The Envelope

I always took a walk with my 14-month-old daughter in the afternoons after work. A single mom, I couldn’t afford to do much else.

It was the beginning of October in our small town in Kentucky. The leaves were barely browning, and a few crunched under the wheels of the stroller as I walked the quiet road near our house. Just a few homes dotted the way and all were owned by people long retired.

Upon making our second round, I see a crumbled and dirty paper laying under a rock in the middle of the street. As I neared and my eyes focused, I could see it was a worn and stained envelope; the corners of money bills peeking through the top. I looked around. I had not seen or heard anyone on the street.

A bloody envelope found at the crime scene used as evidence in the OJ Simpson 1995 murder trial.
A bloody envelope found at the crime scene used as evidence in the OJ Simpson 1995 murder trial.

I removed the rock and picked up the envelope. Again my eyes swiveled up and down the street. I suddenly felt exposed and vulnerable. I grabbed the stroller and headed to the safety of our home.

Once inside and behind locked doors, I opened the envelope. It contained $2,000 and a note. It read:

Go to the pharmacy and you’ll find more. Bring the envelope with you.

I looked at my shabby house. I glanced at the pile of bills on the table. My eyes moved further into the kitchen. The sink broke over the summer, and I could not afford to fix it, much less hire a plumber. I was tired of washing dishes in the bathroom. I looked down at my gorgeous sleeping baby. She needed new clothes and a toddler bed.

I left the baby with my neighbor who was happy to watch her when I picked up extra hours at the diner and drove to the pharmacy.

I realized I was still wearing my uniform dress and apron, and wondered if I should have changed so as to conceal where I worked.

Once parked, I scanned the lot. No one was around. The streets were dark, and the pharmacy closed in ten minutes. On top of a trash can with a heavy, metal lid sat a large, flat rock. I got out, heaved the rock to the ground and opened the large envelope that was underneath.

I pulled out a black ski mask, gun, more cash, and another note:

Take care of the pharmacist or we will take care of you and your daughter. When the job is done, put the first envelope with the cash under the rock at the corner of N. 2nd and E. Beall.

Crime scene photo from millionaire Greg Williams' murder trial. He was killed by his own gun.
Crime scene photo from millionaire Greg Williams’ murder trial. He was killed by his own gun.

I sucked in breath and dropped the note. My thoughts raced.

“What am I doing? Oh God, what am I doing?”

The gun felt strange in my hand. I had never held one before.

I pictured my daughter’s tiny hands and thought of how she reaches to touch my face. I wiped my sweaty palms on my apron, slipped the mask on, and headed into the store.

A note from the author: Freaked out? I hope you enjoyed this work of fiction I penned to celebrate Halloween. The photos are, however, actual crime scene photos. 

Stupid or Genius? The Duality of Following a Dream

When I announced six months ago I was quitting my easy, fluffy, well-paying job nestled safe in the sweetly secure bourbon industry to start a freelance writing and graphic design business and to be a novelist, the reactions from family, friends, and co-workers ranged from envy to shock to genuine happiness for me.

“You are following the right path,” some would say, including my supportive wife, knowing my passion for creativity and affinity for writing.

As confident as I may have appeared, my balls were small, shriveled, and dainty as I cowere (1)

“I think you can do this … but how?” my mom said wanting to both offer her support and caution, her forehead wrinkled with worry as it was every time I told her about one of my big life changes.

“Oh, I could never work from home. I’d sleep all day and never get anything done,” was a strangely common reaction. I always thought but never said aloud, “Not if you wanted to continue to eat; not if you did this impossibly brave or undoubtedly stupid thing and announced it to the world and now they all are watching you to see if you will fly or fall; and not if you have dreamed of something your entire life (writing a book, in my case) and you now finally have the opportunity, nay, the balls, to do it.”

Yeah, balls. I said it. As confident as I may have appeared, my balls were small, shriveled, and dainty as I cowered in my bed for three months of sleepless nights due to this decision of dream-pursuing I made. But they were adequate enough to ride upon into either heaven or Hell.

Most were unbelievably supportive, though I did have one friend irreparably damage our friendship with her biting criticism of my decision to follow my dream.

I definitely do not have room in my life for anyone who is not going to prop me up during one of the scariest decisions I’ve ever made. She was demoted down several tiers off my friendship mountain. I doubted myself enough without having someone else do it for me.

People much older than me loved my gumption – often saying they wished they had spent their lives doing something they loved – or looked on me as if I was a teenager going out to buy her first mustang with no references, no job, and no down payment.

“A freelancer?” they’d say, their voices raised in confusion. Most did not understand the amount of money that can be made from the Internet. Most didn’t think about the sheer amount of content forced through the pipes every hour of every day to feed hungry news channels, attorneys’ blogs, social media, product reviews – someone was writing all of this so that every morning when the world awakes, there’s a fresh batch of newly written words for eyes to feast upon.

I’m your word chef, and I now proudly serve you.

The doubt passing through their eyes as they repeated freelancer didn’t escape me. It’s a doubt I never met back when I would tell people I was a paralegal or a corporate journalist. Those jobs had merit. Those jobs were concrete. Those jobs were easily understood. Freelancer? I guess there isn’t any at-a-girl’s to offer or to understand, even if I’m a business-owner too.

Or is there? Now that I am 6 months in, I am happy, however cautious, to report the decision to quit my job and build a business around my natural creativity seems to have been the right one. Business is great. Part one of my dream is going well. I am far too critical of myself to ever claim any of my ideas are “genius” though I can concede that I have proven myself capable of the task.

“But Mary, what about writing that book?” Oh, you mean part two of my dream? Now that my business is financially stable, I am ready to begin. In fact, I began Saturday.

So, writing a book with little experience … stupid or genius?

writing-1560276

I’m doing it.

I’m beginning to live a dream where I write all day everyday and make a living to do it as a freelance writer.

“I learned this, at least, by my experiment; that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”

-Henry David Thoreau, (Walden)

My favorite things to write about revolve around relationships, a subject I am passionate about and so felt it the most suitable topic of my blog. I write about all relationships – friends, family, lovers and interactions with strangers – the good and the bad.  I love to think about human nature and to describe it in a way in which other folks may relate. I explore the dark side of human nature, as well as the love. I have a skill for describing emotion and for dunking my readers into the sea of a situation so deep, they know how it may feel to be a parent, to be in love or to be stabbed in the back without ever having experienced these things. Other readers like to read a description of an emotion they’ve felt that they could never describe before. To relate.

Aside from writing true tales of emotional experience for readers to experience or relate, I’ll also provide useful information and tips regarding love, sex, marriage and kids.

Enjoy.

If one is so inclined to need a bit of writing for your own blog or business, a resume, content for email, articles, or whatever kind of content you require, please feel free to contact me at mary@anglincoulter.com.