GUEST POST from Don – The Winner

(A short, short story for your amusement.)

They met at university.  That can happen.  It still does for many.  Sometimes it lasts a lifetime.

They were both enrolled in the same school of business, the same year, the same advisor.  Fred and Nan also were both winners.  They had always been at the top of their classes and captains of their winning high school basketball teams.  And, they could not stand one another.  Both had a desire, a drive to be FIRST, TOP, and/or BEST.  Fred was.  Nan was.  On tests and quizzes neither missed a single point.  In their experiments and labs every result was flawless.  You can’t exceed perfection … and thus Nan hated Fred, Fred hated Nan.  

It wasn’t long before everyone started calling them “the twins.”  “Did you see the looks the ‘twins’ were giving each other after class?” one fellow student said to another.  

“Ya!  Daggers!  Flames of fire, if she could.  Lightening bolts, if he could.  Very odd creatures, they.”  Mostly their classmates called them “curve breakers.”  No one else could “earn” an A+ with a score of 99 when there were ALWAYS two with perfect scores.  The highest their classmates could hope for was an A or A-.

Their junior year, they were still tied and 100% absolutely on everything.  They were also so “nerdy” that no one even thought to date them, though neither was hard on the eyes nor incapable of interesting conversation.  When time came for the Junior Dance Fred had no partner, so he decided to ask Nan to be his date, only when he tried to ask her SHE asked HIM.  That started it.  Competition was their relationship then and it continued ever after.

They both enjoyed the dance and the conversation.  They both found they actually liked the other.  It was inevitable that they actually became “the twins.”  Soon if you saw Fred, you saw Nan, although most of the time that was in the library studying or in the dining hall sharing a lunch table.  

By the middle of their senior year they became engaged (he asked her), and met the families (she asked him).  Interestingly, both families were in favor of their marriage.  So in favor, that they outdid each other with engagement parties.  Apparently the need for competition was genetic.

The August after graduation they married.  Nan gained employment at a large corporation and Fred by another.  It wasn’t long before they were competing over raises and positions.  Honestly, since neither was a slacker, they both rose incredibly fast.  They knew their stuff.  They were very good.  They worked well with others.  They expected top work from their subordinates, got it, and rewarded it.  They excelled.  And within just a few years each was working as a vice president with hundreds of staff and employees under their guidance.  Life was good, except there were few hours together during the week…due to meetings, strategy retreats, and such.

Then Nan outdid him, she became pregnant (he couldn’t do that).  But he could be the best father ever.  He was.

Actually, they were sane parents.  While Nan was pregnant they came to a sensible agreement about that.  The kids would always be “off-limits” for one-upmanship.  So Fred was a very good father and Nan was a very good mother, but better could be found I suppose.  Parenthood was not a competition.  So their children, although very talented and very loved weren’t very spoiled.  They did not know how competitive their parents were, since neither spoke of it.

Of course, it was natural, since it was genetic, that their children were over-achievers, too.  The kids never gave a thought to anything but perfection.  Why should they?  They were brilliant, capable, and driven.  Whatever they determined to do, they did it.  However, Fred and Nan never pushed or even spoke of working to get A’s, instead of B’s.  They didn’t have to.

Of course, in due time, there were smart grandchildren, too.  The heredity kept rolling because it was so very strong.

One thing being brilliant and competitive cannot do is prevent aging.  Fred and Nan aged gracefully…as gracefully as anyone can.  They were not satisfied with being like others, even in this realm.  So, they jogged and played tennis and swam races.  However, age steals abilities piece by piece.  And so, they eventually aged normally.  He had a bum heart valve.  She had a small stroke.  It didn’t matter.  They would “beat” these common maladies because they felt the world owed it to them.  They were, after all, far above average.  

Even with their hard work at staying fit, eventually Fred grew feeble and still tried to do it all.  He no longer could.  It made him mad, but he had to outperform Nan, and he made sure he did at every opportunity.

Nan, even with her stroke, outperformed Fred at every opportunity.  She made sure she did.

Then one day her daughter found her on the floor.  Another stroke, a major one.  She ended up in a hospital room and found herself crying.  She couldn’t win.  She couldn’t dress herself.  She couldn’t even form words correctly.

On the third day, the doctors gave her a little hope when the tests showed she had avoided damaging the part of the brain which meant the most to her, math skills.  She couldn’t write or speak very well, but she could do computations.

Fred was preparing the home for her care.  He set up the library with a hospital bed.  He would do all he could to care for her when she came home; and she knew it.

On day nine, her daughter entered the room earlier than usual with a grave look on her face.  She blurted, “Dad had a major heart attack at breakfast.  As the emergency medical technicians were taking him to the emergency room he had another.  He didn’t make it.”  And she cried hard.  He was her rock.  Not all grown children had a father who stood behind them all the way, as she had.  Someone who listened without judgement.  Someone who found the right loving words at the right times, for the right reasons.  

Nan couldn’t say much.  In fact, she didn’t need to say much.  However, she mustered the control to say the one thing she needed to say in that moment which she had wanted to say so many times before.  So, with utter clarity she breathed, “Bastard!”

In July I have something I am writing for Independence Day.  I like to invite others to share their creativity from time to time.  If you have a poem, artwork, or a writing which fits Independence Day please submit it to Owly’s email (label it for “July 4.”)  She has some standards for submissions.  I am not in charge of her site, I’m merely a guest.  

[PLEASE NOTE that Don is always open to discussing the thoughts and opinions he shares here and welcomes comments as shared in the comment section. He doesn’t use other social media platforms and won’t see whatever you’d like to share with him if you post it elsewhere.
ALSO, Don is always open to offer his thoughts on various topics. If you have a specific request, you can let him know in a comment; he reads – and replies to – them all. ~ Sherry]

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4 thoughts on “GUEST POST from Don – The Winner

  1. My stories are written mostly in verbal language. They are best read aloud to a friend. Try it.

    I always read them aloud to my wife (sometimes she has useful corrections). When the kids were younger I read stories to them, too.

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