Archive for January 29th, 2012

29th January
written by amber


When he entered the waiting room, the old woman turned and smiled, clutching a glossy photo in one hand. She had no teeth, so it wasn’t a pretty sight, but Nathan stepped toward her anyhow, holding out his hand and introducing himself.

“I’m Nathan Sinclair, Ma’am. I’ll be your facilitator today.”

“My what?”

“Facilitator. I’ll be staying with you through the entire process. I’ll make sure you’re comfortable and explain all the procedures to you. If you need anything or if you have any questions, I’m your man.”

She drew herself up with as much dignity as she could, in her filthy ragged clothing. “Is this going to cost me extra?”

“No, ma’am. The entire fee is already covered.”

“Well, I’d just like to know by who,” she stated, plunking herself down onto one of the off-white couches. “I don’t have that kind of money and I don’t know anyone who does.”

“Ma’am, it has been donated anonymously.”

“Stop calling me ma’am.”

“Well ma-” Nathan began, then started over, “They told me you’re called Scabs where you live, and you wouldn’t give another name when they brought you in. What would you like me to call you?”

Expressions flickered across her face. Nathan thought he saw confusion, anger, sadness and, finally, a shrewd cunning. “Call me Ann – for Anonymous.” Then she seemed to reconsider. She asked, “They’ll still do it, even if I don’t give my name? I got family who don’t know about the way I live.” She held up the picture. “I’ll still get to look like this?”

Nathan patted her shoulder, trying not to cringe at the dirt-encrusted fabric of her coat. “Yes, you will look like that. You’ll be healthy, young and beautiful.” And clean, he thought.

“Oh,” she breathed. “I can’t wait. I’ll be back to what I was twenty years ago. I used to get $250 then, but I bet I could get a thousand now, easy.”

Nathan turned away to hide his disgust. He never could understand why the anonymous donors threw their money away on street people. It was always a waste.

“Let’s get you into the preparation room,” he said, walking quickly ahead of her, keeping his distance, dialing up the volume of his earmic so his music would drown out her muttering.

He didn’t hear her say, more to herself than to anyone else, “I hope it’s not too late to send Marie that money so she can go to college.”

The Story 365 project is a year-long marathon of short story writing, with a new story for every day of the year and posted on this website from May 1, 2011 – April 30, 2012. Stories must be a minimum of 200 words. Please help me by adding first line or topic suggestions in the Comment section of any story. If you’d like me to use your name in a story, I’d be happy to do that.