The Money Wish: A Short Story by Emily Medlock – Part II of III

As hard as it was to comprehend the fact that we were rich, it seemed to be true. For a while I kept trying the man on the phone, tracking him, and understanding if it was a scam.

But nothing came up. He didn’t exist. I called him, he answered, but when I asked the cops who it was, they said I was talking to a dial tone. When I had my wife call him, he answered and talked to her just as if she were me.

Pretty soon, I accepted the fact and I had made a large donation to the organization. The one that was studying the effects of the cure. The cure that had the ability to fight off the cancer that was attacking my wife’s body. Within weeks, it was ready for humans. Though only those in the dire state that my wife was in would qualify at first. So for once in our lives, the severity of her sickness was a blessing.

I didn’t know what they did to her as I was wrapped up in the puzzlement of the money we’d been given. The doctor asked me to transfer her to a larger hospital in the city for treatment. The trip and the stay would cost thousands. A couple of months before then, it wouldn’t have been possible, but now…it was free…relatively. In no time she was healing, back to her old self.

I was the happiest that I had ever been in my entire life. At first, we did little, just simply enjoyed each other’s company. It’s amazing how you really start living life after you almost have it taken away. It’s true what they say…that you don’t know what you have until it’s gone. Little did I know the weight of that statement…

Changing Seasons

I gave my wife, as well as myself, a few days to adjust to life again before planning anything major. In days, I had decided to quit my job, but with little intention of doing anything but spend the rest of my wife thanking God for my wife. Unbeknownst to me, she had other plans. In fact, she was the first to mention the “donation”.

“Let’s talk about this.” She told me one day as we sit at our humble home eating dinner. I told her of the entire encounter and somehow she believed me. “This is God’s gift…we need to use it…”

Rather than speak about a new house, car, or way of life, my wife suggested we start with the charities focused on children. “But how? How much? We can’t really donate an unlimited amount!”

“But we can…” My wife smiled. “We can fund them and they can take what they need.”

“But…” Somehow my human instinct of greed kicked in even though greed was no longer relevant when we had an unlimited supply of money. Still, something didn’t seem right. “We can’t use our name. I don’t want any questions asked. I don’t want to expose you to the press.”

My wife agreed, giddy at the chance to fund those charities. We started with children’s charities under an anonymous company that my wife created online. She also opened a business account for the money to be transferred into. While she moved onto cancer foundations, animal cruelty, and whatever else she was doing, I started looking for the perfect house.

It didn’t take long. I knew my wife had always wanted to move to Hawaii. So, I pulled her away from the computer long enough to tell her. She seemed excited, but quickly called someone and started talking about hiring managers to look after different departments of our donations.

After we moved, I started noticing slight changes in the world. At the airport, since my wife refused to order a private jet. I turned to my wife and said, “Honey, did you donate to the homeless charities?” I noted the absence of homelessness at the usually dingy airport. The place was nearly spotless.

“I donated to every charity trying to make a difference, my love.” She patted my shoulder before turning to hand the flight attendant a couple of hundred dollar bills. I cringed at her inability to remain anonymous. “You know, it’s hard to get cash.”

I was puzzled.

“We have more money than there is cash in the world. We’ll create a new supply and demand before long.”

Her comment haunted me all the way through to the moment I realized that my premonition wasn’t all that crazy.

Somehow, mere weeks after that day, Rachel and Liam, our prodigal children found out that we had moved and were living in a “not so humble” house in Hawaii. They were there in hours. Their presence angered me. Just last year they had left me and my wife, feeling that she was a burden and I was too hard on them. The only face that brought me joy when they returned was that of a baby that Liam held in his arms.

The look in my wife’s eyes, as priceless as it was, only brought me sadness. They were here to use her…she knew that…yet, she couldn’t turn them away. They both looked like they were doing fine for themselves. But Liam’s girlfriend had left him, and Rachel who had run away with college money used it to blow on who knows what. She had dropped out and was living with a roommate…until the moment she decided to look us up. The two didn’t stick around, but they were in and out of our lives, much to my wife’s relief. Liam even used her as a babysitter on occasion, which she was forever grateful for.

Liam's baby

Sitting at our new home, months after arriving, I turned up the television to hear a disturbing news story, “It seems that due to political changes, the country is bringing in a profit like never before. But rather than gaining from the loss of other countries, the entire world is seeing the light end of this profit. But how is this possible?”

