Income Statement for 2009
Benjamin walked from his job towards the bank, his first check in his hand. The thought of having some real money was exciting. His stomach growled with hunger so he quickened his pace and got to the bank that much faster. He filled out the back of the check and waited in line. It was fairly busy and an old woman at the window was obviously deranged because the teller had to explain simple things several times. It even distracted the other teller who had to take time to help. He was hungry for goodness sake. When the old lady finally left he stopped tapping his feet and rushed to the window.
“Hi, sorry for the delay, Mrs. Mclere is a bit …”
Ben waved his hand.
“I’d like to cash this.”
He pushed the check across to her.
The teller brushed a few loose strands of auburn hair from her eyes.
“Do you have an account with us?”
Ben looked at the check for a moment? Should he put some in my account? It still has the same fifty bucks it started with when his mother set it up, it could use more, but, maybe next time.
“Yes, I do, but I just want to cash it.”
“Ok, may I see your ID?”
Once outside and walking towards home he opened up the envelope and looked at the huge amount of money that was in it. He had never had that much money before. His stomach gave a cry of hunger. He reached into the envelope and pulled out a dollar. He folded it in half and put it in his mouth. It was so sweet. It tingled as it went down and left a nice taste in his mouth. He ate several ones while he walked. As he crossed to the other side of the overpass he saw the homeless man holding a sign. The traffic was light, and the man was looking around. His eyes rested on Ben. Without a moments thought, he shoved the envelope into his pocket. He smiled though as he put a five into his mouth and chewed with exaggerated expressions of delight as he passed.
The following day he counted the money. He had eaten a third of it! That was ok this time. He’d be more careful to conserve until he got paid next, and then be sure to make it last.
Income Statement for 2011
Benjamin sat at his new desk and smiled. There was plenty of room for advancement here and he could make sore serious cash if he did well. He could not wait to get to the first check from this job. He thought back to the first check from his first job. It had seemed like so much back then, but it seemed like nothing now. After two years his checks, while technically a little bit bigger, seemed to become smaller and smaller. It just wasn’t enough. His car payment, his apartment, both of those took a lot of his money. He didn’t mind a whole lot, since the car was new and the apartment quite a place to live. But, like the day when he had cashed his first check, his stomach was rumbling. For breakfast he had only had a few ones. Lunch was going to be a five, and probably another five for dinner. Sometimes he could eat a ten for dinner, but he had to make it last.
Benjamin ripped off the calender sheet from the previous day and wadded it up and dropped it in the wastebasket. It hit the rim and fell to the side. He left it there. That was what the janitors were for. He looked at the current days calender sheet, knowing what it would say. “Payday.” It was going direct deposit right into his account at noon. No more waiting in lines at the bank. All he needed was an ATM machine. He was going to celebrate at lunchtime.
At twelve oh one he was still on the phone with a client. He tapped his foot to the silent drum beat of impatience.
“Yes, yes, I understand. I will work on that just as soon as I can. I’m pretty busy here and … yes I know, I understand, this is a time sensitive matter.” He listened to the client on the phone, rolling his eyes. “Look, I’ll tell you what. I can push these other things back. I’ll work on your account just as soon as I get off the phone with you. Was there anything else I needed to know, or … that’s it? Ok, I’ll get right on that! … No problem, glad to help.”
Benjamin replaced the phone on its cradle and pushed back from his desk and stood from his chair. It was lunchtime!
Thank goodness. There was no one at the ATM machine. He would savor this. He got the maximum amount he could withdraw daily. As the bills slid from the machine, he felt that anticipation that starts as a weight in your stomach then drops down and sneaks up to the back of your tongue and tingles. His mouth watered. He swiped the cash and shoved it in an envelope. He always forgot his card, but the ATM beeped and he grabbed it then walked briskly to his car. He started it up and began driving in the stop and go traffic. The park was only two blocks away. He cursed at the red light. He couldn’t wait. He took out a twenty and stuffed it in his mouth. Oh my … it tasted like a slice of pure joy. He closed his eyes and reveled as his tongue melted from the taste. A horn blared and he opened his eyes. The light was green. He gunned the engine and swallowed the twenty. Another curse. So much for savoring that.
At the park, he sat on a bench. The next twenty he savored. He left it in his mouth until it dissolved and he had to swallow it. The third twenty would have lasted just as long, but when he shoved in the fourth twenty, it was like a piece of candy that you wanted to make last, but you could not help yourself from chewing. He chewed and swallowed them both. He was considering a fifth twenty when his cellphone rang. It was his boss, he was ten minutes late already, and he still had to drive back. Apparently he was going to be working late today.
