The Letter

by Arthur Daniels

Every day Herman checked his mail box convinced that eventually, the envelope would arrive. Not the big brown one that says (after all of the large print has tantalized and all of the smaller and smaller still print has been analyzed), "You have just been named the (possible) winner of Ten Million Dollars!," but an ordinary plain white one with his name and address in large raised bold type right on the envelope itself (not appearing behind a little glassine window) with "Prize Notification Department" printed in the upper left-hand corner with no return address (but still quite officious looking), that would contain not only a letter assuring him that he was in fact the winner of ten million dollars, but also a certified cashier's check for that amount. Finally, on the thirteenth of March, 2015, after years of entering countless sweepstakes and accumulating more magazines than the reading rooms at every library in the state, the long anticipated letter, THE letter, arrived via registered mail. Herman immediately drove to his bank, cashed the check ("Large bills please"), returned to his car, and sat for a while carefully planning how he would spend his long-overdue windfall. After filling his gas tank and driving across town and personally handing his landlord three months rent in advance for his cramped one bedroom apartment, then making the same arrangements with the phone, electric, gas, and insurance companies, Herman headed for the Super Wal Mart where he gleefully roamed the aisles of the grocery section filling two (two!) carts with at least a month's worth of food, and, after walking over to the men's clothing section where he picked out a few pair of socks for himself, he sought out the new coffee maker that his wife Agness had been wanting for some time. Herman had planned it well, right down to the last few dollars and went home almost broke (again) but contented and slept well that night dreaming of what the postman might bring in the morning.

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Arthur Daniels, 58, married with two daughters and four grandchildren, has been everything from a zoo keeper to a sea cook on an oceanographic research vessel. He used to play a lot of Chopin, but since his left hand no longer cooperates, he now plays a lot more like Thelonious Monk: floppy left hand outlining the harmonic structure of the music. Despite his medical issues, he's just fine, and reinventing himself daily. He is the author of The Stairway. Check him out on Helium.