Drawing Attention … December 19th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Christmas Addition

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art by smarrttie panntts

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Published in: on December 19, 2018 at 3:09 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Drawing Attention … December 19th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3892)

Christmas Addition

(tap the picture to see the video)

art by smarrttie panntts

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Published in: on December 19, 2018 at 3:04 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Jubilators … December 18th, 2018

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Jubilators

Every afternoon from now until Christmas we will be posting sittings from the story, “Jubilators,” for your enjoyment. Good reading and Merry Christmas!

Sitting Twenty-Three

Meanwhile, the Next Morning…

Shelley was the last one to arrive at work. Ten minutes late. Her feet felt like they were stuck in glue and her brain was clouded with doubt and disgust. She hated herself. She was accustomed to disdaining some of her own personal choices, but now, it was deep-rooted. She knew she was on the verge of deciding between darkness and light, but she just didn’t care. How could she care? After all, caring always had a price tag. It cost something—and in this case, caring would cost her a job, her reputation, her finance and her security.

It was too high a price to pay for the ego trip of goodness. Her reluctance to move brought her to work tardy.

Dunlevy and Markins had already called Lisa and Timothy into the conference room to discuss the plan of action for the anti-Charrleen campaign. Shelley walked into an atmosphere already thick with the anticipation that her arrival would proffer great ideas on how to squash the “singing bug.”

Shelley actually had come up with seven ways to discredit Charrleen. They were evil, cold and pernicious, but they would be fruitful (if by fruitful, you mean to kill, steal and destroy).

Before going to the conference room, Shelley stopped off at the copy machine to print off her proposals. She picked them up, walked into the room and was about to hand them out when she glanced up and saw Mr. Dunlevy’s smiling face.

What in the hell he was smiling about? Maybe he thought it was necessary to sue Charrleen—a natural business step. Maybe he had weighed the factors, debated them in his mind, and had put forth a plan of action for the purpose of salvaging the dignity of the company. But why would any of that make him smile? Why was he smirking?

It pissed her off. No…it infuriated her. Tears of rage bulged in her eyes.

Mr. Markins spoke. “I see you brought some papers. Are you going to pass them out?”

Shelley stepped across the room, facing all four of her associates. Lisa and Timothy sat quietly, perplexed over Shelley’s reticence. Shelley took the pages in her hand—five in all—tore them in half and threw them into a trash can.

Mr. Markins frowned. “Are you changing your plan?”

“No,” said Shelley, leaning forward on the table. “I’m changing my mind. When I came in here this morning, I had convinced myself there was nothing damnable. Nothing wrong. Nothing truly sinister if it was in the pursuit of helping this company. But as I say those words, I realize that wrong is wrong—even if it’s done in the name of Dunlevy and Markins.”

Lisa peered up at Shelley. “I thought we were going to go through with this,” she whispered.

Timothy turned to Mr. Dunlevy and Mr. Markins. “We went over to Shelley’s last night. I had Christmas M&M’s.”

Mr. Dunlevy frowned. “Are the three of you plotting behind our backs?”

“No!” said Shelley. “We’re plotting in front of your backs. Or something like that.” She shook her head. “This is all on the fly. We agreed last night that we would go through with your campaign to destroy Charrleen. But somewhere between the Xerox machine and this table…” Shelley knocked on the mahogany table, “I grew a conscience.”

Mr. Markins replied, “I don’t care what you grow. You can grow anything on your own time. You can grow tomatoes. I don’t care. You just need to do your job.”

Shelley put her hands on her hips. “And what is my job?” she demanded.

Mr. Dunlevy jumped in. “To create a negative advertising campaign to make Charrleen look as bad as possible so that we win the suit and sell lots of albums.”

Shelley looked at Lisa. Lisa glanced over at Timothy, who was still smiling. Lisa nodded her head. Before Shelley could say another word, Timothy piped up. “Gentlemen, I think we have a problem. You see, the three of us have an opportunity, and we’ve decided to take it. We should have given you more notice, but that would have been considerate. And since neither of you are accustomed to that word, we decided to just go ahead and do it anyway.”

“What opportunity?” Mr. Markins interrupted, glaring.

Timothy stood up and rapped his knuckles on the table. He pointed at Mr. Markins. “An opportunity to get a helluva long way away from you. I quit.”

