Writing Challenge #35

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  1. WRITE:  Write a vignette, no more than 300 words, about the exact moment a banker decides robbing the bank they work at is the only way to securing a better life. Don’t write about the actual robbery, but the moment when the character decides to do it. What sets them off?

2. COMMENT: You MUST comment on FOUR other entries to qualify. If you do not, your entry will be disqualified from the challenge. Give and take… Keep the cycle going.

3. IMPORTANT In order to qualify, you MUST vote for your TOP TWO choices. If you don’t vote, you cannot win this challenge (even if you receive the most votes!). To vote, you need to reply to the email that goes out for the Weekly Challenges. In that email, if you scroll to the bottom, you will see all the information you need to vote for this challenge.

You must join our mailing list in order to receive the weekly voting email. 

4. DEADLINE: Tuesday, December 20th at 11:59 p.m. PST. Voting booth will open for this challenge on Wednesday, December 21st, and the winners will be announced the following Wednesday, December 28th.

CONGRATULATIONS: To the winners of Challenge #33… Dave Allen, Marcia Yearwood and Anisa Claire!


Have fun!

Author Notes

44 Comments for “Writing Challenge #35”


The surgery was a success in that she didn’t die, the vet said. Other than that, no promises.

Bob shuffled out the back door into the parking lot. Leaning against a lamppost, Bob closed his eyes and replayed the events from hours before, at the bank picnic. He and Martha had socialized as expected, and the kids and Mabel, their 13-year-old terrier mutt, ran themselves ragged. She was old, but chased sticks and Frisbees for hours. Unfatigued, she was bounding around the parking lot when the car hit her.

A shiny new Lexus, fresh off the lot – Bob recognized the bank president’s pride and joy as it dragged Mabel for several feet under the car and spat her out before speeding away. Nobody else noticed, but Bob swore he saw it swerve towards the dog.

Martha dropped Bob and Mabel off at the vets, then took the wailing children home.

The vet recommended putting the dog down – Mabel was old and likely wouldn’t survive surgery. Do it anyway, Bob said, falsely claiming to be good for the $7,500 bill. He doubted he’d get it from his superior.

Don’t make an issue of it,” counseled a co-worker. “You can’t win.”

Bob kicked the lamppost and cursed, tears streaming down. He was tired of going along, backing down. Of feeling emasculated. The bastard will pay, he swore.
Martha eased the family SUV up and moved to the passenger side; Bob took the wheel.

He caught sight of Ed’s Pawn and Gun off to the right. He swung in and slid through gravel as he slammed the brakes. “Hold on, be right back,” he said to the air as he got out of the car.

“Bob? Bob? What are you doing?” Martha called after him. Bob ignored her and walked into the store.”

Mary Cooney-Glazer


Wow! This writing is gut-grabbing! Hope Mabel makes it….. not so concerned about the guy who hit her!

This could be the start of a longer piece. Dialogue excellent, emotions raw. Would love to see the plot played out. Great job.

Mary Cooney-Glazer



Leticia Wentworth counted herself as the most valuable employee at Crocker County Savings and Loan. She started there straight out of high school, forty years ago, as a secretary.

“Good mornin’ it’s always so nice to see you,” she greeted customers.

Everyone found her charming, but they were surprised at her intelligence. She was great with numbers, and interested in learning everything about banking.

It was no surprise when she became the first woman head teller, then assistant manager, then, director of systems and technology.

Finally, at 57, she was appointed Executive VP, the second most important position at Crocker County.

The bank’s retirement plan was generous. She saw herself with a comfortable nest egg if she decided to leave in three years.

When Dan McMurton, the bank president, invited her to lunch at his club, Leticia was on alert. They had business lunches before, but never anywhere this private.

“Well, there’s some big doings on the horizon,” was the way he started. “Idea came up last week. Wanted you up to speed right away.”

She had a hunch this might be bad for her. “I appreciate that, Dan. You’ve got me intrigued.

“Well, here it is.” The board has decided to merge with Western.” It was a growing bank, buying everything they could.

“Of course, I’m 60, so I get my full retirement package. But be assured I’ll do all I can for you too.”

She smiled brightly. “I know you’ll take care of me.”

You just don’t know how well. I’ve got back doors into every system we have. Wouldn’t be the first time I took a little bonus for myself anyway, just as a dry run. Bad luck for the poor slob who gets blamed, but, someone has to get the short straw.


Ed Hartley hadn’t stopped smiling since yesterday’s Branch Managers meeting when Bradley Dunbar announced Henry Goodwin’s retirement. When his boss praised him for his exemplary leadership and hard work, Ed was sure he’d finally get the long overdue promotion to Regional Manager.

As he waited for a call from Human Resources, Ed thought about other openings that had come up. Two years ago, he was passed over when they hired a young man from outside of the bank. Last year, a woman got the job he thought was going to be his. Not this time. This is it. It has to be. I wish they’d hurry up and decide.

Two weeks later, at the Branch Managers meeting, Mr. Dunbar made another announcement.

“As you all know, Henry Goodwin’s retirement created an opening for a regional manager. Two of the in-house candidates were from my area. However, the decision wasn’t up to me.”

Ed didn’t like the “however” in Dunbar’s speech.

“Most of you know Mike Cosgrove from our Boston branch. Mike has been with us for three years. He has excellent qualifications. I know you will all wish him well in his new position.”

On the way out, one of Ed’s co-workers slapped him on the back. “Too bad. I thought you had it this time.”

Alone in his office, he dwelled on his bitterness. Sixteen years of loyalty and hard work. Where did it get me? Passed over again for a younger person with a lot less experience and no people skills.