Income Statement for 2012
Benjamin inhaled. It smelled like window cleaner, but underneath that, he was sure there was the smell of a new office. Not even twenty-four yet and he had his own office. He took in the view from the high rise window as he adjusted his new suit. His old one had needed replaced for two reasons. That thing just didn’t have that newness to it anymore. You can’t look sharp in an old suit. It had been a little small on him too. This one allowed him to breath. He turned around when the phone on his desk beeped. He walked over and pressed the blinking button.
The cheerful voice of his secretary came through the speaker.
“Your client is here to see you.”
“Send …” he glanced at his calendar. ” … her in.”
After a moment, the door opened and his client walked in carrying a binder. If what was in that binder was what he was hoping for, he would have a big bonus. He looked at her face. He forgot about the binder. Was it possible for somebody’s eyes to be that green? Something opened up inside him and it created a desire that wasn’t anything new, but it had never been this strong before. She stared back.
“Benjamin D. Preside?”
Ben realized he had been staring.
He smiled and offered his hand. She shook it. Some invisible lightning passed from her fingers up his arm.
“Georgia Washington, correct?”
She nodded. He motioned to the desk.
“Have a seat!”
Income Statement for 2013
The table was set. Candles, fine wine, and dollar appetizers were laid out on the table in a intricate way. In the kitchen awaited the main course of a five, and ten, and a twenty. Georgia opened her eyes. She beamed from the surprise. Benjamin knew that she loved all the little things he did for her. This was a big thing though, so she would really enjoy tonight. Dessert would be the best, though. For that he had planned a diamond ring.
Income Statement for 2018
Andrew played with some building blocks in the living room. He stacked block upon block, making the tallest tower in the world. Georgia put the cooled meal into a reusable container and put it in the fridge for Benjamin. At work late again. At work? She doubted it. She sat down in Ben’s recliner and watched Andrew play. Ben had gotten those blocks for Andrew’s fourth birthday, just over a year ago. She turned on a romantic comedy movie. Mostly, it made her sick instead of making her laugh.
Benjamin took some quarters from his pocket and popped them into his mouth. There were only a few pennies left in his pocket. No problem, he was heading home, no need for more snacks. Hunger was nearly an all day thing. Got to keep on eating. He really liked what he saw tonight. She was beautiful. He went outside and headed for his car.
He opened the front door and walked in. Movie credits rolled up the TV screen.
“Dinner is in the fridge, cold.”
Ben set down his briefcase.
“As long as I get to eat!”
He bee lined for the food.
“Where were you? How late did you work today?”
He opened the container and began eating with his fingers, not even warming it up.
“I was at the boat dealer.”
Georgia shot up from the recliner.
“You were at the boat dealer?”
“What? Yes, so?”
Andrew began to cry.
“How can you possibly go to the boat store and worry about buying yourself a damn boat when my car leaks oil and wont even start sometimes!”
Ben just stared at her.
Georgia turned away from him and let out an aggravated cry, throwing her hands up in the air. She turned back towards him, her finger a judge, jury, and executioner.
“I quit my job to stay home and raise my son. You said we would be ok, but you wont spend a dime on anyone but yourself unless you absolutely have too! If you didn’t eat every last cent that you weren’t saving for your damn boat … ” Fire raged in her eyes as she stared. All Benjamin did was stare back until the fire in her eyes flickered to lifelessness and she walked away.
Income Statement for 2020
Ben sat in his recliner and stared at the blank wall. He had eaten everything. There was nothing left. He had swallowed every last cent of his boat before he had even bought it. Then he proceeded to sell and eat everything else in his house that he could live without. Where had his wife and son gone? When had he seen them last? Over a year ago? Outside a loud car drove by. He gazed out the window. He should go get something to eat, but, he could hardly move from his chair. He hadn’t gotten out much since he had lost his job. He had only eaten more and more, though. Had he really needed to steal that money? Had he really been that hungry? Surely he was hungrier now, though. He almost hefted himself off of the chair, but decided he didn’t have the strength to move the large mass of his body. He fell back into his chair, and stopped caring.
Officer Grant found the front door unlocked and entered, Deputy Lincoln behind him, fanning the air in front of him with his hand.
“Peeew! This place does stink. No wonder the neighbor called and complained!”
Grant led the way, cautiously. He had been shot at before when no one had responded to the “Police!” announcement before entering a house. He was going to be ready. If it happened again, the perp might be a better shot this time. He sniffed the air again. It didn’t smell like anything that had been alive recently. Still, that was no need to be careless. They rounded the corner into the living room. Lincoln turned away from what he saw.
“Awwww man, that’s disgusting!”
Grant looked at the dead man on the recliner, then around at the austere surroundings, and he knew.