Lisa leaped to her feet. “Make that two of us!” she shouted.

The two of them turned to Shelley, who paused, making her cohorts nervous. Finally, she spoke. “Yes. And I quit, too. I should have quit a long time ago. Ever since this Christmas project was begun, I arrive every morning, leaving my soul at the door. Who in the hell do you guys think you are? We’re done. All three of us. And if you want to know what our opportunity is…well, we’re gonna see if Charrleen has any room for three promoters who would like to see Christmas continue to kick ass.”

Mr. Dunlevy spoke up. “Well, we’ll just sue you.”

Mr. Markins added, “Well, we won’t sue you. But you’ve certainly lost all of your perks, and any severance package you might have dreamed possible.”

Lisa and Timothy headed toward the door. Shelley paused before leaving and said, “You, gentlemen, will be taken down like the clowns you are. Trust me.”

Mr. Dunlevy shouted after her. “You won’t work anywhere in this town!”

A chill went down Shelley’s spine. She realized that the network of public relations was small enough that he could make good on his threat.

Shelley, Lisa and Timothy stood together in a small circle, Shelley hyperventilating.

Lisa hugged her. “Calm down, calm down. This one thing we know—none of us are broke yet. None of us are in the poor house. None of us are homeless. But all three of us just did something really, really good.”

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Published in: on December 18, 2018 at 9:36 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Jonathots … December 18th, 2018


Jonathots Daily Blog

(3890)

handbook for touching

She approached her shopping cart, unwilling to put her hands on it until she had removed a wet-nap from her purse, full of, I assume, anti-biotic, anti-virus and anti-people juice. She cleaned off the apparatus before she began her shopping.

I apparently was caught staring because she turned to me with a snarl on her face and said, “Nasty stuff. Got to avoid the flu bug.”

Likewise, during the wintertime, I attended a church with a minister in full ceremonial garb. It came time for the “passing of the peace.” He paused and explained to the congregation, “I must ask you not to make contact with your hands with one another. Since it is the flu season, please find another way to express other than physical contact.”

A little gleeful spirit leaped in my soul–I love awkward situations, which certainly are rife with comedy. I watched the people–who didn’t know what to do. Some tried to “fist bump,” but let’s be honest. Fist bumping is certainly not conducive to the sign of peace. Most people just gave up and nervously waved.

Needless to say, even though this was popular for a few weeks, the mass of humanity eventually realized that since we’re all in this together, then “together we will sneeze and cough.”

Even though you can pass the flu bug by touching one another, you can also pass along blessing.

Are you frowning over that statement?

Just like you can’t see the bacteria or viruses that cause the flu it is equally possible that the energy, the kindness, the mercy and the tenderness in human hands are not visible either, but are passed through touch.

And candidly, even the flu bugs that people pass to us give us a fighting chance to manufacture anti-bodies which are much more likely to protect us from the flu than acting like the whole world around us is filled with lepers.

 

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Jubilators … December 17th, 2018

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Jubilators

Every afternoon from now until Christmas we will be posting sittings from the story, “Jubilators,” for your enjoyment. Good reading and Merry Christmas!

Sitting Twenty-Two

Fired Up and Down

Shelley arrived at her apartment and headed to the kitchen. She quickly grabbed the bottle of wine from the refrigerator, picked out her favorite glass that she loved to hold in her hand and poured a double portion of the best fruit to ever grow on a vine. She stood, staring at her oven, sipping.

She had a new assignment. Mr. Dunlevy and his arch-conspirator, Mr. Markins, had requested she take over the “exit strategy” for Charrleen. Since they had decided to sue the singer for breach of contract, they felt there was great potential in creating controversy—people would take up sides. Sales of the song, “Great Jubilation” (of which they held license and lien) would double, perhaps even treble.

They gave her three ideas for sullying the innocent vocalist’s credibility:

First, point out that she had been a nobody or nearly a nobody when she got the opportunity to do the Jubilation song and was now entirely ungrateful.

Secondly, point out that because her ethnicity was unknown, she led a secret life, attempting to disguise her cultural roots.

And finally, that she dated many men, having illicit affairs without discrimination.