He thought about all the ways he could steal money and make it look like a computer error. It wouldn’t be all that hard. I could be gone before they notice the money’s missing and in South America before they know I’m gone.

Kim Bussey


I really liked the story and you set his motives up perfectly. I hope he gets away with it. One thing bothered me, though. The story is written in 3rd person until the last sentence, when you switched to 1st person.

Mariah Breiner


He watched a single mother work 40 hours a week and lose her child because she didn’t have the time or money.
He watched their little hands grow cold,
the little hands that would never be held by a doting mother and father.
He watched them act out because they didn’t understand why they didn’t have what the other kids had.
He grew up knowing that pain but alas he did not feel anger or sadness or pity,
He felt something else but what was it?

He watched teenagers rebel against the slightest advice,
trying to make it on their own.
Trying to stay strong,
because that’s all they knew.
He too, grew up knowing that pain but alas he did not feel anger or sadness or pity but he felt something…it was becoming clearer.

He watched the beggars on the street throw their pride away for one last meal,
He watched their dreams and hopes waste away like the garbage they sifted through.
Sleeping on a bench, being called a bum by a man who “had it all.”
He should know the shame he was one of them.

But what was this?
A small girl, with pigtails, with an outstretched hand offers all she has.
“Five dollars!” She exclaims, excitement written all over her face.
Gingerly he takes the money, something deep within him flickers.

It was right above the surface now.
Growing ever closer,
Just one step farther,
Now he knew! He did not feel pity or anger or sadness,
Instead, he felt inspiration for something bigger.
Feelings weren’t enough to stop the cycle
He felt it was his destiny to stop this in it’s tracks

He had saved the money for the guns,
He had planned out in his head a million times.
He would be the hero,
That everyone needed.

As he walks into the bank the people faces say they don’t see a hero
They see a monster.
Including, the little girl with pigtails
Who gave him all she had
It wasn’t much but it was to her
Something inside him flickered,
Thankful she couldn’t see his face
He wondered if it was too late
He wondered if maybe this was not inspiration after all
And now the only silver he had
was shimmering around his wrists.

A little sloppy sorry, I am at work but I hope you enjoy! 🙂 I know went over 300 words sorry x.x I don’t do well with word counts.

Kim Bussey


I’m with Lina, that silver at the end sentence was the perfect ending to your story. Since you wrote this at work, I won’t get into all the missing commas.

Mariah Breiner


Thank you! Yes it is rather difficult, my thought process gets so interrupted at work. (I work at a call center) I do always appreciate constructive criticism though! 🙂


Mariah, great look into your MC’s mind. Great emotion there. Hopefully though, he feels a twinge or regret. I won’t nitpick; you’re already posted your Mea Culpa, and admitted it was a rough draft. But a well-written rough draft. Write on!



Awesome, Anisa! He went from hopelessness and frustration to total exhilaration as his plan to rob the bank fell into place.



Robert Russel sat in his car in the 1st National Bank parking lot, debating whether or not to answer his wife’s tenth phone call about picking up groceries after work. She was home all day, did absolutely nothing, and wanted HIM to get the groceries. Their two teen boys, Alex and Duane, took right after their mother; lazy, good for nothing and disrespectful. Slamming the heel of his hand on the steering wheel, he jumped when the horn went off non-stop and no amount of pounding would shut it off. Getting out, he slammed the car door, and as punishment for its shoddy treatment, the side mirror fell off. Opening the hood, he ripped out the wire to the horn, the blaring noise finally stopping.

“Problems?” David Armstrong his boss, pulled up in his brand new Cadillac, smirking snobbishly, “Time to get yourself a new car, Robert.”

“Not with my pay,” Robert mumbled.

“Did you say something?” David raised an eyebrow.

“Yeah, I said ‘have a nice day’,” Robert lied, “I’ll be right in.”

“Well, chop-chop,” David said curtly, “We have customers waiting.”

Robert slammed the hood down and strolled in through the bank doors, taking his place at his station and setting up his drawer. His first customer came in with a bag full of small bills, ten thousand dollars worth, for deposit.

“Are you kidding me?” he asked, his day already shot.

A forbidden idea popped into his head. A vision of warm weather, margaritas, and white sand. He could do it. He closed the bank this Friday and he had four days to plan a life without a nagging wife, a dead end job, and kids who had no respect. Smiling to himself, he happily counted the bills, making the plans in his head.

Anisa Claire


The line droned on as far as my eye could see. Pieces of my soul chipped away little-by-little with every passing customer. They were angry because of the wait, or angry because they were broke. Some were even angry, though their accounts were overflowing with money, because they had to cough up the measly ten dollar monthly service charge.

Each person carried on and on, as if I carried about their daily woes. I didn’t. My job sucked. My pay sucked. My stuffy office clothes suffocated me and I had a gambling problem. A big one. My debt was that, as far as I’d calculated, I would need to live 343 years to pay it all off.

Then, as it would happen, I witnessed my boss slinking into the back offices, carrying the hourly cash deposits. It hit me hard and I knew how I could do it. How I could rob the bank and get away with it. Suddenly, my attitude changed. I felt a child-like giddiness rush through me.

“Next! Come on down! Hope you’re having a WONDERFUL day!” I chimed, excitedly awaiting my shift to end so I could get started on my new life.

Mary Cooney-Glazer


Very effective use of descriptive language. The droning line, soul being chipped away, suffocating clothes set a perfect tone. Enjoyed the contrast after he envisioned a way to the life he wanted. Nice job. Mary

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