willing to carry his coffin when he died. It’s a spin on the concept of a modern A Christmas Carol or Scrooge, where a person who uses people as a means to an end is forced to evaluate his life choices in the hopes that he can redeem himself.
I provided chapter ten, in which the main character, Michael, has just learned of another big client that he lost to his greed. He’s at his bottom, even though he’s had a few small successes throughout his journey, some maybe significant enough to be a pair of his Six Hands. But what he doesn’t expect is to be reunited with someone he thought he’d lost.
If you’d like to read the chapters preceding mine, visit FocusLakeCounty.com first. If not, I’m providing a few paragraphs as a teaser and a link to the rest of the story.
Six Hands Chapter X
by Jaimie M. Engle
Michael sat in a bar in Yonkers that he’d not frequented before. The dim lights cast angular shadows across the glazed cherry wood bar top. After his meeting with yet another client who’d pulled business away due to Michael’s backward priorities, he was feeling defeated. Sure, he’d reached out to a few people from his past who seemed genuinely willing to give him a second chance, maybe even be a pair of hands carrying his coffin; but overall, he realized how badly he’d screwed people. How many others sat silent on the sidelines? He didn’t want to know. Instead, he’d decided to get sloppy drunk, in a bar where he didn’t know a soul, and never had to face again.
“Something ya wanna talk about?” the old-timer serving drinks asked him.
Michael peered up, catching the man’s concerned gray eyes. But the eyes reflected in the glass lining the bar behind him, pricked the tiny hairs on the back of Michael’s neck.
Who was Michael Jason Green?
A multi-million dollar producer? A financial genius? A fraud? A thief? An empty shell of a man who’d sold his soul for fifteen minutes of glory?
“Sir?” the bartender prodded. “You gonna be okay?”
Michael smirked. “That’s the big question, isn’t it?” He swallowed the rest of his drink and ordered another double; his third, maybe fifth…he wasn’t counting….
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