The story said that since this gain in income was being seen, that we’d also see a spike in prices all over the world. For weeks I’d denied that the stories of the cleaned up streets in the cities, the providing of doctors in third world countries, and the cure for diabetes, cancer, and other diseases had been discovered had anything to do with me.

My wife’s scream alerted me as she spoke, “I’ve invested in some companies who’ve agreed to raise the pay rate of their employees!”

My heart sank. All she ever talked about was her investments and charities. Little did I know how connected her investment and the rise in prices would be. Pretty soon, milk would cost $20, leaving our economy at the exact same place it was before. Prices had gone up, income had gone up…nothing had changed.

“Remember that homeless guy that always sat in front of the grocery store back at home?” My wife said one day to prove the change was real. “Well, he just told me that he went to the car dealership and they’re out of everything new. All they have s a few lower class used cars.”

“How is that possible?” I asked. But I knew. Supply and demand hadn’t caught up with what we were doing to the economy.

“So, I’ve invested in the dealership as well as the companies providing the cars.” She told me.

“How do you keep up with all this?” I was astounded.

“I have bookkeepers, assistants, advisors, and accountants. Doing our taxes was tricky; luckily I found the best of the best. The government thinks we’re investors.” She said with a laugh. “Our employees are the best paid in the business. I pay our accountant and our janitor the same. You would not believe how hard it was to find a janitor. Everyone’s going to school through funded programs.”

I nodded, watching TV once again. For a while, I’d go out and do the things I’d always wanted to do but it all got really old…way too fast. The pressure of having no job, no wife, and no life was getting to me. All I had wanted was to spend more time with my wife, but curing her had taken the time I had with her. The irony was anything but funny.

You’d think that hearing that they’d created a new American currency would surprise me, but at this point, I’d been zapped of emotions. Though when I saw my wife was on the front of the new $1,000,000 bill, I fumed!

“Surprise!” She told me when I confronted her. “Word got out that we were responsible for a few large investments and…I knew you’d say no…they said it was me or Oprah…and well…our businesses is leading as far as donations go.”

“Of course I would have said no! I said to stay anonymous!” I tried to keep calm. “How hard is that?”

“Why?” She shrugged. Since I knew fame was not on my wife’s mind and her intentions were pure, it was easy to forgive her. “We’re investors; no one needs to know anything else. Don’t be so cynical, no one will ever find out our circumstances. We’re just like any other celebrity now. Or at least I am. I told them you prefer to stay out of the spotlight. Oh! I almost forgot…they’re trying to overthrow the government. They want a new democracy. Equal income. I don’t know what they’re planning, but I hope they don’t start a war.”

Since somehow, my wife had given nearly everyone in the world not just an opportunity, but money, it was easy for the government to be overthrown. In America at least. Thankfully, no one was hurt. The president knew there was no use fighting it. The conservatives fought the liberals but for some reason when money was taken from the equation, no one resorted to violence. This was puzzling, but with guns readily available and money no object, everyone was too afraid perhaps to harm anyone else. As hard as they had fought for their beliefs, soon, there was no political party, no ruler over the states. No borders…no rules. Countries had lost their independence. Lawyers and law enforcement lost their jobs.

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All those college students that had rapidly gone to the universities that my wife had funded had stopped altogether. There were about 5% of the students who still attended and only 1% of the teachers remained. People were finding that money was too easy to obtain and that the harder they tried, the less money they received. The once poor were being given out whatever the needed. Those who were born into wealth were brought down to everyone else’s level and those who worked hard for what they had were given little in return.

Even nurses, doctors, and scientists quit working like they were before. The economy was now a series of rises in prices and drops in incomes. Every hole that appeared, my wife tried to fill, making things worse. It wasn’t long until our infinite funding was nearly useless. I was surprised when a gallon of milk reached $5000. Little did I know the day would come when there would be no milk…no grocery store…no businesses.

No one did anything they didn’t want to do. Farmers had left their life, groceries stores had no suppliers, and factories had shut down as the workers had quit their jobs. The supply of fresh food had dissipated, each individual fending for themselves, living off the land and what was left of prepackaged food. The streets were filthier than when they were overrun by the homeless, who now lived in empty houses that had been on the market prior to their life change.

The world was really starting to look like a scene from a disaster movie.

My dear wife with nothing but good intentions had created…the apocalypse.

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