When Shelley first looked at the list they presented, she thought it was a joke—bad taste. When she comprehended that they were serious, she saw that her job security was based on how well she could take the young woman she had promoted to success and demote her as being an ingrate.

Garnering all her strength of her will and business acumen, Shelley told them she would report on her approach the next day. It was so dirty she felt filthy thinking about it. She took another large gulp of wine. She should probably eat something, but nothing sounded good. She should probably talk to somebody else about the situation but didn’t know who to call.

Suddenly there was a knock at the door—rather unusual since it was normal for the guards who were protecting her from the public’s animosity to ring her phone if someone wanted to see her. She set her wine glass down on the counter, walked cautiously to the door and spoke through it.

“Who… is it?” she asked tentatively.

“It’s Lisa.”

Shelley threw open the door. “How did you get up here? How did they let you by?”

Lisa stomped into the room. “I told them I was gonna kill you and they let me right through. I guess maybe they’re a little tired of the detail.”

Shelley laughed, not certain if there was any truth in the statement. She waited for Lisa to speak. After all, she didn’t want to come across inhospitable. Lisa trudged into the kitchen, found her own glass, picked up the wine bottle and poured herself an ample portion. She downed half the glass with one huge slurp.

Shelley followed her in.

Lisa began. “My mother once said that if you hang around assholes, you are destined to become one.”

Shelley nodded. Lisa continued, “My point is that we are working for assholes, which makes us assholes by default.”

There was another knock at the door. Shelley looked at Lisa, eyebrows raised questioningly. “Oh, don’t worry,” Lisa said. “That’s Timothy. We came together but he stopped off in the lobby because your candy machine has Christmas M & M’s.”

Shelley understood. Anything red and green could distract Timothy. She opened the door. Timothy was already munching and crunching. He offered her one, but Shelley turned it down, thinking it would not go well with her Merlot.

Timothy came in cheerfully and Lisa joined them in the living room, placing her wine on the table. She plopped down on the couch. Timothy sat next to her. Shelley placed herself in her big chair, waiting for them to start. But one drank; one munched.

Shelley ventured a guess. “I’m assuming by what you said, Lisa, that you’re upset with Mr. Dunlevy and Mr. Markins about the Charrleen situation.”

Lisa took another huge gulp. “No, no. I passed upset on 67th Street. By the time I got to 76th I was all the way to rage. And on the elevator up here I reached steaming.”

Timothy, who had been silent except for his candy sounds, spoke up. “I suppose we’re talking about Charrleen and the lawsuit?”

Lisa glanced at him, disgusted. “Yes, Timothy. That’s why we came here—not because we heard there was Christmas candy. We came to bitch at Shelley because she’s the one who got us into this. Remember?”

Shelley held up a hand. “Wait a minute! This wasn’t my doing. It’s just a job to me, just like you. I didn’t come up with the idea to change Christmas. I didn’t come up with the song. I didn’t hire Charrleen. And I’m certainly not the originator of trying to steal all her money.”

Lisa didn’t argue, but instead, posed a question. “Then what are we gonna do?”

“Well, we could quit,” Timothy piped up.

Shelley scoffed. “Oh, yeah. That would be really smart. Quit our jobs at Christmas time—coming into the worst market possible—the month of January.”

“Oh, I understand all of that,” Lisa contributed, “but you’re not really planning on being a part of disassembling the life of this beautiful girl?”

Shelley thought for a second, wishing she had her glass of wine but not willing to get up to go get it. “Yeah,” she stated. “That’s exactly what I plan on doing. My loyalty is not to Charrleen, it’s to my company. Right or wrong? I mean, if they were killing babies, you might have a case. But they rightfully want to sue someone who has breached the contract…”

Lisa interrupted. “And how did she do that? By having feelings? By second guessing herself? And you have to admit,” she tapped her glass with her fingernails. “The company is not suffering from any of this. The company is getting publicity by her questioning whether she’s doing the right thing. Everybody understands indecision. We’re all great at it. So, what’s their game?”

Timothy popped the last M&M in his mouth and offered, “Money. It’s all about money. It’s all about getting more money. If you need more power to get more money, then you have to get more power. If you have to get nasty to get more money, you get nastier. And if for some inexplicable reason you have to get nice to get more money, then nice you shall be.”

