Short – “The Cardboard Box”

A rampant fire danced within the confines of the fire place. It cackled lightly as it consumed pieces of firewood. Above the hearth Benjamin Franklin, trapped in his frame, squinted at Harrison. The lumens from the fire, casted an auburn tint over his clothed body. The light provoked a sheen over his freshly shaved cheeks. His gray hair shimmered in the dimly lit room. From his pipe minute puffs of smoke elevated until they magically dissipated.

He looked around to revel in his wealth. On his walls he traced the numerous busts of animals, non of which he killed. They were ornaments from the previous owner of his manor. He continued to admire his furniture. His chairs contained hunter green cushioning and were framed with Brazilian Rosewood.

His eyes fell to the red velvet rug beneath his feet. A smile surfaced on his face. The cardboard box in front of him pleased his emotions. Along the sides the words “this side up” with an arrow were printed. The joints of the box were tattered and torn. Abused and maligned tape were still weaved around the injured portions of the box.

He thought to himself, that here he was, an incredibly wealthy man, but a simple cardboard box could easily make him smile. It reminded him of his past, the days of when he had to scrap for a meal in garbage cans or beg for spare change on the streets. And his shelter during that period was none other than the box resting on his rug.

He could remember the day vividly. It was almost a year ago that he was huddled below and overpass. It was a very convenient spot for him because across the street contained five of the major fast food brands; McDonald’s, Burger King, Papa John’s, Subway, and Wendy’s. Whenever he salvaged any money, he felt normal because he still had the ability to choose what he wanted to eat.

If he wanted veg he could have Papa John’s, if he wanted fatty food he could order a burger, and those days he felt concerned about his health he could have Subway. He knew his situation was dire, but finding the positive in life helped him survive.

The stoplight turned red and another herd of vehicles waited for it to change green. Harrion picked up his sign and trudged from car to car. He wasn’t picky, but any little could help. He knew there would be a bias towards him, just like there is with any homeless citizen. But instead of dwelling on the negative, he smiled and thanked each person he met. He thanked them for recognizing his existence.

he arrived at another vehicle and asked the gentleman inside for spare change. The man inside replied with a five dollar bill. harrison was taken aback.

“That’s a lot of money sir. I only asked for spare change.” Harrison explained.

The stranger looked at hime and smiled.

“I can tell you have a good heart and the fact that you refuse to take so much from a stranger despite your situation proves my theory. Take the money and buy a meal. God knows how long you have starved.”

Harrison’e eyes began to well up as he accepted the money. With his hands clasped, Harrison continued to thank the friendly stranger repeatedly.

The stoplight turned green and his savior accelerated away. Harrison opened his eyes but sulked in sadness. He never got the man’s name. He decided to abandon his post for a lunch break and headed to Wendy’s. but on his way he noticed an advertisement for the lottery in the window of a convenience store. Apparently the jackpot was up to $245 million. The cogs inside his head began to work and he concluded that it wouldnt hurt to take a risk. He went insdie and used two dollars for his endeavor and the rest to buy a sandwich with fries at Wendy’s.

He went back to his carboard box and ate the first meal he had tasted in a month. He savored every sensation as it melted in his mouth. He pulled out the lotto ticket from his hoodie pocket and looked at it. A tiny smirk escaped his lips. It was ludicrous to him how people waste so much money on a dream, but he suddenly realized that he just did what he mockeed everyone for doing. He knew he wouldn’t win, but his only concern was where his next meal would come from. He tucked the ticket into his pocket and went back to his post.

Thursday and Friday passed by and Saturday morning was upon him. He checked his pockets for any money and felt the ticket paved against the wool. He had completely forgotten about his little gambling risk. The drawings were last night, but had no way to find out the winning numbers. So the only plausible thing to do was to go back to the convenience store.

Inside he handed to clerk his ticket. After scanning the ticket on the machine bells were ringing and howling as the tiny LCD displayed jackpot winner. The clerk was aghast and Harrison stood in disbelief as everything around him seemed like an alternate reality. The impossible had happened. He was now the owner of $245 million.

Harrison rose from his plush armchair and sat in the fetal position within his box. He looked up at Benjamin Franklin and smiled.

“You and I have a lot in common Mr. Franklin.”

The painting remained smirking.

“We’ve both gone from rags to riches, old chap.”


One thought on “Short – “The Cardboard Box”

  1. I liked this. You have.. an ear for words? I don’t know, that’s the only way I can describe it.
    And Subway does not count as fast food! It’s health food for fat people (and me)! D:

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