“I bet this man loved money so much he ate himself to death.”
Lincoln turned back around.
“What? How can you tell?”
“Well, he obviously ate a lot, and he probably sold everything just to eat more.”
“I still don’t see how you can guess that.”
Grant shook his head.
“I used to love money that much. I was eating it all the time, but I wasn’t consuming it, it was consuming me.”
He shook his head again.
“I got turned around, though. It wasn’t easy and it took me a long time, but I decided to use my money in other ways, better ways.”
Grant turned around and unhooked his radio to call it in.
“I’d never go back to that way of living, never again.
The wizard Tatch was forgetting things. He knew that the books and papers were around somewhere, but his memory was fading and his azure spire held so many bookshelves and so many books, without remembering exactly where they were, he simply had little hope of finding them. He had known this day might come, the day when he would start forgetting things, but it came far sooner than was expected. Some wizards who knew many spells and had used a great deal of magic would begin to lose their memory. Some wizards had forgotten everything quickly, but some were able to keep going for a long time, but slowly their mind would vanish, bit by bit. Tatch had begun researching a spell that would prevent this memory loss, or possibly even reverse it. The problem was, he had already begun to lose his memory before he began researching.
In the process of trying to discover what was needed for the spell, Tatch had discovered some other helpful spells, such as a spell that increased learning ability, a charm for school desks that helped focus students attentions, and a enchantment for books that would cause any book enchanted with the spell to speak the words on its pages to anyone who wanted to hear. This was a big hit for drivers who went on long caravan travels, merchants with long routes, and workers with less mind intensive jobs. All could listen to the words in the books while still being able to work on other tasks. These were all great spells that helped the world, but they did not help anyone who was losing their memory. Tatch found some of his research papers, sat down to work on them, and found himself staring at them wondering what he was trying to do. He realized that he had forgotten again, knew it was incredibly important, and clamped his hands down on his wizard’s hat in distress and began to cry.
Quirl, Tatch’s familiar saw this and resolved to do something about it. Quirl was a brightly colored bird who had once been injured and on the brink of death, but Tatch had took him in and healed him and imbued magical abilities upon him, including speech and morphed talons that allowed him to carry a larger range of objects that normal. Quirl was very sad to see Tatch in such distress and flew out if the azure spire and rose in the winds above the city.
Tatch’s tower rose high into the skies above the city of Melange. Melange used to be a frontier town with very little to offer anyone except for a bit of lodging and rest on the way between larger cities. It had been settled by the survivors of the rampage of Ghast the Black Dragon. Ghast had destroyed three large cities that were near each other and the few survivors banded together to form a new town, Melange. They had nothing to almost nothing to their names, but they survived. Tatch had arrived one day in Melange, set up a small tent, and proceeded to perform little tasks around the town for free. He helped crops grow better, weather stay a bit nicer, and even gave the food in the inns an extra special zing that travellers began to notice. Soon the town began to get more business and grow. After just a few years, the town was a city, a hub among all the large cities, and a true home for Tatch. The spire was a tower of life to the city. Tatch had done so much for Melange and its citizens, and continued to do so to this day, and had never asked for anything in return. Quirl knew it was time for them to give back, and he knew that asking was almost more effort than was required to make it happen.
Quirl flew through the town, stopping to talk to citizens of Melange at many shops, inns, and residences. He spoke mainly to people who had been in Melange from its beginning. He told them of Tatch’s plight. He was losing his memory, but he was trying to discover what was needed for a spell that would heal his memory and the memory of others who were forgetting. The citizens listened, held meetings, and decided what they needed to do.
Everyone who was able went into Tatch’s spire. They began to recount tales of their memories of Tatch any time he was not able to remember something he needed to for his research. The sparking of old memories rejuvenated his mind for short periods and allowed him to continue his efforts. Tatch had never been a very organized wizard, so many helped put notes and books and papers into an organized system which helped Tatch find things easier. Others helped with small experiments, made food for Tatch and everyone else helping, and before too long, Tatch had a breakthrough.
After researching tediously over many months, Tatch discovered what was needed for the spell. He had found the right ingredients, special words, and complex gestures required to rework the mind so it would stop forgetting, and even remember what had been forgotten. It took him a long time to cast in on himself, and he needed much help to get through it for his mind was in and out of usefulness quite more often than before, but after several false starts and failed attempts, he cast it successfully. His memories flooded back to him, and stayed.
The city of Melange thrived on. Tatch shared the spell with the world and many older wizards were able to regain their memories. Even the elderly of non-wizardly nature were healed of similar plights. The research of the spell led to many other discoveries that led to spells that healed many with diseases of the mind, dementia, schizophrenia, and psychosis. The world never forgot about it, either.