Shelley and Lisa peered over at Timothy. He had never spoken so many words at once that made so much sense. “Well?” he stared right back at them. “Am I right?”

Lisa downed the rest of her wine. “Well, I can’t do it.”

“Well if you’re not gonna do it, then I’m not gonna do it,” stated Timothy. They both looked at Shelley. “Yes, you are,” she declared. “Because I’m not gonna let you idiots quit. Some things sound like good ideas—because they promote good. But let’s be honest. Once we walk into that office and we smell that office smell and we see those two men who sign our checks, good is not gonna look good anymore.”

Lisa scrunched up her face. “So, Shelley…are you recommending we just play along?”

“Play is a bad word,” Timothy said. “Nobody should get hurt when you play. Charrleen is going to get hurt. To avoid total humiliation and litigation, she’ll have to settle. They’ll get her money. Then they’ll get more money because of the publicity.”

Shelley stood up, walked across the room and then turned. “I don’t care,” she replied. “I mean, I’m tired of caring. I’ve got to look after myself. I’m sick of having people around me who have nothing to lose, but they want me to lose everything. I’m gonna march in there tomorrow with ideas on how to obliterate Charrleen.”

Lisa looked at Timothy and asked, “How about you?”

Timothy didn’t even pause. “I like Shelley. I like working with Shelley. I will follow Shelley.”

Lisa sighed. “It’s so damn hard being a Jew. It wasn’t like Pharaoh and Hitler weren’t enough. Now I have to destroy a pop star.”

Shelley winced. “That’s kind of politically incorrect, isn’t it?”

Lisa laughed. “Oh, I’m sorry—it’s better to degrade a young girl who’s struggled to get her art in front of people, and now we want to snatch legitimate success from her.”

Timothy stood up, walked to the door, turned back and said, “If anyone asks, or if you want to know yourself, the Christmas M&M’s were good. I can recommend them.”

He opened the door, stepped through and was gone.

Lisa looked at Shelley. “You know, there are times he seems brilliant, and then, other times…well, mentally retarded.”

Shelley looked back at Lisa. “Once again, politically incorrect. Mentally challenged.”

Lisa stood up, handed her glass to Shelley and headed for the door. “Oh, Shelley,” she said. “I’m mentally challenged. There must be something wrong with my brain…to join the assholes.”

Shelley walked over and gave her a quick hug. “Relax, Lisa. Just close your eyes and hold your nose. It’ll be over soon.”

 

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1 Thing You Can Do This Week To Be a Better Person

PROMISES ARE NOT PROMISING

Though for a brief moment, our pride swells, our hopefulness inflates and our prowess among our fellow-humans may appear to soar, promises leave us with a single difficulty:

WE MUST DELIVER OR WE WILL START LYING

Once we start lying we can’t be trusted. When we are not trusted, we are eventually relegated to a position where people are willing to dine with us but not work with us.

The difficulty with promises is that they become two desolate deserts if we fail to deliver the goods: arrogance and foolishness.

Arrogance because we said we would be able to accomplish something and not only shared our intent but sealed it with the covenant of a promise.

Foolish because everyone wonders why we didn’t account for the thing that brought our plans down.

Yet we continue to promise that we’re going to give the money, win the game, be there on time and even be faithful until death do us part.

There’s nothing that makes us look more ridiculous than an unfulfilled promise, but people continue to feel the need to look powerful while ending up with a powerless claim. Society promotes arrogance–but we are all drawn to humility.

We expect people to overlook our foolishness although wisdom is regarded as a higher virtue.

If you want to do better, stop saying “I promise.” Instead, reply, “I think I understand what needs to be done. Here’s where my ability lies, and it’s available if you’d like me to take a shot at it.”

Nobody ever won a game, won a love, won the lottery or won salvation by making a promise.

So if you want to gain strength or be perceived as intelligent, offer what you have with humility, and apply it with wisdom.

 

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Jubilators … December 16th, 2018

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Jubilators

Every afternoon from now until Christmas we will be posting sittings from the story, “Jubilators,” for your enjoyment. Good reading and Merry Christmas!

Sitting Twenty

Musings of the Hopeful

Lit made an appointment to catch up with Christmas Carol and Holly Sprig. He also invited Everett Green, who showed up for a few minutes, but then had to “leaf”—which left a trio of friends. Lit provided the light, the color, the illumination for the season; Christmas Carol, the soundtrack, and Holly Sprig was the gorgeous vine, green with promise and red with richness.

