Hello fellow sentient organisms! Boy, it’s been a while. This one’s still in the early stages of development, and not my typical story type, but it was fun to do. I wrote it for a class I’m taking now and is based on a conversation that took place at the dinner table a few weeks ago (it’s probably for the best that you don’t ask). So without further ado, enjoy!
EDIT (1/7/2018): This story has been taken down because I’m submitting a heavily edited version to Scholastics. After that is over, I’ll put the newly edited story back here.
EDIT (2/11/2018): Look what’s back! Now that Scholastics are over, I’m putting the new and improved story up. I’m proud to say that it received an Honorable Mention in the Comedy category.
If there was anything anyone knew about Mrs. Tucker, it was that her potato salad was to die for, and that her husband made a killer steak. They were hot items at every potluck, dinner party, or picnic, each of which the couple attended and collaborated often. Their son, Hank Tucker, was just as social as his parents, easily drifting between groups to charm his way through a conversation, and leaving party-goers feeling flattered and at ease. The family was friendly with many, and well-acquainted with everyone they knew. They hardly ate dinner alone; food was better in good company, after all.
This evening was just like any other. Their plates cleaned, guests lingered at the table, comfortably stuffed with kidney bean casserole and pork chops, bursting at the seams with merriment. Their guests, Charlette and Harrison Young, had brought the offering of a Merlot, and red wine filled the glasses of every eligible individual.
The Youngs were regular guests at the Tucker’s. Flamboyant and indulgent, the Youngs found joy in the extravagant, and were never seen looking anything less than royal. Allison, their oldest daughter who would soon be off to college, planned her life around a whim. It wasn’t uncommon for her to come home with a new boyfriend or Michael Kors handbag every other week.
Her parents had similar tendencies. Both held jobs in human resources, working for small up-and-coming businesses, but they always found room in their limited budget for the newest technology or the sleekest vehicle. As far as they were concerned, life was meant to be enjoyed in luxury, regardless of the cost.
“And then I said,” Charlette relayed with flourish, “I’d have to sell everything I own to even consider the prospect!”
The gathering broke out into chorus of laughter.
“Really, though,” Harrison elaborated when the laughter quieted, “it costs an arm and a leg to live in New York. Attending college there? With our income?” He left the thought hanging in the air as Mr. and Mrs. Tucker nodded in polite agreement while Hank watched the conversation unfold.
“Cornell’s beautiful. I’d love to go there,” Allison added, “it just costs so much.”
“You know,” Mrs. Tucker chimed, “there’re always scholarships. Lots of them, for all kinds of things.”
Allison shrugged. “It sounds like it’s so much work. It’s not like there’s a guarantee that I’ll get anything, anyways. We’ll figure something out.”
Mrs. Tucker nodded, her strained smile going unnoticed to all but her son, who silently agreed; with that approach, Allison was going to have a hard time finding the money she needed.
“Maybe not the best way to go about it,” Mr. Tucker plugged, “but if you’ve saved enough, you might not need to look for scholarships.”
At this, both Harrison and Charlette chuckled lightheartedly, passing a look between themselves.
“We don’t do that. Our budget is tight as it is,” Harrison tossed. “It’s silly, in my opinion. Setting aside all that money. Ha! Could you imagine how much better off everyone would be if they kept their money on hand?”
Hank scowled as if something particularly unpleasant had landed in his stomach. He now understood where Allison’s attitude came from. Such lack of foresight, such entitlement, such outright idiocy! Oh, what he would do to give Mr. Harrison Young a piece of his mind. Nevertheless, he kept about himself, folding his hands above the table.
There was an uneasy quiet that spanned no more than a heartbeat before Mr. Tucker, being the only member of his family that wasn’t about to pop an artery, rose his voice in question.
“Then how do you plan on paying for college?”
“One way or another, we’re not sure yet,” Charlette informed with a nod, “it’s very frustrating.”
“Oh, I can imagine,” Hank purred coolly. “There’s this guy I know of in town. I don’t know his number off the top of my head, but he might be able to help you. I could shoot you a text, Allison, later? So you can get in touch with him.”
Allison nodded eagerly in agreement, brunette curls bobbing merrily.
“That’s very thoughtful of you, Hank,” Charlette paused while a hum of agreement buzzed around the table. “What sort of thing does this man do?”
“Financial advisor. Helps people find money, really sticks his neck out there. His market is a big one, that’s for sure.”
“That’s encouraging. Putting yourself out in the finance world…that’s not something for the weak of heart.”
The Tucker’s took the out that Charlette gave them, diverting the conversation from college to credit, discussing issues and breakthroughs in the economy. From there came a mellow debate concerning current politics, and lighthearted chatter filled the rest of the evening, until the Youngs departed, thanking their hosts for the meal.
Later that evening, Allison’s phone lit up with a buzz and a chime. She took the device down to her parents and relayed to them the phone number that Hank sent her, before returning to her room; the conversation wouldn’t pertain to her anyways.
They waited for the ringing on the other end of the phone to be replaced by a voice, and they didn’t have to wait long. Halfway through the fourth ring, the tone ended.
“Rick Nath speakin’.”
The voice was gruff and sharp, as if the man on the other end had been interrupted.
“Hello. My name is Harrison Young. My wife and I are having some money trouble, and we’d like to set up an appointment with you to discuss some options for college funds.”
Harrison was answered with a rough laugh.
“Not the first time ah’ve heard that one. College, yep, that’s a doozy. Can ah ask how ya got this number? New folks like yerself don’t tend to call mah personal phone.”
“Sorry about that, Mr. Nath–”
“…Rick. A family friend, Hank Tucker. He–”
“Hank! Yes, yes, helped the Tuckers out with a similar issue. Straight to business, then.” Something – it sounds like paper – is moved around on the other end of the phone. “Don’t waste yer time, or mine, with an appointment. Got a list of top sellers right here. What’re ya willing to give me?”
“Well, we haven’t really thought about it yet we were just–”
“Ah see, ah see. Ah’ll list a few off, and ya can tell me what sounds good.” He clears his throat. “Gallbladders are pretty common, don’t need ‘em anyways. Livers are good, if yer not a heavy drinker. Leave a bit in there and they grow right back, they do. Only need one kidney, and those sell fer a hefty amount of cash–”
Now it was Harrison’s turn to interrupt Rick.
“What are you talking about?!” he sputtered, nearly stunned into silence.
“Ah’m talkin’ about yer organs. What ya think ah sell? Girl Scout Cookies?”
Harrison Young aggressively hung up the phone.
The Youngs never attended another dinner with the Tuckers.