From Riches to Rags
Before we begin, let me warn you. This story does not have a happy ending.
Now that we’re past that, perhaps you will want to know why. To know why, you will have to know a little bit about myself. I was one of the wealthiest people in the city. Cornelius Sterling III, a new heir to the acquired wealth of my dearly departed father.
Now you would say, how did you get to the street? Let me just say that I ignored the council of this strange young man.
Now this young man looked like he could be a new high school graduate. But he told me that he was a seer. I thought that he was crazy, and I dismissed him. He said something along the lines that my life was not in order and that bad things would befall me if I didn’t change. Now where did I hear this before? I believe that it was from a Charles Dickens classic, “A Christmas Carol”, wasn’t it? Now the only difference here is that I’m no Scrooge. I give to the poor and I am generous with my wealth.
Aside from all the numerous dinner parties that I held with my guests, I am quite a charitable person. This so-called seer didn’t think so. He believed that I was hiding something. I told him that he was lying, and even if he were truthful, that was a very personal matter. At that, I threatened to call the cops on him. That finally made him leave.
Unfortunately, that was not the end of him. The very next day, he came back. What business did this strange man have at my house? Day after day he kept coming, and day after day I kept dismissing him.
Finally, the day came when curiosity got the best of me. I asked the “seer” in impatience. “Why do you keep coming to my house? Is it something important that you have to tell me?”
The seer looked at me sternly. His stare was the kind of stare that could look directly into your soul. “You are about to lose your wife and your fortune on the same night. This has been decided before our first meeting.”
This was complete nonsense. What difference would it make if I had changed anyway? If this was going to happen anyway and it couldn’t be prevented, why tell me anyway? This all sounded quite queer to me.
“All of your words are nonsense,” I told him. “If this does happen, you could’ve saved your breath by not telling me in the first place. Now, be gone! Your words are lies. I do not want to see you again!”
“We will not meet again,” he told me. “But watch tonight and see if the words of my Master come to pass….”
I shooed the crazy young man away. Master? Is there another telling him to say all these words to me?
Looking back, I really should’ve believed it. Because, that same night, it happened. Some burglars managed to disable my security system. They then entered the house and murdered my wife. I was in another room, working on my memoirs. When I heard the scream, I immediately remembered the words that the seer told me.
But the money would still be fine, or so I thought. I called the bank and found out that my wife spent my entire fortune. Not only that, I had a huge pile of debt. With that, I sold everything to pay off the debt.
That brings us to today. I had to sell my fine suit and all I could afford was these tattered clothes and a few days worth of food.
Now I told you that this story does not have a happy ending. I warned you, didn’t I?
Having suffered an incurable loss, I now drench my tattered shirt every night, weeping for my wife.
©2012 K. L. Walker