There was a bit of anxiety for this year was quite different. Normally there were those who wanted to be “lit, sung into happiness or decorated with holly”—and those who didn’t. But this year, blessing had been scared away by the common cursing.

“I just don’t understand it,” said Christmas Carol. “I feel like I’m still offering great tunes, words, instrumentation and singers, so that the whole world, for a few moments, can close its mind to bitterness, and at least consider betterment.”

“I know exactly what you mean,” said Holly Sprig. “Interest seems way down. There was a little girl just the other day who turned to her mother, pointed at me and said, ‘what’s that?’ Would you listen? The little girl didn’t even know what holly was.”

“I’m with you, too,” said Lit. “I don’t think I’ve ever worked any harder to use my incandescent personality to dazzle the eyeballs of these mortals. But it seems they just put together television shows where they compete for the most bulbs without enjoying the light.”

“Well, I wanted to talk to the two of you,” said Christmas Carol, “because the others in the spirit world are all involved in their own things—presents and manger scenes—and it’s always fallen our lot to carry the brunt of creating the exhilaration of Christmas.”

“Don’t forget,” said Lit, “I provided the Star that helped get this whole thing started.”

“Well, I got the angels to sing,” said Christmas Carol.

Holly Sprig drooped. “I wasn’t around for the first one, but I’ve done okay…”

“You certainly have,” sang Christmas Carol.

“If you’ll let me speak,” said Lit, “I want to point out an important fact. It is not the reaction that we must be concerned about, but instead, our portion. Conclusions come, conclusions go, and are never complete until all is said and done.”

He continued. “All three of us know that a season that begins with indifference can often end in the greatest glee.”

“I remember,” said Christmas Carol, “back in World War II, in the dark days after Pearl Harbor, that no one seemed to want to have Christmas. But then, when they realized that their sons and their husbands would be shipping off to war it made the fire, the tree and the songs become even more important.”

Holly Sprig giggled like a child. “I remember that, too—so well. They hung holly everywhere! I was very popular.”

Lit beamed a smile. “And for a brief moment, while the world was thrown into darkness, people chased the light. So, my point,” he continued, “is that we should not give up. We must not grow weary in our well-doing.”

“Here-here,” said Christmas Carol. “Joy to the world, for the Lord did come. So, we should let heaven and Earth sing.”

“I’m going to try to make my berries redder,” Holly Sprig joined in. “I don’t know how I would do that, but I shall try.”

Christmas Carol chimed, “And I will work on my harmonies. Richer, fuller—praying that the memories of the lyrics will stir the hearts of those grown, to remember what they were as children.”

“My job’s easy,” said Lit. “I’ll just keep lighting up the world.”

The three of them were still inwardly concerned, but greatly uplifted by the fellowship. Whenever Holly Sprig joined with Christmas Carol, and included Lit, they became a beautiful trinity of Christmas hope, and the world became a better place.

 

Sitting Twenty-One

The Go Must Show On

Golda was going to scream if one more grown-up uttered the words, “Next year…”

She sat in meetings with Charrleen, producers, musicians and technicians, discussing her play, which she was now writing with Charrleen. The writing sessions were amazing. It was like Golda and Charrleen shared a common soul, which released inspiration to a shared brain and spoke from a single tongue.

Golda was invigorated, entranced with the closeness she felt with this popular singer. Charrleen was astounded at the talent the young girl had—almost a supernatural awareness of rhythm, rhyme, melody and harmony. The girl’s lyrics were simple, but catchy, and easy to access. They weren’t childish—just available. Playful but thoughtful.

The pair had written eight songs in less than a week. Charrleen had gotten permission from Golda’s parents to have the little girl come to her penthouse for an extended visit. Charrleen had a full studio, with every instrument you could imagine—at least that’s how Golda saw it.

But now the music was written, the scenes were sketched out and some of the choreography was even completed and ready for review. But the meeting about when to do the performance had bogged down, and the investors and those who were more practical were insisting that it was “much too quick to do it this year, but by next year they could turn it into an international extravaganza.”

