… was a man who lived in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, and was the personal physician to Lord Byron. As well as a doctor, he was also a writer.
In June of 1816, after being a part of a group who all read aloud from a particular collection of horror stories, it was suggested that they should each write a ghost story.
It is because of this, primarily, that we were invited to visit with friends in Charlotte, North Carolina this weekend. Every 6 months or so there is a group who meet and share their creative written works, completed or otherwise, for the rest of the group. The general rules are an unwritten limit on time (ie, 10 page readings are generally frowned upon), an expectation that it is a new work (the idea being that it was written that day, or in the day or two beforehand), and a general air of support and positivity. It isn’t so much a place to critique works (although that can be performed later), as to simply share ideas with each other.
Before reading your piece, you have the opportunity to make a disclaimer. In my case, I am not a fiction writer. I’m not good at making up stories. Typically, my best opportunity is to take a real event and either try to adjust it or totally change it so that it works but is not the same. In this specific story, I have to concede that neither the original story, nor the idea utilized in it are totally mine: I’ve read three similar stories in a book several years ago, and decided to try my hand at the idea. I also apologize to anyone who understands banking a lot better than I do.
This is the story I wrote and shared on Saturday:
For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his wealth.
And unto one he gave five talents, to another two talents, and to another one talent; to every man according to his previous performance; and straightway joined the great queue that was for airport security, where he did wait upwards of forty five minutes.
Then he that had received the five talents went and traded on the stock market with the same, and made them other five talents.
And likewise he that had received two talents, he also gained other two talents.
But he that had received but one talent went and deposited in a local savings bank, with a minimal interest return, and hid his lord’s money.
After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.
And so he that had received five talents came, saying, “Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five more.”
His lord said unto him, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.”
He also that had received two talents came, and said, “Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two talents other beside them.”
His lord said unto him, “Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.”
Then he which had received one talent came and said, “My master, how was thine flight? I trust the staff did treat you well and granted unto thee many blessings of food and wine.”
His lord interjected his blathering and said unto him, “The flight was fine, the food, I have had worse. Now, where is that which I entrusted unto thee? I wish to see what thou hast done with mine wealth.”
“Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and I was uncertain of the stock market and how it doth worketh, and went and hid thy talent in the local savings bank, with minimal interest return: lo, there thou hast that is thine.”
His lord answered and said unto him, “Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not: Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to bonds with a good history, or gold, or perhaps put it unto reliable enterprises who grant dividends, and then at my coming-”
And he did stop speaking, for he was distracted by the sudden weeping and gnashing of teeth from those who had doubled their moneys, and asked of them what was wrong.
And they did look up from their intelligent telephones, with looks of great horror, for they had just seen the news.
And they did share the news with their master, for he was looking at them expectantly.
And they said “It has just been reported that the companies in which we had bought stock are failing, and the value of our shares has dropped unprecedentedly.”
Their lord opened the drawer of his desk and withdrew a bottle and four small glasses.
And he said unto them, “Well, I suppose we can ask the government for an bail out..”