It was December 1st. The country was in turmoil. The world was trying to wrangle its way into a new war. Golda thought it was stupid to withhold the blessing of her musical—of their musical—until next year.

She was a little disappointed in Charrleen because Charrleen tried to compromise and adjust to what the executives were saying. This was no time for compromise. It was not the season to ignore the season. The world needed the musical—now. And it needed to be performed on Broadway, live, Christmas Eve, and filmed for all the world to see. Golda saw it clearly in her mind.

The discussion would probably have gone on for many more hours, and the grown-up naysayers would have worn Golda down and forced her to consider a 365-day delay. But suddenly, out of the clear blue, Charrleen spouted off. “Well, if you ladies and gentlemen do not want to fund this, I will do it myself.”

Golda’s wanted to cheer so badly that she did. The meeting had droned on for two hours. Charrleen’s accountant nearly dropped his educated pencil. He objected, which he felt it was his duty to do. “Even though what I have seen looks really good,” he said, “everyone knows it could still be a disaster. And then, you would be left holding the bag, Charrleen.”

Charrleen shook her head vigorously. “Since I’m holding the bag anyway, if it’s successful, won’t my bag get bigger?”

The accountant thought for a moment and then smirked. “Well, yes,” he acquiesced. “Then there’s that.”

The others at the table, realizing that Charrleen was going to take on the project with or without them, and that they had found the “Golda goose,” decided to sign on the dotted line.

Golda learned a new phrase. “They inked a deal.” It was a done deal. Rehearsals were set—a short clock demanding day and night work—but it was totally possible that every facet of the project could be ready by December 24th.

What was difficult was deciding which Broadway theater to use. One of the bold investors (who just moments before had frosty feet) popped up and said, “Madison Square Garden.”

This pleased everyone. It opened the door to thousands more ticket sales, which would certainly help the bottom line. As it turned out, after making a quick phone call, Madison Square Garden was booked, but one of the investors bought out the client who had rented the facility. All at once, Golda’s play, which Charrleen decided should be entitled, “The Great Jubilation of Christmas”—well, it was in full swing.

Everyone was hugging everyone and everything. If the spirit in the room was anything like what the performance was going to be, then the production would ring with success and explode with opportunity.

Charrleen and Golda went back to the penthouse to celebrate. Since Golda was underage, champagne was out of the question, so they had her favorite—A&W root beer and egg rolls.

Right in the middle of their private party, there was a knock at the door—a man in a lime green jogging suit made more popular in the 1980’s, handing Charrleen an envelope. He quietly said, “You’ve been served.”

Charrleen took the envelope from the gentleman as he turned and walked quickly away. She closed the door and headed to the couch. She opened it and glanced at it quickly, unfamiliar with all the legal jargon, but still realized she was being sued by Dunlevy and Markins for breach of contract.

She promptly called her lawyer, who explained that he had received the documents as well. Summing it up in a nutshell, the company was asserting that Charrleen had ceased to be a representative for the “Great Jubilation” campaign, and had launched in her own direction, failing to represent the cause and creating national embarrassment in an interview.

They were suing her for thirty million dollars.

Charrleen sat down next to Golda, who realized something was wrong. She’d overhead the conversation with the attorney but couldn’t figure out what anything meant. She patted Charrleen on the shoulder. “It’s gonna be all right,” she comforted.

Charrleen turned to her and said, “Well, sweetie, not everything works out all right.”

“What’s the problem?” asked Golda. “Why does the paper make you so sad?”

The tenderness of Golda’s voice and her gentle touch broke Charrleen’s heart. Her eyes flooded with tears. Charrleen was just trying to do what was right, and now she was being threatened to lose everything she had.

“I’m being sued, Golda,” she said softly. “What that means is that the company that hired me to do the song thinks that I have cheated them and that I haven’t been a good representative for their cause.”

“That’s a lot of words,” said Golda. “But maybe you’ve just decided to be a representative…is that the word?” Charrleen nodded with a smile.

“A representative for a better cause,” Golda finished with conviction.

Charrleen had to laugh. Everything in the world was so much easier when you were twelve years old. Well, nearly twelve. Golda hugged her arm. “Does this mean we’re not going to do the play?”

Charrleen embraced Golda and kissed her on the head. “No, my dear. It means we’re going to do the best play that has ever, ever, ever, ever been done.”

 

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